Apple Disables Hidden UI Prefs in Safari 4

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.