While digging through the code of the Mac OS X Lion developer beta, MacRumours discovered something interesting— it looks like Lion might have a browser-only restart mode, allowing a guest to have access only to a single Safari browser window for quick browsing without giving them any access to files or apps.
So what purpose could this serve?
First, it’s an even guestier guest account. So if you’ve got people over and someone asks if they can use your computer to look something up on the internet, they can star up in the browser-only mode, giving them only access to the outside internet, which means you won’t have to worry about them snooping around your files.
Second, it could serve as a honeypot for would-be Mac thieves, making it easier for the Find My Mac service to work, making it easier to track them down.
But couldn’t giving internet access to someone still allow them to possibly access your files? Yes. But I imagine that in the browser-only mode, you wouldn’t be able to use the browser as a file browser, that those functions would be restricted. And if you’re inviting malicious trained hackers over to your house, you deserve what you get, and they could gain access to your stuff whether this mode is present or not. Overall, it’s a pretty solid feature that lets guests use your computer as quick internet terminal and lures anyone who might steal your Mac into surfing the internet, thereby pinpointing their whereabouts.