🌐 Launch web browsers in kiosk mode (full screen mode) from the command line interface

What is Kiosk Mode?

Sometimes, you may need to run an application (especially a web application) 24/7 in full screen mode.

In this tutorial, we will see how to launch web browsers in kiosk mode (full screen mode) from the command line in Linux.

In large shopping malls, you may have noticed that a computer monitor, usually hung on the wall, displays a particular application in full screen mode all day, every day.

And not only in shopping malls, you may have seen it in many places like restaurants, libraries, public transport, etc.

You won’t see the desktop or OS, only the application running in full screen or kiosk mode.

Launching applications in kiosk mode provides ease of understanding for users: the system puts in front of them only the things they need and removes from their field of view what they don’t need access to.

Of course, you can just press the F11 key to bring up the browser in full screen mode. However, you need to do it manually every time you launch the browser. When you launch the browser in kiosk mode, the application automatically launches in full screen mode. Users cannot return it to the normal window by pressing the F11 key. When you launch browsers in kiosk mode:

  • you will not see information about the desktop or OS,
  • the X (close) button will be hidden, the F11 key will not work,
  • menu bars, toolbars will not be visible,
  • the status bar at the bottom will not be visible.
  • the right-click context menu will not work.
  • target links will not show when hovering over links.

How to start a browser in kiosk mode (full screen mode) from the command line interface

As part of this tutorial, we’ll take a look at how to run Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome and its open source version of Chromium in kiosk mode.

Launch Mozilla Firefox in kiosk mode

To launch Mozilla Firefox in kiosk mode or full screen mode, simply run the following command in a terminal:

$ firefox -kiosk https://itsecforu.ru

You can also use double hyphens (-) for the kiosk option.

$ firefox --kiosk https://itsecforu.ru

Replace the URL with the required address

The web browser will now open the specified website in full screen mode.

The address bar, menu bar, toolbar and status bar will not be visible.

You cannot use the F11 key to return the browser to normal mode.

The browser will continue to run until you press Alt + F4 to manually close the browser window.

If the above command doesn’t work, try the following command:

$ firefox --kiosk --app=https://itsecforu.ru

You can also launch a private browser window (incognito) in kiosk mode, as shown below:

$ firefox -kiosk -private-window https://itsecforu.ru

Running Google Chrome / Chromium in kiosk mode

To launch Google Chrome or Chromium browsers in kiosk mode, follow these steps:

$ google-chrome -kiosk https://itsecforu.ru
$ chromium-browser -kiosk https://itsecforu.ru

Similarly, you can private the browser window with the commands:

$ google-chrome -kiosk -private-window https://itsecforu.ru
$ chromium-browser -kiosk -private-window https://itsecforu.ru

If you are unable to start Chrome / Chromium in kiosk mode using the above commands, try the following command instead:

$ google-chrome --kiosk --app=https://itsecforu.ru
$ chromium-browser --kiosk --app=https://itsecforu.ru

Disable screen lock and power saving

If you want to start your system in kiosk mode, you need to prevent the screen from automatically turning off or going to standby after a certain amount of time.

On GNOME desktops, the screen will go blank after 5 minutes of inactivity.

To disable the screen lock, go to Settings -> Privacy -> Screen Lock and set “Never” to “Blank Screen Delay”.

Also, disable the auto lock screen option and disable notifications on the lock screen.

Then go to section Settings -> Power, turn off the Dim Screen When Inactive parameter and set the Blank Screen parameter to Never.