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Mac OS X Lion beta reveals "Restart to Safari" browser-only mode (update: honeypot)

Sean Hollister
06.12.11
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MacRumors was digging through the latest developer beta of Mac OS X Lion when it found a rather intriguing new option -- if you choose "Restart to Safari" on the user lock screen, the computer will reboot into a mode which consists entirely of the web browser. If that sounds familiar, perhaps you've heard of Google's Chrome OS, a partially-fledged operating system that runs within the browser itself... but we haven't heard Apple express a desire for any such thing. Now, certainly we've seen a number of Windows desktops and laptops ship with a secondary, browser-centric OS like Splashtop in order to have an instant-on mode, but if you have to boot and reboot the computer to get to Safari, that doesn't sound like much of an improvement. Perhaps it's a way to let guests (or children) entertain themselves without giving them access to your files? All we know for certain is that it's a most mysterious option.

Update: But perhaps not as mysterious as we thought -- 9to5 Mac spotted its genesis earlier this week, and it's a bona fide honeypot. If your Mac gets stolen, the idea goes, it'll need to be connected to the internet for you to be able to track it with Find My Mac or perform a remote wipe, so you'll let the thieves browse this guest account to keep them busy without letting them peruse your personal files. Cue the Admiral Ackbar, we suppose. [Thanks, Jamie]

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