Apple Disables Hidden UI Prefs in Safari 4

| Product News

SafariApple has disabled hidden UI preferences in the final version of Safari 4, preferences that in the beta release allowed users to revert Safari's UI to the way it was in version 3.x. The change effectively ensures that everyone using Safari 4.x will be seeing the same thing, whether they want to or not.

The news comes to us via Safari Buddy developer Mark Miller, who noted on his company's Web site that, "Apple has released the final version of Safari 4 which no longer allows the ability to change any of the new features." In the public beta releases of Safari 4, these hidden prefs allowed users to move the Tab Bar, revert the Progress Style indicator, and disable Google Suggest and Top Sites.

Safari Buddy simply offered an interface for accessing these preferences -- similar to the way TimeMachineEditor from Time Software allows users to access timing preferences in Time Machine -- but with those hidden preferences no longer accessible or present in the final release of Safari 4, Safari Buddy and other apps that offered this feature simply can't do anything.

It's not clear why Apple removed the preferences, but the company has a long history under CEO Steve Jobs of working hard to ensure the user-experience of its products. For instance, Mac OS X originally had a Theme engine that allowed users to easily switch between three UIs Mac OS X shipped with, but that feature was quickly disabled before Mac OS X hit store shelves as a final release.

The better question may well be why those preferences were in the beta release in the first place, something Mr. Miller commented on when speaking to The Mac Observer. "I was surprised to find them," he said, but he was not particularly surprised when they were removed.

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Comments

rpaege

Just another reason to not use it, or even upgrade it for that matter.

deasys

Safari 4 is the best version yet. Its performance is addictive.

furbies

Well! That Sux! I really hated the “new” interface in the Safari 4 Beta.

I just checked my laptop and it seems that I was lucky to keep the “old” tabbed browser feature, but I lost the old progress bar (in URL).

Hey Apple, bring back the old look & feel

Bryan Chaffin

I personally love Safari 4, and have gotten used to those few things I first found discombobulating.

Oy, and the performance?!?  Love that the most!

furbies

I personally love Safari 4, and have gotten used to those few things I first found discombobulating.

Bryan, I got used to the look & feel of the old Safari, at least Apple could have kept support for the Terminal Hacks, so those of us stuck in the mud could keep the old look & feel

“Smile they said, it could be worse.
                So I did.
                  And it was!”

Mark

Still using the public 4 Safari beta. I’m not going to upgrade until I have to.

dennis

Is everyone aware that the old (Safari 3) style tabs are back in the final version of Safari 4? It’s a bit confusing as to which “old” UI people are referring. I was constantly closing entire windows instead of individual tabs with the Safari 4 beta, so I’m glad that’s gone. And I think making the page loading/stop indicator into a button reduces confusion as well.

geoduck

I never played with the Beta so I don’t know what I’m missing. Overall though Safari 4’s performance, stability, and features are great. I like it. There are just a couple of annoying things.

I DON’T like the page loading/stop indicator. Even the TMO forums sometimes take a few seconds, though they’re quicker on S4. I like having some idea of how far the load is progressing. A spinning icon doesn’t tell me anything. Another example is sites listed on Digg which are often swamped. The thermometer bar told me if it was loading slowly or had stalled without my having to wait two or three minutes for a 404 error. I miss that.

I think the Page Reload button is in COMPLETELY the wrong place. This is the same mistake MS made with IE7. They put function buttons in a number of different spots making it more work to use. Function buttons should be grouped together. On S4 I have Forward/Back, Home, Font Size, and New Tab all clustered together in the upper left corner. But to reload the page I have to go to the opposite corner and hit a smaller button. Sorry but I really dislike that.

Other than these two things I like S4. The Top Sites button is wonderful, especially after you customize it a bit.  Tonight I discovered that when you download a PDF it has a progress bar at the bottom. That’s a great idea.

furbies

Is everyone aware that the old (Safari 3) style tabs are back in the final version of Safari 4? It?s a bit confusing as to which ?old? UI people are referring. I was constantly closing entire windows instead of individual tabs with the Safari 4 beta, so I?m glad that?s gone. And I think making the page loading/stop indicator into a button reduces confusion as well.

I liked having the Back & Forward / Stop Load/Reload buttons at the left, and using the whole URL Text Field as the progress bar. Having the reload at the right hand end of the URL text field is a pain.

davebarnes

Given that I use Firefox 3.5, who cares about Safari?

deasys

Given that I use Safari, I can’t understand why you’d use Firefox.

Laurie Fleming

Troll, troll, troll - who’s that tripping over my bridge?

I was using the release version of Safari 4 for several days until I noticed that the tabs were back.

I don’t know why some of you people are moaning. I’m sure you’d complain if your arses were on fire!

avlisk

I get the impression that someone over at Apple is sabotaging the company by making the user interface more of a pain in the butt. First, there is the having to jump around in podcasts from new to categories, etc. Please put the buttons at the same place so I’m not having to leap all over the screen with the pointer. Now, in Safari, the same thing is happening. The refresh button is now way over on the right of the URL window, and there’s a needless “add bookmark” button on the right where the old refresh was. Forcing us to jump all over the place, with no way to change it, only makes me use Firefox. And I hate Firefox. Please, at the very least, let us configure Safari to our liking. Oh, and the variable-sized tabs, depending on how many are open, is annoying. Oh, and the disappearing “close tab” button is not user friendly, either. Stop ruining a good thing. I’m liking my WIndows XP more all the time.

Laurie Fleming

I give you a month, and I bet you’ll have ever forgotten you didn’t like it. That’s how the brain works.

Tiger

Safari 4 is SO much faster. Even on a 7 year old G4. Sadly, Firefox has slowed to a crawl. I still use it for certain websites because it works well enough with those coded for IE7 and 8, but my daily browsing is Safari all the way.

xmattingly

I get the impression that someone over at Apple is sabotaging the company by making the user interface more of a pain in the butt. First, there is the having to jump around in podcasts from new to categories, etc.

I don’t think I’d call it sabotage, but they’re definitely pushing the minimalist UI design to the extreme. With the changes between beta and final release, it definitely seems like there was some meandering in the direction they were going to take, and odd UI changes made late in the game.

Gotta agree with Geoduck; what is wrong with the reload button is that it should be grouped with other function buttons. The difference between beta and final is that it used to just switch between a floating button, progress dial and stop button… now it it switches between the floating button and that odd plastic-looking load bar. And long URL addresses now have a feathered effect that “disappears” under the reload button… I think that looks tacky, inconsistent with the opaque load bar (again, I think this was a rushed decision), and frankly not true to typical Apple style.

JulesLt

iven that I use Firefox 3.5, who cares about Safari?

The rest of the non-solipsistic universe?

Amusing that they have added a PDF download progress bar while removing the web one. I presume the intention is to blur the difference between a page being usable and completed. Or something like that. I think it’s a big step back.

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