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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

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'


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


macrumors 68030
Jun 11, 2007
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?????


macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
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”.


macrumors 601
Aug 1, 2010
6,238 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)

SnowLeopard OSX

macrumors 6502a
Dec 5, 2012
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.


macrumors regular
Oct 23, 2006

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.

doug in albq

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

Under the front Chrome bumper of the Jeep.

Nicky G

macrumors 65816
Mar 24, 2002
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.


macrumors 68040
Jun 28, 2012
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.


macrumors regular
Nov 23, 2005

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.


macrumors 68040
Sep 3, 2010
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


macrumors 6502
Jan 18, 2012
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.


macrumors 6502
Apr 26, 2011
the original thought process of coming up with Safari:
internet -> porn -> mating -> we're animals -> jungle -> safari
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