How can I setup 16.04 as a Chrome-based "kiosk"? I.e.:

  • chrome --kiosk as the only app visible to user,
  • user can only click on what's showed by Chrome (no Settings, Unity or other apps or other URLs),
  • ideally user has maximally limited privileges,
  • user has "autologin" (no password required) enabled,
  • admin/superuser can login with some magical key combination or something (e.g. Ctrl-Alt-F1 + login + password) and switch to "full friendly desktop".

Basic googling and other AskUbuntu answers lead me only to some old guides, ~14.04 or older, which I have trouble applying in 16.04 because of many differences between the distributions (systemd vs. old init, also big changes in GUIs, esp. for system settings).

edit: Ideally, I'd prefer a console/script-based guide, so that I could automate it over many computers. But a GUI-based guide would be still better than nothing.

  • It's about time for an updated answer about making a Chrome kiosk in Ubuntu. – karel Dec 13 '16 at 12:32

Below is what I managed to build in the end, stitching together various scraps and hints I could find plus some "original research" of my own. I consider it very rough and downright ugly in places, but I need some solution, and it seems to work for now. Fingers crossed...

Warning:   PLEASE NOTE you should also consider hardening your Linux for security,
which is absolutely not covered by the presented script!

if [ $# -ne 0 ]; then
    echo "USAGE: mkkiosk.sh"
    echo "Create new user 'kiosk' and configure LightDM to auto-login this user to a X session running only Chrome"
    echo "in --kiosk mode."
    exit 1

set -x; set -e

# Try to make current user (admin/...) prefer 'ubuntu' to 'kiosk' for session type.
# TODO: currently doesn't seem to work, lightdm still suggests 'kiosk' session and requires manual clicking to change.
cat > ~/.dmrc << EOF

# Auto-create user 'kiosk'.
# http://askubuntu.com/a/321943/111779
# NOTE: auto-login is enabled later (autologin-user)
getent group kiosk || (
    sudo su -c "groupadd kiosk"
    sudo su -c "useradd kiosk -s /bin/bash -m -g kiosk"

# Install Chrome
# http://askubuntu.com/a/510186/111779
# TODO: somehow pin Chrome version? reportedly, cmdline flags are
# unofficial and can change; OTOH, security updates... though in kiosk, we show
# only one webpage; but admin user also may use Chrome.
grep chrome /etc/apt/sources.list.d/google-chrome.list >&/dev/null || (
    wget -q -O - https://dl-ssl.google.com/linux/linux_signing_key.pub | sudo apt-key add -
        sudo sh -c 'echo "deb [arch=amd64] http://dl.google.com/linux/chrome/deb/ stable main" >> /etc/apt/sources.list.d/google-chrome.list'
    sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install -y --no-install-recommends \

# https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Display_manager#Session_configuration
# - For Chrome flags, see:
#   - http://peter.sh/experiments/chromium-command-line-switches/
#     (via http://askubuntu.com/a/423632/111779)
# - TryExec:
#   not sure what it does, but apparently must be just binary name if present.
#   (see: https://www.virtualbox.org/svn/vbox/trunk/src/VBox/Additions/linux/lightdm-greeter/liblightdm-gobject-1.5.0/session.c)
#   TODO: test if we can remove TryExec
# - IMPORTANT NOTE: If below settings are invalid, the session may just
#   silently disappear as a choice in LightDM. You can then try to confirm this
#   by looking in /var/log/lightdm/seat0-greeter.log for message "Ignoring
#   sesion kiosk".
sudo bash -c 'cat > /usr/share/xsessions/kiosk.desktop' << EOF
[Desktop Entry]
Comment=Start a Chrome-based kiosk session
Exec=/usr/bin/google-chrome --kiosk --window-size=1281,1025 --window-position=0,0 --no-first-run --incognito --no-default-browser-check --disable-translate http://stackoverflow.com
sudo -u kiosk bash -c 'cat > ~kiosk/.dmrc' << EOF
# See LightDM "help" in: /usr/share/doc/lightdm/lightdm.conf.gz
sudo bash -c 'cat > /usr/share/lightdm/lightdm.conf.d/99-kiosk.conf' << EOF
# Setting below options in only 99-kiosk.conf doesn't seem enough (conflicts on autologin-user).
sudo bash -c 'cat > /etc/lightdm/lightdm.conf' << EOF

echo "Done."

To get back to "normal user", press Alt-F4 to close Chrome; LightDM will show, where you can login to your "normal" admin/root/... (super-)user. To get back to "kiosk", run:

sudo killall lightdm

TODO: didn't disable screensaver yet (or did it?).
Also, no warranty, it may shoot off your leg, eat your homework, etc, etc.


1) Chrome in Kiosk Define a cronjob to launch chrome as kiosk mode and launches everytime system starts. e.g. //File: chrome

@reboot [USER] google-chrome --kiosk --incognito [URL]

Copy this file to /etc/cron.d/

Alternatively, you can create a launcher(a .desktop file) with command

google-chrome --kiosk --incognito [URL]

and copy this to


This enables autostart of chrome browser only for this user.

2) AutoLogin Open this file:

sudo vi /usr/share/lightdm/lightdm.conf.d/60-lightdm-gtk-greeter.conf

Create if does not exist.

Then add these lines to this file.


Save this file and restart. This enables the user to auto login. This user has of course, limited privileges.

3) Superuser Login Use CTRL+ALT+T, this opens terminal

gnome-session-quit --logout --force

Then login as superuser.

  • 1
    Steps 2) and 3) currently seem to do nothing? can they be removed? or do you want to rephrase them? Also, I don't understand step 5) (how to switch the user); also, on what base you claim "This user has of course limited privileges"? As of now, your answer is phrased in hard to understand way. – akavel Dec 13 '16 at 13:15
  • what you mean by step 2 is definition of chrome kiosk mode(which displays only browser and nothing else). And step 3 , you, as a super user, can define the privileges for the default user(which can auto-login). May be I am not clear what you actually want to implement. – krishna Dec 13 '16 at 16:03

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