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I’ve never heard anyone say “Let me Safari that” before looking something up online, but needing to “Google” it? More times than I can count. Synonymous with web browsing, Google Chrome is nearly three times more popular than Apple Safari. Why that is, is up for debate. But is Chrome really better than Safari?
To find out which browser is best for Apple users, we’ve compared Safari vs Chrome in 5 main categories: user experience, features, privacy & security, device compatibility, and performance.
Keep reading to find out what category each browser excels in and which one takes home the W in this browser battle.
Why bother to compare Safari vs. Chrome? After all, most browsers will get the job done, and we’re way past the frustrating days of Internet Explorer.
Browsers can actually have a large impact on the way you access the internet, from how quickly pages load, to the amount of data a site or service will be able to learn about you. This is important for all users, whether you plan to download torrents, stream shows, or just access social media.
Your browser selection is important, but which is best for Apple devices?
Safari vs Chrome: Pros & Cons
We’ve put together a quick guide listing the most important pros and cons found with both Safari and Chrome.
Safari Pros & Cons
Safari is built from the ground up to work with Apple devices
Exceptionally strong privacy features
Syncs across multiple Apple devices
Great performance on iOS and macOS, including increased battery life and faster page loading
Clean user interface
Fewer add-ons/extensions compared to Chrome
Struggles to compete with Google’s collection of online services like Translate
Isn’t compatible with other operating systems
Fewer customization options
Chrome Pros & Cons
Compatible with a range of popular Google services, including Gmail and Maps
Great UI, with lots of extra features
Wide variety of native browser apps and add-ons
Fast browser built using open-source software
Compatible with non-Apple devices
Owned by Google, who are always keen to collect user data
The same goes for many Chrome extensions and apps
Drains power in comparison to Safari, leading to poorer battery life
Uses more CPU and memory than the native Safari browser
User Experience: Chrome Wins
User experience is pretty subjective, but we think there are a few must-haves all browsers should include. For instance, a clean design and intuitive interface are key (something AOL and Yahoo must’ve missed the memo on). Side by side, Safari and Chrome check off both of these boxes by sporting a minimalist layout that’s easy to navigate. However, one browser clearly goes the extra mile.
With Safari, you get a standard tabs organizer, a bookmark manager, privacy settings, and a historical archive. The tabs organizer is a little inconsistent across devices, though. You’ll find a nice grid layout on desktop and a stacked deck on mobile that quickly becomes an endless scroll.
Also, if you want to tinker with Safari settings, you’ll have to switch over to Apple’s dedicated app to make changes. These are relatively small inconveniences, but they can add up to a bad experience for some users.
In comparison, Chrome acts as a hub for all Google products. It comes with the same abilities Safari has as well as seamless integrations with Gmail, Google Drive, Google Translate, Google Nest devices, and in-app settings. You can cast content from Chrome onto your TV and even create QR codes for specific web pages. If you live entirely within the Google ecosystem, Chrome is the better experience.
Features: Chrome Wins
Building on the user experience, features are perhaps the biggest deciding factor when choosing either the Safari or Chrome browser. Having the ability to consolidate multiple apps into one window, customize your browser as you like, and simply do more is really attractive from a user standpoint.
At first glance, both Chrome and Safari come with common features like Bookmarks, a Reading List, and a History log across all devices. The only real differences are that Safari calls bookmarks “Favorites,” and Chrome adds more context to its Reading List.
For feature lovers, the real deal-breaker here is browser extensions. You can think of extensions as add-ons that help enhance and modify a browser. Entering the scene late, Apple only offers about 350 Safari extensions right now (many of which are pay-to-use apps).
It’s easy to mix up privacy and security because they’re so closely related. An important difference to remember is that privacy is about keeping your personal information safe from online snoopers, and security is about keeping your system safe from cyberattacks (think phishing scams).
Both Chrome and Safari are big on security measures – blocking popups by default, utilizing a Safe Browsing database to prevent malware, and frequently releasing software updates to fix bugs. However, privacy is an entirely different story.
