Mac OS X Lion gets a Safari-Only mode

Apple has included a new Chrome OS-like browser only mode in the latest developer’s beta release of Mac OS X Lion which was released last week.

According to MacRumors, the new feature shows up on the Mac OS X Lion’s user lock screen. From there you are given the option to “Restart to Safari” rather than logging into the full OS. This lets you restart your machine into just the web browser and nothing else.

This browser-only mode lets unauthorized users browse the web at ease via Safari rather than allowing anyone else access to your personal files or the applications built into your Mac. The actual Safari Only mode doesn’t run from a primary partition either, but from the recovery partition on your hard drive, this means that you can still use Safari even if you whole system goes down…assuming it’s via a software problem and not hardware.

MacRumors goes on to say that the feature is reminiscent of Google’s new Chrome OS, which allows the user to make use of a simple web-only based operating system. MacRumors say that Apple is unlikely to be planning to do this however and their new option is likely to be offering up a sandbox mode that could allow OS X Lion to be used as a secure and anonymous web kiosk.

Thanks to Neowin user Mephistopheles for the submission

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I'm running DP4, and unable to find boot to safari option...

When you click restart on the lock/login screen, it just restart, does not give any option to boot to safari

I believe this has more to do with the new 'find my mac' feature. Where if they are locked out of your account they can still use the net, thus giving the victim an ip to trace.

lion sound like a joke vs the massive upgrade that is called 'Windows 8'

the can get away with since it is 30i$h

anyway i renamber Microsoft talking about something similar before
whatever the hell happened to that?

I have a similar feature with my P5Q Pro Turbo known as ASUS Express Gate. It's pretty useful when you just need to literally check your e-mails or what have you. However, I must admit that I very rarely use it because 9 times out of 10, I need to use other programs. As for using it as a security measure so other users may use the internet without having to know your login details... well, generally if anyone is using my computer, I'm around. Or they're using it to turn on PS3 Media Server.

ManMountain said,
Takes me 20 seconds to boot Win 7 and 2 seconds to enter / awake from sleep state.

It takes a lot longer before it's fully usable you know that.

Jarrichvdv said,

It takes a lot longer before it's fully usable you know that.

No...no it dosn't, unless you are booting software. 20 seconds to usable desktop isn't unheard of on win7

Jarrichvdv said,

It takes a lot longer before it's fully usable you know that.

Thanks to my SSD, as soon as the desktop appears, it's instantly usable.

ManMountain said,
Takes me 20 seconds to boot Win 7 and 2 seconds to enter / awake from sleep state.

My MacBook Air on Mac OS X 10.6 takes 15 seconds to boot. From pressing the on button to fully usable. 1 second to wake from sleep.

Damian. said,

My MacBook Air on Mac OS X 10.6 takes 15 seconds to boot. From pressing the on button to fully usable. 1 second to wake from sleep.

My Samsung Galaxy S II boots in 15 seconds as well

ManMountain said,

My Samsung Galaxy S II boots in 15 seconds as well


Into a fully operational desktop operating system? Wow, you should contact Engadget or whatever with that story!

Jarrichvdv said,

It takes a lot longer before it's fully usable you know that.

Gotta add to the voices that disagree with you. My last laptop with a Core 2 Duo and SSD would cold boot to a fully usable Windows 7 desktop in 12-18 seconds, maximum, wifi and all.

My current laptop, a 2nd gen i7 ThinkPad, was booting to full usability in roughly 20-25 seconds with the low-end default spinning HDD, and once I swapped in my SSD replacement, back to 12 second cold boots.

I think we can officially say today that if you have time to get a drink while your computer is booting, you're doing it wrong. Hang up your geek hat.

/this is booting with no hardware disabled, Office installed, Steam at boot, Security Essentials, and no start-up modifications
//I honestly do NOT understand people who take forever to boot
///unless they're the douchebags that stuck with XP and think it's just as good, lulz

DKAngel said,
yeah was going to say my bios alows me to boot with net support without booting into windows

And that's mostly because even a freshly installed Windows machine takes over than a minute to boot and be fully usable, after a while you are up to 2-4 minutes (I am a windows user, I know). If you opt for hibernating instead of doing a normal shutdown you can get up and running again in 30 sec to a minute.
OS X is a bit faster than that, it boots in about half a minute (even my extremly slow Virtual Machine running OS X does), awakening from hibernation takes a little under 2 seconds on most new macs, 1 second for the MacBook Air. A macbook from 2008 need about 3...

Also, as many have said, this is probably more to let someone use your computer to check the web without letting them access more of your files, why you wouldn't just activate he quest account is beyond me.

just opened my windows machine from sleep (which you're talking about-not hybernate) a low-range toshiba running win7 takes less then 2 seconds to pop me back to login....OSX isn't any faster, and from Hybernate? osx is slower on anything comaparable hardware wise

A feature that many motherboard manufacturers have allowed you to do for a log time with Windows/Linux, well, any non-mac PC.

funkydude said,
A feature that many motherboard manufacturers have allowed you to do for a log time with Windows/Linux, well, any non-mac PC.

