Mac Kiosk With Saft

Give Your Mac Kiosk Some Saft!


Configure a Mac Kiosk


I am constantly on the lookout for doing things more efficiently. A few months ago I posted a how-to Configure a Mac Kiosk. In the article I talk about how Mac 10.5.x OS has made it simpler to set up your computer as a Kiosk. I outline some steps using Terminal, System Preferences and a browser and what hardware I would use.

I was recently asked to put together a Kiosk environment and found a plug-in for Safari that has been available since Mac OS 10.3 Jaguar. I guess I was to set in my ways of hacking my Macs to notice it before. The plug-in is called Saft developed by Hao Li (http://haoli.dnsalias.com) has a long standing reputation and has gotten great reviews from MacWorld.

What can Saft do for you?
Saft adds features to Safari like drag-able tabs, full-screen browsing, searchable bookmarks and history, URL short cuts and a really great Kiosk mode. The Kiosk feature, modifies Safari in many ways to secure the system and user information with out having to make as many modifications to the system. Here is are some of it core features:

  • Fix menus by removing Quit, Open File, Save As, Hide, Services and more
  • Delete all cookies when going to home page after inactivity
  • Disable contextual menu for browser and plugins
  • Disable help button in dialogs if any
  • Add password protection of the preferences panels
  • Add options to limit access to Apple menu, process switching, force quit and session termination
  • Add option to go to home page after defined inactivity time
  • Allow only HTTP and HTTPS and disable Finder access via AFP, FILE, FTP and so on
  • Prevent opening multiple browser windows by opening URLs in tabs
  • Prevent JavaScript from opening and loading files
  • Stop normal termination and reboot
  • Add “Empty Cache” button in browser windows
  • Quit Finder




Getting Started
Similar to my last guide on how-to Configure a Mac Kiosk you need to replace Finder with Safari and disable Bluetooth and Keyboard Shortcuts. This will give you a basic deployment of a Kiosk. You can further restrict sites thought Saft or use Mac OS X Leopards built in Parental Controls. To start using Saft follow these few quick steps to get started.

  1. 1. Download Saft (http://haoli.dnsalias.com/Saft/)
  2. 2. Make sure you are running the latest version of Mac OS 10.5.8 and have Safari 4 installed.
  3. 3. Install http://haoli.dnsalias.com/Saft/.
  4. 4. Launch System Preferences > Accounts and create a non-admin account for kiosk deployment. See “How to Configure a Mac Kiosk”.
  5. 5. Replace Finder with Safari using Terminal. ( See Replacing the Finder below.)
  6. 6. Disable Keyboard Shortcuts and Bluetooth. Navigate to the System Preference and Turn-off Bluetooth and the same for Keyboard Shortcuts.
  7. 7. Close System Preferences.

    1. Replacing the Finder
      Next you will have to Launch Terminal (still in Guest Account):

      1. 1. Close System Preferences.
      2. 2. Launch Terminal from the Application/Utilities menu by hitting APPLE (Command) + “N”. (You can also do this from the Admin area but will have to log in as guest in Terminal with the su guest command + password)
      3. 3. Once Terminal is open type the following:

        defaults write com.apple.loginwindow Finder /Applications/Path

      4. Tip! To set the Application path you can have the Applications Folder open behind Terminal and once you have typed com.apple.loginwindow Finder drag the Application from your Applications Folder in to the waiting cursor point in the Terminal window.
      5. 4. Type “exit” and Quit Terminal and Log Out of your Guest Account.
      6. 5. Next simply Log Out and re-Log In as Guest and you should only see the application launch instead of your Finder.


      Finally Log-in to your new guest account, which will launch Safari on Start Up.

      1. 1. Find the site you want to bookmark and set it as the home splash page.
      2. 2. Go to the Finer Menu at the top and click on Run Full Finder.
      3. 3. Enter your Admin user name and password.
      4. 4. Double click on the hard drive and navigate to Saft. Once launched Set Safari as launching Saft on start up.


      Hopefully this will be easier than my last Kiosk how-to!

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