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Two Safari's

© May 2019 Anthony Lawrence

Note that having two Safari's in the dock is simple: just run /Applications/Safari.app/Contents/MacOS/Safari in a terminal Window. Those will share the same preferences and bookmarks though.

Although I am using Safari as the example here, this technique can actually be applied to any Mac OS X application.

Why would you want to do this? Well, for one reason so that you can have separate preferences or bookmarks. Another reason is because of application crashes which take down all your open Windows. For example, I often do things in Terminal that can crash all my terminal sessions, but not if I keep separate instances of Terminal open. You might want to do this with an Email application to keep two totally separate accounts - there are all kinds of reasons.

The copy

The first step is to make an identical copy of Safari. We'll use "ditto" for this because we may need to copy resource forks.

cd /Applications
sudo ditto Safari.app Safari2.app
cd Safari2.app/Contents
sudo mv MacOS/Safari MacOS/Safari2

Now we need to edit Info.plist. Basically, any place it says Safari will be changed to Safari2. The most important change is the


because that is your ~/Library/Preferences location, and we need it to be different for these two versions. Here are the other places:


If you aren't sure whether something needs to be changed, leave it alone and try running the app. If it works as you expect, then you are fine.

One thing that won't change with Safari is its default home page. That's because Safari looks instead in ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.internetconfig.plist for that information.

Once this is done, you can run the new Safari2 and if you change its preferences, that has no effect on the original Safari.

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-> Two Safari's


Inexpensive and informative Apple related e-books:

Take control of Apple TV, Second Edition

Take Control of the Mac Command Line with Terminal, Second Edition

Take Control of iCloud

Take Control of Automating Your Mac

Digital Sharing Crash Course

More Articles by © Tony Lawrence

Sat Feb 26 00:16:20 2005: 82   anonymous


I dont see the 2 images referred to in the article...

Sat Feb 26 11:00:33 2005: 83   TonyLawrence

Yes, so I see. Apparently the jpg has somehow been corrupted.. I'll have to fix that. Sorry..

Sat Feb 26 11:08:31 2005: 84   TonyLawrence

Ooops - it's not just this - apparently a LOT of jpg's have been mysteriously damaged.. don't know yet why..

Thu Jul 7 15:12:42 2005: 758   Burty

Hey, can you do this with iTunes? I have tried but can't seem to get the second one to run. Want to use it with Rogue Amoeba's Detour to send music to two different sound outputs.

Thu Jul 7 19:49:01 2005: 759   TonyLawrence

I don't know why iTunes would be conceptually different, but that's of course possible.

Fri Jul 8 12:26:29 2005: 763   Burty

The second iTunes say's it can't find the music folder, even though it is there - any ideas, how can I tell it to look elsewhere?

Sat Mar 8 00:54:04 2008: 764   TonyLawrence


I don't know. Is that in it's plist? If it is, of course you can. If it's in the binary itself, that's going to be harder. Never impossible, but it can be a lot more work than I'd do.

Sat Mar 8 00:57:35 2008: 3803   olli

it seems quite hard to get a second copy of itunes running. I changed iTunes into iTunes2 following the logics above, namely in iTune's main Info.plist but also to the Info.plist the of itunes helper (inside the resources). I also renamed both main executables inside their MacOS folders... The iTunes2 runs, it loads its com.apple.iTunes2.plist, but it appears to be still dependent of some other file, since it cannot run together with the original iTunes.

I mainly look forward to succeed, so I can have two iTunes applications, one to run the library on the Main internal disk, and one for the much bigger library on an external disk. I wish to add music to my internal disk, without always having to change the settings to where the files should be kept.

When I run iTunes2, I want it only to be busy with my internal disk, even when the external disk is attached.

What happens now: iTunes2 wants to copy music to the external harddisk, but doesn't remember its setting after having opened the original iTunes.

On top, both apps don't want to run together, trying to run the second, refers to the application window of the other already active...

If anyone else is trying the same, it would be nice, otherwise if I succeed, I leave it to A.P.Lawrence to publish it after, if he feels for it...

Sat Mar 8 01:19:48 2008: 3804   TonyLawrence

Probably just can't be done this easily - too deep in the binary itself.

Wed Mar 26 04:37:53 2008: 3897   Asha

Can we do this with 2 different verions of Safari ? i.e If I am having safari version 3.0.3, can I have another Safri version (say 3.1) in my dock and work on both versions at a time?? plz help me in this.

Wed Mar 26 10:27:07 2008: 3898   TonyLawrence

I don't know - why don't you try it?


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