Safari 4 Beta – Hidden Options

Posted: February 27, 2009 in Apple, Mac OSX, software
Tags: ,

I’m not one to jump on the beta-bandwagon too quick, but i decided i would with Safari for mac when it came out earlier this week.  So far, i’m liking it, i have a few comments – not really complaints, just things i would do different.  The Top Sites is a neat idea, in need of a bit of tweaking, mainly make the button to activate it also deactivate it if pressed again – the same way bookmarks works.  Tabs on top works for me, i’m quick to adjust to this kinda thing, but apparently many are not.  So if you like the old way of things, here are some tweaks on how you can make the new Safari look like the old Safari.  MacFixit did a good little roundup of some of the more common ones, so i’m just reposting it here for all to see.

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Thursday, February 26 2009 @ 06:30 AM PST

Safari 4’s hidden options

While some of Safari’s new features are new to the browser (e.g. Top Sites and History Search), others are modifications of existing features (e.g.: Tabs on Top). Unfortunately, Apple does not provide conspicuous options for customization of these features, although these options do exist. MacFixIt recently reported on a way to revert the “Tabs on Top” feature back to the classic tabs, but there are several other hidden options that users might find useful as well. Here is a list of the known hidden options in the Safari 4 Public Beta:

To run these commands, copy and paste them in the Terminal. All of these commands are “boolean”, which means they take either a “YES” or “NO.” Ss such, to revert them just re-enter them in the terminal with “YES” (the default value) at the end.

Change Tab Locations To change the location of the tabs from being in the toolbar to being under the URL address bar, enter the following in the terminal:

defaults write DebugSafari4TabBarIsOnTop -bool NO

Bring back the blue loading bar The new “loading” indicator is a spinning wheel at the right side of the address bar. This shows activity but doesn’t indicate progress, and, as such, has some users wanting the old style back. The following two commands will bring back the blue indicatory bar that displays behind the URL.

  • defaults write DebugSafari4IncludeToolbarRedesign -bool NO
  • defaults write DebugSafari4LoadProgressStyle -bool NO

Turn off the Google search suggestions When users enter search terms in the Google search field, suggestions based on popular searches will display. Users can turn this off by entering the following command:

defaults write DebugSafari4IncludeGoogleSuggest -bool NO

Revert to old URL completion behavior The previous URL completion mechanism would grab any reference to a URL and try to complete it for the user when URLs were manually entered. These could come from History as well as Bookmarks, but the completion was rather crude. In Safari 4 these auto-completions are displayed in categories, so users know where Safari is referencing them from. If this behavior is undesired, users can revert to the old completion list.

defaults write DebugSafari4IncludeFancyURLCompletionList -bool NO

Disable “Top Sites” The new “Top Sites” feature is a snapshot of frequently visited websites, which also displays update indicators for the sites. This is accessible by default as the new page view (instead of a home page), or by clicking the grid of squares to the far left in the bookmarks bar. To disable this feature, users can enter the following command:

defaults write DebugSafari4IncludeTopSites -bool NO

Disable “Cover Flow” in bookmarks manager Apple really likes their “Cover Flow” feature, which started in iTunes and made its way to the Finder and now to Safari. Users can minimize this by dragging the separator bar up to the top of the window; however, users can also completely disable it by enter the following command:

defaults write DebugSafari4IncludeFlowViewInBookmarksView -bool NO

Change the dimming behavior of Top Sites This is relatively trivial, but by default when users select a page in “Top Sites”, the view of the page will dim while Safari accesses the page and updates it. This provides a visual that the current view may be “out of date” and when the page brightens up it will be showing the current page contents. If users don’t want this dimming behavior, they can disable it with the following command:

defaults write DebugSafari4TopSitesZoomToPageAnimationDimsSnapshot -bool NO

Have fun tweaking your install,


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