How-To Geek

Keeping Safari a Secret

In 2003 at the Macworld conference Steve Jobs unveiled Safari, Apple’s entry into the browser wars. In this candid blog post, Don Melton shares how he and his team kept the browser secret.

Melton is best known for starting and managing the Safari and Webkit projects at Apple, he shares stories of what he had to go through to hide Safari from the world to ensure that Steve could reveal a totally new and surprising development at Macworld 2003.

For much of the time we spent developing Safari — long before it was called by that name — it pretended to be Microsoft Internet Explorer. Specifically, Internet Explorer for Mac, which Apple had provided with the OS since 1998. Less than six months before Safari debuted, it started pretending to be a Mozilla browser.

Why did we do this? And how did we make Safari pretend to be these browsers when its code and behavior were so different?

Hit up the link below for the full, and interesting, post to see exactly why they had to be as secretive and paranoid as they were and what Melton’s greatest fear was.

Keeping Safari a Secret [via Gigaom]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 01/23/13

Comments (7)

  1. Goran

    Funny story.
    Even more funny when you realize where Safari stands today.

  2. rKiller

    Who chairs ? I use IE it works fine for me (like many other people)

  3. ernie

    for most people it could stay secret.

  4. Rufus

    wait, there’s a browser called safari?

  5. brucey

    I’ve always used IE as my default browser. I currently use Safari on my windows 7 OS. Because of this it’s not totally adaptable to all my needs, as it is with mac OS. That being said, however, I use it every morning and during the day to check the news, since I can have all my news sources displayed on one screen, and view them quickly and change from site to site.

  6. max

    Apple Shmapple.

  7. Ryan

    This seems like a pretty dramatic rendition of Apple changing the user agent string in Safari on certain networks before it was official.

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