Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

The Origins of the Name 'Safari'

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
51,460
13,095



Former Apple employee Don Melton has shared a unique look behind the scenes of the Safari development team. Melton was the team leader on both the Safari and WebKit products that are now used by millions of users on both iOS, the Mac, and Windows.

The name Safari, however, wasn't decided on until less than a month before the browser was originally launched. A number of different names were suggested, including 'Freedom', but none of them seemed right.

The name 'iBrowse' was used sarcastically within the team, though it was never used within the code. The development code name for Safari was 'Alexander'.
From that point on, we had a brief discussion about the product name at random HI design sessions every month. Again, I don't remember any particular name we talked about. They all sounded so awful to me that I've purged from my mind the trauma of imagining the browser being labeled with any of them. And the candidate names seemed to get worse the closer we got to shipping.

I'm not sure if any of the names I heard came from Steve after that initial session. I think he doomed some group in Marketing to iterate on them for awhile. And the few names I proposed were stinkers too. No one was without sin here.

Finally I stopped thinking about it because of more important things to worry about -- like actually getting the engineering done.
In the end, the name 'Safari' was chosen and the rest is history.

Article Link: The Origins of the Name 'Safari'
 

RoelJuun

macrumors 6502
Aug 31, 2010
435
176
Netherlands
Safari always sounds like 'a rough ride' to me, while Apple makes it as smooth as possible. Never found the name appropriate.
 
Comment

applesith

macrumors 68030
Jun 11, 2007
2,667
1,153
Manhattan
So it's just the random one that stuck? I don't see the point of this. Better to keep its "origin" private then say it's the best of the crap we thought of.


Maybe you see a few of the Mac OS cats on a safari?????
 
Comment

nagromme

macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
12,546
1,196
I like “Alexander” actually. Safari seemed weird at the time, and now I’m just used to it. Too bad this origin story is missing, you know, the origin.

“Alexandria” (after the ancient library) would have been a good name. The iOS version could be called “Ale...ria”.
 
Comment

spiderman0616

macrumors 68040
Aug 1, 2010
3,949
4,393
So....you mean.....everything Steve Jobs said was NOT solid gold at Apple? Like he actually did things that didn't stick or didn't work sometimes and had someone else do it instead? You mean not every single idea that came out of Apple and continues to come out of Apple after his death was not his idea necessarily?

Somebody better alert the media and Wall Street. They seem to think that Apple is doomed. (yet again)
 
Comment

SnowLeopard OSX

macrumors 6502a
Dec 5, 2012
676
60
California
I figured it was because Safaris are synonymous with exploration -- web browsing is like exploring the internet, but the word "explore" was already used by Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

Interesting story, though. Thanks for posting this.
 
Comment

PodPacker

macrumors regular
Oct 23, 2006
114
1
Hmmm...

I always thought it was because "Safari" ends in an "i" and better than terrible names like "iBrowser," "iViewer" and "iSurfer." Crushed me like "Siri." I thought they used that name because it was "iRis" backwards. Turns out that's not it either.
 
Comment

doug in albq

Suspended
Oct 12, 2007
1,449
244
The Navigator asked the Explorer, where are the hot Foxes on this here Safari...?

Under the front Chrome bumper of the Jeep.
 
Comment

Nicky G

macrumors 6502a
Mar 24, 2002
931
821
Baltimore
I like the name Safari. Every time I surf the web, I feel like I'm going on an adventure!

And I very much like stories like this on the site. Little anecdotes about how things happen at Apple are great. Apple is by most measures the most successful technology company on the planet, and in fact one of the most successful companies on the planet in general. When Safari launched, the future of Apple was not even CLOSE to as bright as it is today. As a businessman, I enjoy getting some of the Apple backstory, as it's something anyone interested in business, marketing and technology would do well to research.
 
Comment

Oohara

macrumors 68030
Jun 28, 2012
2,878
1,850
Safari...what's that? Oh right, that annoying app that keeps opening whenever I click a web link in other apps even though I have the far more versatile Chrome on the homescreen dock of my iPhone.
 
Comment

dpfenninger

macrumors regular
Nov 23, 2005
160
77
iBrowse

iBrowse was already a real browser...was one of the first, and best, browsers for the Amiga. Used it all the time in the mid '90s. :)

Yeah, it's a little too tongue-in-cheek and doesn't quite have the professional feel for Apple to have gotten away with using it as a name.
 
Comment

mdelvecchio

macrumors 68040
Sep 3, 2010
3,117
1,056
Safari...what's that? Oh right, that annoying app that keeps opening whenever I click a web link in other apps even though I have the far more versatile Chrome on the homescreen dock of my iPhone.

let it go, bro
 
Comment

HurtinMinorKey

macrumors 6502
Jan 18, 2012
405
155
Safari, as in a tour through in the internet, which is a wild and dangerous place.

BTW, that article can be summed up as follows: The story behind the name is that there is no story behind the name.
 
Comment

komodrone

macrumors 6502
Apr 26, 2011
499
0
the original thought process of coming up with Safari:
internet -> porn -> mating -> we're animals -> jungle -> safari
 
Comment
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.