Can’t change Safari homepage in Sierra, even with no profiles managing homepage

So I came across something weird that's affected only my 10.12.4 clients (none of my 10.11.6 clients seem to be affected by this). Even though I have only one Safari profile enabled, which is set-once and doesn't manage the homepage, my 10.12.4 clients are unable to change the homepage in Safari manually. Whatever the homepage was is stuck like that. If you enter a new homepage in the Safari preferences, it will just not take and revert back to the old homepage once you hit Enter or click out of the address entry field.

The only workaround I've found for this is to delete all profiles (again, even though I don't have any profiles managing the Safari homepage):

sudo profiles -D
Are you sure you want to delete all configuration profiles? [y/n]:y
reboot the computer, and then reinstall (via Munki) all the previously installed profiles (yes, including the set-once profile for Safari that was installed before)... and then I'm able to change the homepage on the client manually. Very bizarre.

Also, after testing on a couple of other clients, there do seem to be situations in which the Safari profile was never set at all, and you still can't modify the homepage, even after deleting any other profiles and rebooting, and it's not account-specific either (freshly created account experiences it, too). It's a real head-scratcher.

18 thoughts on “Can’t change Safari homepage in Sierra, even with no profiles managing homepage”

  1. I’m experiencing the same thing suddenly.

    I need to test more to confirm, but so far it’s limited to Open Directory accounts. Local user accounts are fine.

    I noticed this after upgrading my OS X Server box to Sierra from El Capitan. Profile Manager had never been turned on until I did so just now to see if I could find something lurking in there. Nothing found.

    I use JAMF Pro, but I’m seeing this with boxes not enrolled in either JAMF Pro or any MDM.

    The sudo profiles -D command did not fix it.

  2. Hi guys, I’ve been battling with this for awhile now and it’s driving me insane. At first I thought there was something wrong with my image so I ended up formatting a drive and reinstalling macOS from the recovery partition. A fresh copy of macOS was downloaded from Apple. Once I went through the welcome/setup screens, I launched Safari and tried to change the homepage. It won’t let me do it. I’ve noticed this on 10.12.5 and 10.12.6. I’m chalking it up to a bug at this point.

  3. Hi guys, I had exactly the same problem, called Apple, and eventually found a fix that works for me:

    Restart in Safe mode (restart with the Shift key pressed)
    Once restarted, go to Safari preferences and change the homepage. This time, the address should stick and NOT revert back to the Apple website.
    Close Safari Preferences window.
    Restart the mac.
    Now the homepage address in Safari should be the one you set.
    W0rked for me.
    Good luck.

    iMac with OS Sierra 10.12.6, 4.2 GHz Intel Core i7

  4. Someone on the Mac admins Slack posted this solution, but I haven’t had a chance to try it or Laurent’s yet:

    * In Safari, choose Preferences from the Safari menu.
    * In the window that opens, click the General icon (if necessary)
    * Enter your desired home page in the “Homepage” field, but DO NOT press return!
    * At the top of the window, click any of the other icons (eg, Tabs, AutoFill, etc).
    * You may see a prompt asking for confirmation for changing the home page. If so, confirm.
    * Switch back to the General page and check to make sure the home page has been changed.

    1. Yep, I found out about this one after banging my head trying to figure out why an almost instinctual behavior of “type what you want and hit enter” ceased working. Not sure who thought it makes sense that changing tabs or closing the Safari preferences window is allowed, from a UX standpoint, to substitute for hitting ENTER or a Save button.

  5. Seems that Safari’s homepage-setting respects (or avoids) setting the homepage if there’s a current Apple Remote Desktop session in play, and maybe other keyboard and mouse-mimicking software. Possibly avoiding “synthetic” user input like Keychain dialogs did for a while in 10.11? The minute I walked up to the computer and changed Safari’s homepage, it worked perfectly.

    Google says that the warning logged is/was:

    Ignoring user action since the dialog has received events from an untrusted source

  6. Solution might be easier to just remove the ~/Library/Preferences/

    Seems that file tends to get corrupted doing upgrades. It was a plain text file and then it was converted to a binary file.

    File is owned by the user, so no sudo is necessary. You can either “Go to Folder” and type “~/Library/Preferences/” and then search for the file or just open up terminal and type:

    rm ~/Library/Preferences/

    Relaunch Safari.

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