And that's mostly because even a freshly installed Windows machine takes over than a minute to boot and be fully usable, after a while you are up to 2-4 minutes (I am a windows user, I know). If you opt for hibernating instead of doing a normal shutdown you can get up and running again in 30 sec to a minute.
OS X is a bit faster than that, it boots in about half a minute (even my extremly slow Virtual Machine running OS X does), awakening from hibernation takes a little under 2 seconds on most new macs, 1 second for the MacBook Air. A macbook from 2008 need about 3...

Also, as many have said, this is probably more to let someone use your computer to check the web without letting them access more of your files, why you wouldn't just activate he quest account is beyond me.

Leonick said,
And that's mostly because even a freshly installed Windows machine takes over than a minute to boot and be fully usable, after a while you are up to 2-4 minutes (I am a windows user, I know). If you opt for hibernating instead of doing a normal shutdown you can get up and running again in 30 sec to a minute.

I think he's referring into dual booting into a minimal installation of whatever for browser only use, not a full blown Windows boot, otherwise it kind of defeats the purpose. (Namely just making a guest account and off you go, no reboot required.)

And 2-4 minutes? Somebody needs an upgrade My "healthy average" computer goes from a cold start to a ready to go desktop in about 30-40 seconds, near instant via sleep.

Leonick said,

And that's mostly because even a freshly installed Windows machine takes over than a minute to boot and be fully usable, after a while you are up to 2-4 minutes (I am a windows user, I know). If you opt for hibernating instead of doing a normal shutdown you can get up and running again in 30 sec to a minute.
OS X is a bit faster than that, it boots in about half a minute (even my extremly slow Virtual Machine running OS X does), awakening from hibernation takes a little under 2 seconds on most new macs, 1 second for the MacBook Air. A macbook from 2008 need about 3...

Also, as many have said, this is probably more to let someone use your computer to check the web without letting them access more of your files, why you wouldn't just activate he quest account is beyond me.

So I just did this......

Cold Boot 2010 Macbook Pro, 2.5ghz, 4gigs of RAM, 7200 RPM HD, Snow Leopard fully updated.

1:06 to login screen.

Cold Boot 2010 HP DM4, 2.2ghz, 4gigs of RAM, 5400 HD, Windows 7 64bit SP1 fully updated.

1:14 to login screen.

HP cost me $850 with Bestbuy 4 year full replacement. Macbook with Apple Care cost me $1500. That is a lot of money for 8 seconds.

Both come out of sleep in 1-2 seconds, both take a while coming out of hibernate....with the Macbook showing a unusable grey screen and un-hibernates which makes it feel longer.

rrode74 said,
HP cost me $850 with Bestbuy 4 year full replacement. Macbook with Apple Care cost me $1500. That is a lot of money for 8 seconds.

Yeah, because we all know every Mac user pays for a Mac only because of its better boot times…

PyX said,

Yeah, because we all know every Mac user pays for a Mac only because of its better boot times…

Mac's game and software catalog is tiny compared to Windows. You're right, Mac users don't pay more just for better boot time... they also pay more for less features.

Anooxy said,

Mac's game and software catalog is tiny compared to Windows. You're right, Mac users don't pay more just for better boot time... they also pay more for less features.

Exactly. The only reason I bought a Mac was because I really hate games and I like saving 8 seconds when I reboot my computer (something you do once in a blue moon on OS X and Windows anyway).

I love debates where everyone uses common sense!

Leonick said,

And that's mostly because even a freshly installed Windows machine takes over than a minute to boot and be fully usable, after a while you are up to 2-4 minutes (I am a windows user, I know).
....

I have an Asus P5K-VM mobo (Intel G33 chipset) running integrated graphics, Core2 Duo E4500 proc, 5 GB ram and Windows 7 Ultimate and it's up and waiting for one to log in within 30 seconds after BIOS POST finishes. From login to desktop is about 10 seconds.
A shutdown from desktop and back to desktop is rarely more than a minute.

And this is a Windows install over a year old.

Anooxy said,
Mac's game and software catalog is tiny compared to Windows. You're right, Mac users don't pay more just for better boot time... they also pay more for less features.

You're right about the games, but Mac users generally prefer gaming on consoles, or not gaming at all.

About the software, OS X has a very solid software catalog. It's all about quality rather than quantity. For 10 messed up applications on Windows, you get 1 awesome application on Mac OS X. The only thing it really lacks is generic engineering software like SolidWorks, CATIA, … Luckily we've just had AutoCAD last year, but it was definitely a minus on the Mac side when we didn't have it.

