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I have enabled the guest account for all of the iMacs and Macbooks in my school. I would now like to use Profile Manager to trim down the dock for the Guest user, set a custom homepage for Safari and configure Safari to launch new windows with the homepage. I am struggling to find a tutorial for accomplishing this. Any tips?

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It looks like there is a way to make Guest account settings "persistent", it's just a bunch of settings files.

See this hint for how to get those settings files configured how you like them.

So you would copy the Guest preference files (once configured how you please), and then copy them to that User Template folder on all your deployed computers, so every Guest login starts with those settings.

I haven't used Profile Manager, but hopefully you have some simple way to copy the /System/Library/User Template/English.lproj/ folder to all of your client computers.

  • Yes, this is the preferred method according to Apple but it is a manual PITA. In a school environment, at least for students, you should avoid MacOS like the plague and use Chromebooks. – zeeple Aug 14 at 14:13
  • If there’s a way to automatically copy that one folder to all your client computers, this shouldn’t be terribly difficult. But I agree that saving the Guest user settings in the first place does take some effort, to copy the Guest prefs over to the User_Templates folder. – Demis Aug 16 at 15:41
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This is not possible. Apple's Profile Manager is lacking in many areas, and this is one of them. Apple does not provide any tools for managing the guest account on multiple remote computers, or creating a profile to define and/or configure them.

Update: It has been about half a year since I posted this answer and in that time I have gained more insights into managing macs in a school environment. Here are my thoughts:

  1. If you are managing student-facing macs in a school, your number one strategy should be to migrate to chromebooks. Cheaper, more secure, and a thousand times easier to manage.

  2. If you are stuck with macs, you need to use something like Jamf to manage them. Apple Profile Manager is a pathetic after thought.

  3. Even with a mac management service like Jamf, using the Guest user account for students is a nightmare. You will need to create your own "pseudo" guest user, and just manage it with scripts so it is always clean for the next student.

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