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Mac OS X Lion Has a Browser-Only Mode 231

Posted by timothy
from the meme-gets-around-quick dept.
dkd903 writes "It turns out that there is a feature in OS X Lion which no one expected and was never announced at WWDC. The feature we are talking about is 'Restart to Safari.' As you might have guessed from the name, this feature makes it possible to restart the Mac into just the Safari browser and nothing else."
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Mac OS X Lion Has a Browser-Only Mode

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  • by blair1q (305137) on Monday June 13, 2011 @07:34PM (#36430416) Journal

    If the restart isn't instantaneous (i.e., if there isn't an instant-on-to-browser mode built in) then this would seem to be a means of sandboxing a machine, as for use as a public kiosk type of terminal.

    In which case the question is of course how to get back to a fully-functional shell, if, say, you lose your keys, or sump'n like dat.

    • A very interesting question, as the new method of distribution (electronic download vs. physical DVD) doesn't allow you to reboot in order to reset the password. Sure, the previous method was a horrible security flaw, anyway, but how are you supposed to reinstall the OS from scratch?

  • by friedmud (512466) on Monday June 13, 2011 @08:08PM (#36430778)

    Actually... Apple did mention as part of "Find My Mac":

    http://www.macrumors.com/2011/06/07/os-x-lion-developer-preview-4-adds-find-my-mac/ [macrumors.com]

    The idea has three purposes:

    1. Guest Access (as has been pointed out here)
    2. Recovery. If you hose up your HD it may be possible to troubleshoot using this browser. It actually boots from a "recovery partition"... so your actual OSX installation doesn't even need to work.
    3. Finding a stolen / lost machine. The idea is that if someone picks up your machine and tries to use it.... they might use this browser mode for a while allowing "Find my Mac" to phone home and show the coordinates of the machine.

    That last one seems dodgy to me.... but that's the rumor going around the Mac sites.

    Personally, I think Guest Access is a great idea. If I know I'm going to have people over to my house all evening (maybe to watch football)... I can leave a laptop around in this mode for anyone to use all evening... without fear that they are getting into my personal stuff.

    One final note: This is only enabled after downloading the iCloud installer to go with Lion preview.... just in case anyone else out there is trying to figure out how to use it.

    • by friedmud (512466)

      Another thing about "Recovery". Since Lion is going to be electronic distribution only.... some people are thinking that this browser mode might allow you to reinstall the OS somehow.... either by saving the Lion image to a USB Key or doing some sort of direct install.

      I don't know about that one personally.... but I guess it is possible.

      • by fusiongyro (55524)
        It's not electronic-only. It's electronic additionally. They're still making DVDs for it. It's an OS after all...
        • by am 2k (217885)

          It's not electronic-only. It's electronic additionally. They're still making DVDs for it. It's an OS after all...

          No, GP was correct. There will be no DVDs for this one.

          • There will be no DVDs for this one.

            It is trivial [osxdaily.com] to make an install DVD (or USB stick) out of the downloaded version of Lion. Whether or not Apple eventually decides to sell a DVD copy is another question. Given the ease that someone can put the installer on virtually any bit of memory they so desire, it may be a non issue except to the most technically challenged of people (who should probably just get an iPad).

            • by am 2k (217885)

              Given the ease that someone can put the installer on virtually any bit of memory they so desire, it may be a non issue except to the most technically challenged of people (who should probably just get an iPad).

              Well, digging around in application packages is not something you expect an average Mac user to be able to manage, even the ones that have to do stuff you can't do on an iPad.

              At WWDC, Apple announced that there will be no physical medium for Lion, so the only install DVDs will be DIY (if that will even be possible with the release version).

        • by Macrat (638047)

          It's not electronic-only. It's electronic additionally. They're still making DVDs for it. It's an OS after all...

          The WWDC keynote specifically pointed out that there would NOT be a DVD.

    • That last one seems dodgy to me.... but that's the rumor going around the Mac sites.

      It's not just a rumor; click the link you posted and look at the first image.

      While it won't stop professional thief who knows to take apart the computer, pull the battery, wipe the PRAM and hard drive before ever turning the thing on, the vast majority of computer thieves are fortunately not IT experts. Computers that boot to a hidden partition, connect to the nearest unsecured wifi and scream "Here I Am!" will definitely help owners and police in tracking them down.

      • by gmhowell (26755)

        That last one seems dodgy to me.... but that's the rumor going around the Mac sites.

        It's not just a rumor; click the link you posted and look at the first image.

        If you RTFA, you lose the Game.

      • by AmiMoJo (196126)

        Mobile phones can be blocked when stolen but that doesn't stop people pilfering them, not least because they can be unblocked by someone with the know-how. That suggests that many thieves are tech savvy than you suspect, at least to the point where they know they have to unblock the device before selling it.

    • by gmhowell (26755)

      Bah, I was able to do this on my Mac Classic, and the image was in ROM, not on a 'recovery partition'. Command-option x-o

    • by Coppit (2441)

      Personally, I think Guest Access is a great idea. If I know I'm going to have people over to my house all evening (maybe to watch football)... I can leave a laptop around in this mode for anyone to use all evening... without fear that they are getting into my personal stuff.

      Just turn on the guest account. That way you can still stream from your iTunes library on your personal account, upload photos to Flickr, or do the 100 other things background processes enable.

  • I guess this could be useful, if you are in a hurry and want to check something out fast, but then again if you have your notebook on suspend it defeats the purpose of restarting into Safari.
  • by chappel (1069900) on Monday June 13, 2011 @09:48PM (#36431540)

    I've thought for years that windows should have a 'boot to Outlook' feature for executives; allow the entire available space of the drive to be used for indexed email storage to avoid having to decide which emails to delete, and load office programs by clicking on attachments, but don't confuse them with any other interface than just Outlook.

    And optionally support rebooting by holding it upside down and shaking.

    ch

    • And optionally support rebooting by holding it upside down and shaking.

      Well, as long as it's optional. I don't want to reboot my Windows machine each & every time I get mad at it.

  • I think it would be a great service for web freaks (like me), but I think this time Apple copied this stuff from Google Chrome OS.
  • I do remember a reference to Kiosk Mode is some early announcements, so this isn't a surprise. It would have been nice to quote from the original post and not some web copycat. (http://www.macrumors.com/2011/06/12/mac-os-x-lion-can-run-in-chrome-os-like-browser-only-mode/) And attached to the Macrumors.com article the was comment showing that Apple has dropped many of the references to Mac OS X and they just have OS X, (not all references, just most of the stuff linked to the Apple home page)

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