This page describes how to get started with managing Chromium / Google Chrome on a Mac network.
Note: these instructions are temporary but should help getting started.
- Install the Workgroup Manager from Apple
- Open the Workgroup Manager and connect to the machine to administer
- E.g. enter "localhost" as the Address, and login using an administrator account
- Select a user from the left column and then click Preferences on the toolbar.
- Select the Details tab. It lists applications that can be managed.
- If Google Chrome isn't listed, click the + button and add it.
- Select Google Chrome from the list of applications and click the pencil button, next to + and - buttons.
- Select "Always". Click "New Key" to add a new policy.
- Then click "New Item" to select the policy from the menu that pops up.
- Don't change the Type.
- Select an appropriate Value for that policy.
- Click "Apply Now" and "Done" once all policies are set.
Login with the corresponding user account, start Chrome, and the policies should be enforced now. Some policies will disable controls in the Preferences, and an informative banner will be displayed (e.g. try forcing to show the home button). Recent versions of Chrome (15 and later?) have an "about:policy" page that lists the policies that are currently affecting Chrome.
If you have trouble, it usually pays of to examine whether the settings are correctly stored and read by Chrome. First of all, navigate to about:policy in Chrome. It lists any policy settings that Chrome has picked up. If your settings show up, good. If not, you can dig deeper and check whether Mac OS X actually put them into place correctly. Mandatory policy is stored in /Library/Managed Preferences/<username>/com.google.Chrome.plist while recommended policy is stored in /Library/Preferences/com.google.Chrome.plist. The plutil command can be used from a terminal to convert it to XML format:
- # sudo -s
- # cd /Library/Managed Preferences/<username>
- # plutil -convert xml1 com.google.Chrome.plist
- # cat com.google.Chrome.plist
For debugging, this file is in place it can be edited manually. Chrome will pick up the updated preferences automatically. Note that this is not recommended for making persistent changes to policy, since Mac OS X will rewrite the file with settings configured through Workgroup Manager.
Notes for Chromium
Chromium can be managed in a similar way, with a few differences:
- The Chromium application must be managed, instead of Google Chrome
- Chromium is identified as "org.chromium.Chromium"
- The plist file is in the same place but is named "org.chromium.Chromium.plist"
- Clicking "Apply Now" or "Done" in the Workgroup Manager sometimes hangs the machine. This isn't Chrome-specific, and seems to be more common the longer the machine has been running.