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Dear Aunt TUAW: Help me disable in-line tool tips and advertising


Dear Aunt TUAW,

There are works [sic] that are highlighted and linked to pop-ups when I go to webpages and pass my mouse pointer over them and I would like that to stop.

Your loving nephew,


Dear Sabon,

Auntie isn't entirely sure whether you're talking about tool tips or in-line advertising. So she's going to answer both of these possible questions.

Tool tips are those yellow pop-ups that appear when you hover your mouse on top of URL. They look something like this.

It's a feature that helps expose the link you're looking at. It gives you more information about where you'll go if you click that URL. To get rid of these pop-ups open a Terminal window and type in the following. (If you don't know what Terminal is, or how to use the command line, this write-up probably isn't for you.)

defaults remove WebKitShowsURLsInToolTips

Quit and restart Safari and your tool tips will be disabled. To restore the feature, use this command, entering it into a Terminal window.

defaults write WebKitShowsURLsInToolTips 1

And, again, quit and restart Safari for your changes to take effect.

Here's the other question Auntie thought you might be asking. If you've ever seen those underlined (typically green) links, you know how utterly annoying they can be. Here's what happens when your mouse goes near that link.

Irritating, isn't it? So what can you do? Auntie turned to Uncle TJ for the answer. And she warns you that it too involves a bit of command-line ability -- in fact slightly more than "a bit". You will need your administrator credentials here.

Head on over to and copy their hosts file to your Mac as hosts.withlove. This file contains a gadzillion host rules that block out a lot of really irritating Internet hosts, protecting you from some (but not all) spyware, pop-ups, and so forth. Or, as they put it "Using a Hosts File to make the Internet not suck (as much)".

In Terminal, make sure the saved file is created without an txt extension, i.e. hosts.withlove, not hosts.withlove.txt. Move the file into the /etc folder, e.g.

sudo mv ~/Desktop/hosts.withlove /etc/hosts.withlove

In /etc, copy hosts to hosts.original. This creates a backup of your original hosts file that you can revert to if needed.

sudo cp hosts hosts.original

Use your favorite text editor to match up the start of the withlove version to match the original version, just so you're working more or less from the same starting point. Then move it into place.

sudo cp hosts.withlove hosts

To test this, you don't have to restart Safari but you should re-load whatever page you had seen the in-line advertising. For example, the Business Insider page that Auntie captured above now looks like this after enabling the withlove version of the hosts file.



Auntie T.