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Set up Legacy Browser Support for Mac

Chrome version 79 or later

For administrators who manage Chrome Browser on Mac for a business or school.

As an administrator, you can automatically switch users from Chrome Browser to an alternative browser when they use managed Apple® Mac® computers. Use the Google Admin console to set policies to specify which URLs open in an alternative browser. For example, you can ensure that browser visits to the internet use Chrome Browser, but visits to your organization’s intranet use Apple® Safari®.

Step 1: Review policies

Expand to see the full set of policies and descriptions.

Full set of policies and descriptions

Policy Description and settings

AlternativeBrowserParameters

Specifies the parameters to be passed to the alternative browser’s executable.

If this policy is turned on, the provided parameters are used when the alternative browser is invoked.

You can use the special placeholder ${url} to specify where the URL should appear in the command line.

You don't have to specify the placeholder if it's the only argument or if it should be appended to the end of the command line.

Unset: Only the URL is passed as a parameter to the alternative browser.

AlternativeBrowserPath

Specifies the program to be used as an alternative browser. You can specify a file location or use one of these variables:

  • ${firefox}—Mozilla® Firefox®
  • ${opera}—Opera®
  • ${safari}—Safari

Unset: For Mac, the default alternative browser is Safari, ${safari}.

BrowserSwitcherDelay

Specifies the length of time, in milliseconds, that it takes to open the alternative browser. During this time, users see a message that they are switching browsers. If there are issues, users see an error message on the page.
 
Unset: The URL immediately opens in the alternative browser without without showing users a message that they are switching browsers.

BrowserSwitcherEnabled

Enables the Legacy Browser Support feature. 

If this policy is turned on, users can open some URLs in an alternative browser, such as Safari.

If this policy is turned on, you must configure at least one of these policies:

Unset: Chrome Browser will not open URLs in an alternative browser.

BrowserSwitcherExternalGreylistUrl

Specifies the URL of the XML file that contains the list of URLs that do not trigger a browser switch. You can use a file on your local system using the file:// schema. Or, use a file on a remote server over HTTP or HTTPS.

Unset: Chrome Browser doesn’t use an XML file to control which URLs do not trigger a browser switch.

BrowserSwitcherExternalSitelistUrl

Specifies the URL of the XML file that contains the list of URLs that open in an alternative browser. You can use a file on your local system using the file:// schema. Or, use a file on a remote server over HTTP or HTTPS.

Unset: Chrome Browser doesn’t use an XML file to control whether URLs open in an alternative browser.

BrowserSwitcherKeepLastChromeTab

Specifies whether to close Chrome Browser after the last tab in the window switches to the alternative browser.

Chrome Browser tabs automatically close after switching to the alternative browser. If this policy is turned off and the last tab is open in the window before switching, Chrome Browser closes completely.

Unset: After switching to the alternative browser, at least one tab stays open in Chrome Browser.

BrowserSwitcherUrlGreylist

Specifies a list of website URLs that open in Chrome Browser or an alternative browser and do not trigger a browser switch.

Unset: URLs open in Chrome Browser, unless specified in BrowserSwitcherExternalSitelistUrl, BrowserSwitcherUrlList , or BrowserSwitcherUseIeSitelist.

BrowserSwitcherUrlList

Specifies a list of website URLs that open in an alternative browser.

Unset: No URLs are listed in the Chrome policy.

Step 2: Configure Legacy Browser Support

  1. Sign in to your Google Admin console.

    Sign in using your administrator account (does not end in @gmail.com).

  2. From the Admin console Home page, go to Devicesand thenChrome.
  3. Click Settingsand thenUsers & browsers.
  4. To apply the setting to all users and enrolled browsers, leave the top organizational unit selected. Otherwise, select a child organizational unit.
  5. Go to Legacy Browser Support.
  6. For Legacy Browser Support, select Enable Legacy Browser Support.
  7. (Optional) To use an XML file to specify which URLs open in an alternative browser:
    1. Scroll to Legacy Browser Support site list.
    2. Enter the URL of the XML file.
  8. (Optional) To open specific URLs in Safari:
    1. Scroll to Websites to open in alternative browser.
    2. Enter the URLs of pages to open in an alternative browser.
  9. (Optional) Specify Safari as the alternative browser:
    1. Scroll to Alternative browser path.
    2. Enter the location of the browser’s executable file or ${safari}.
  10. Click Save.

Step 3: (Optional) Customize Legacy Browser Support

  1. To apply the setting to all users and enrolled browsers, leave the top organizational unit selected. Otherwise, select a child organizational unit.
  2. Go to Legacy Browser Support.
  3. (Optional) To show a message that lets users know that they are switching browsers:
    1. Scroll to Delay before launching alternative browser.
    2. Enter the number of seconds to show the message before opening Safari.
  4. (Optional) To use an XML file to specify which URLs do not trigger a browser switch:
    1. Scroll to URL to list of websites to open in either browser.
    2. Enter the URL of the XML file.
  5. (Optional) To allow URLs to open on a specific page in either browser, such as a single sign-on (SSO) page:
    1. Scroll to Websites to open in either browser.
    2. Enter the URLs that can open in both browsers.
  6. (Optional) To pass parameters to Safari:
    1. Scroll to Alternative browser parameters.
    2. Enter the parameters that you want to pass on to Safari'’s executable file.
    (Optional) To keep Chrome Browser open after the last tab in the window switches to the alternative browser:
    1. Scroll to Keep last Chrome tab.
    2. Select Keep at least one Chrome tab open.
    Click Save.

Step 4: Verify policies are applied

Check Chrome Browser policies

After you apply any Chrome policies, users need to restart Chrome Browser for the settings to take effect. Check users’ devices to make sure the policy was applied correctly.

  1. On a managed device, go to chrome://policy.
  2. Click Reload policies.
  3. Check the Show policies with no value set box.
  4. For the policies that you set, make sure that:
    1. The status is set to OK.
    2. The policy values match what you set in the policy.
Check Legacy Browser Support configuration

You can check to see which browser opens specific URLs.

  1. On a managed device, go to chrome://browser-switch/internals.
  2. In the URL Checker box, enter the URL to see which browser opens it.
  3. Under Sitelist, review the list to see which URLs open in the alternative browser.
  4. Under Greylist, review the list to see which URLs open in either browser.

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