About paying more for less features, you can't be further away from the truth. Get to know a Mac and you'll see that it has anything but less features than Windows.

Sranshaft said,
The photocopiers in Cupertino must be running 24-7 these days...

No no, see it's like this... when Apple does it, it's original, revolutionary, magical, and done in a way that a person with one mouse button can do it!

Sranshaft said,
The photocopiers in Cupertino must be running 24-7 these days...

Nah, the usage scenarios are very different, and also the intentions. You're only looking at the surface here. The primary difference is that Chrome OS lock down users in a browser and OS X don't. Chrome OS exist to limit what a user can do in order to achieve higher security than Windows or OS X, while Safari Mode exist to let a second user borrow a computer for a quick check on Facebook or whatever, with the primary user still not having to set up a guest account or leave the computer logged in with full access.

Enron said,

No no, see it's like this... when Apple does it, it's original, revolutionary, magical, and done in a way that a person with one mouse button can do it!


Apple has never called this feature revolutionary, original, or magical. Please stick to the topic.

Enron said,
No no, see it's like this... when Apple does it, it's original, revolutionary, magical, and done in a way that a person with one mouse button can do it!

Too bad they haven't talked a single time about this feature at WWDC. And too bad that every Mac sold since the last 6 years are automatically equipped with multiple buttons mice.

PyX said,

And too bad that every Mac sold since the last 6 years are automatically equipped with multiple buttons mice.

Nah, I had an iMac at work in 2006/2007 that came with a one button mouse...

PyX said,

Too bad they haven't talked a single time about this feature at WWDC. And too bad that every Mac sold since the last 6 years are automatically equipped with multiple buttons mice.

The multiple buttons on the Sandy Bridge MBPs must be hidden...

PyX said,
And too bad that every Mac sold since the last 6 years are automatically equipped with multiple buttons mice.
That's not true. My 2010 MacBook Pro only has a single button touchpad that can have the right click turned on (or hold CTRL while clicking).

The iMac line up and Mac Pro only started getting Magic Mice after they came out, in 2009. And even then, it defaults to a single button mode.

The mouse and keyboard are actually the two things I hate the most about Mac OS X. But that's mostly because I use a Windows machine during the day, so I have the key order (Windows key and CTRL key primarily) memorized; I even remapped the Mac CMD (Command/old-time Apple) key to be CTRL in Mac, and CTRL to be CMD so I can use them the same. I fortunately own a two-button mouse that I use separately when doing more than web browsing. I'd actually be tempted by a keyboard refinishing service that physically changed the keys so that it was CTRL, CMD, ALT like every Windows keyboard out there, but really I am fine using it just remapped in software.

noleafclover said,

Nah, I had an iMac at work in 2006/2007 that came with a one button mouse...

Every Mac since summer 2005 shipped with a Mighty Mouse, which has multiple buttons, so apparently the iMac at work was older than that...

pickypg said,
That's not true. My 2010 MacBook Pro only has a single button touchpad that can have the right click turned on (or hold CTRL while clicking).

If it can have the right click turned on via software, it's a multiple button device. Why are you even argumenting?

FMH said,
Whats the boot-up time in this mode?

I'm not sure it's bootable into this mode. I think it's a user switch mode, for the times when you want to lend you computer to a friend but not give him/her more than a browser.

Northgrove said,

I'm not sure it's bootable into this mode. I think it's a user switch mode, for the times when you want to lend you computer to a friend but not give him/her more than a browser.

Welll you have to reboot-to-safari after the system is started, so I'm not sure if you would be able to just boot from it without starting up OSX.

FMH said,
Whats the boot-up time in this mode?

dont' know abotu this in particular but I have seen this feature on some sony vio laptops. your laptop can be off and there is a www button next to the power button. you press it and it boots up very quickly, less than 15 seconds, and you can using some kind of web browser to get on the web and surf.

Brian Miller said,
Any screenshots?

Great idea though but can you use another browser like Chrome?


Of course you can use Chrome, that's why it's called a Safari Mode

Brian Miller said,
Any screenshots?

Great idea though but can you use another browser like Chrome?

Safari Only Mode here means you can run the computer like Chrome OS (browser window only, with Safari), it doesn't mean that the only browser you can use is Chrome.

Artillery said,

Safari Only Mode here means you can run the computer like Chrome OS (browser window only, with Safari), it doesn't mean that the only browser you can use is Chrome.


Are you sure? Safari Only is pretty clear.

Anyway, we all know what would happen if Microsoft offered an Internet Explorer Only mode. Yes, the regulatory world would s*** brix.

rfirth said,

Are you sure? Safari Only is pretty clear.

Anyway, we all know what would happen if Microsoft offered an Internet Explorer Only mode. Yes, the regulatory world would s*** brix.


it's only revolutionary if apple does it. if microsoft did it they would be eliminating competition and that's a big no no with that american government.