Adam Engst over at TidBITS has covered a topic I found myself struggling with earlier this year.

Complaints about website loading have been trickling in of late, and while the details vary, the commonality has been that the problems started with macOS 12.4 Monterey. Sometimes the problem was just with Safari; other times, it affected Chrome and other browsers too. In some cases, the entire page would refuse to load; in others, only portions of the page would fail.

Emphasis added to call out the specific problem I was seeing.

Some web pages would fail to load using Safari, but load just fine in Chrome. Frustrating and confusing, to say the least. See this Oatmeal comic referencing what’s it is like when only some of your internet connection is working for a sense of how I was feeling about this.

This was happening on an M1 MacBook Air running the latest and greatest OS. At first I blamed my Pi-Hole, but that didn’t explain why the same page would load fine in Chrome - perhaps the problem was my Pi-Hole and Google was bypassing my local DNS somehow?

Eventually I landed on turning off the Hide IP from trackers setting in Safari. Web pages would load normally! All of them, not just most.

I never used iCloud Private Relay, as I knew it leveraged it’s own DNS and I prefer to keep using my Pi-Hole for that job.

The TidBITS article also explains that there is a network interface level Limit IP Address Tracking. I knew Safari and Mail both had this option; I am surprised to learn the network interface does as well. It is nice that Apple offers a plethora of switches and toggles to control these settings. It would be nicer if they were more thoroughly documented!

I am elated to see some coverage of this problem on a major blog. I’m not crazy! Randomly flipping those switches actually solved the problem, and it’s not an issue I caused for myself by running a Pi-Hole for DNS. Thankfully!