Safari collects data for things like website recommendations and UX improvements, but it also offers users plenty of ways to opt-out. Right off the bat, you’ll find a “Privacy Report” when you open Safari that lets you know how many trackers it’s blocked in the last week.
There’s also a Private Browsing mode that masks your browsing history and blocks cookies.
This is a great feature to use when shopping for plane tickets online, as many websites hike up prices to create a sense of urgency if they see you stalling on a purchase.
Furthermore, Safari offers a Hide My Email feature that creates unique forwarding addresses to conceal your real email as well as two-factor authentication like Touch ID or Face ID to verify purchases.
Unlike Google, Apple doesn’t rely on ads to keep the lights on, which allows it to put users’ privacy first. If you care at all about your personal privacy online, the choice is a no-brainer.
Device Compatibility: Chrome Wins
A big part of Google’s success comes from its device compatibility. Chrome works on all major platforms including Android, Linux, iOS, macOS, and Windows. So, whether you’re all-in on Apple products or prefer to mix things up, you can enjoy a seamless experience across devices.
In comparison, Safari is limited to iOS and macOS devices. Unless you have an iPhone, iPad, or Mac computer, you’re out of luck. The winner here comes down to what hardware you use. Safari is the default browser on all Apple devices, but if you want more flexibility, Chrome might be a better fit for you.
Since we’re looking at which browser is best for Apple users, device compatibility for anything else is unlikely to matter much. In terms of pure compatibility, we’d stick with the native browser when comparing Safari Vs. Chrome for iOS and macOS. After all, it has been built from the ground up to work with Apple devices.
Performance: Safari Wins
When we talk about performance, what we’re really looking at is the speed and battery consumption of each browser. If used for light browsing, Safari and Chrome perform similarly. However, when you start to work in multiple tabs, Safari leaves Chrome in the dust.
Since Safari is built by Apple itself, it tends to offer better hardware-software integration. To test this out, I launched the Activity Monitor on my 2019 MacBook Pro and opened up the same tabs in both browsers.
From the Energy tab, Google Chrome’s 12-hour power consumption was 10x greater than Safari. That’s a significant difference in battery life, especially if you travel or spend long hours away from an outlet.
We’ve hinted at it here and there, but “best overall” may not be what you’re looking for. The top browser for Apple devices really comes down to your personal needs. Nonetheless, Chrome takes the crown in this comparison thanks to its seamless integrations, advanced features, and device compatibility.
Before rushing to download Chrome, ask yourself what really matters to you. Are you a content creator that relies on a streamlined workspace? Or, are you a gamer that needs quick speeds for online campaigns? Whatever the case may be, each browser comes with its own advantages and disadvantages to consider. Privacy and performance are just as important as device compatibility and the overall user experience.
If neither Chrome nor Safari fit the bill for you, there are other browsers that do more to protect your privacy and offer better customization. We recommend doing your homework before settling on one. After all, if you’re going to spend several hours a day using a browser, you want to make sure to pick the right one for your needs.
Protect your data and privacy while browsing online with a VPN.
A combination of the two might be effective on Apple devices. For example, if you’d like to use a Google service like YouTube or Gmail, it makes sense to use Chrome.
2. Is Safari safer than Chrome?
Both browsers offer an adequate level of online protection, but Safari is a better choice in terms of online privacy.
3. Why is Chrome more popular than Safari?
Chrome is the most popular browser thanks to everything from a developer-friendly design to users sticking with the service over the years. It’s also integrated with a wide range of Google services.
4. Safari vs Chrome: Which would you recommend for iPhone users?
Safari is the default browser, and it would be our personal preference if you’re accessing the internet with an iPhone. This is based on privacy, as well as recent improvements to the OS.
5. Why is Safari only available on macOS and iOS?
Safari used to be available on Windows devices from 2007-2012, but Apple switched to focusing solely on their own hardware over the past decade. It’s a bonus for iPhone and macOS users, although Apple devices tend to be more expensive than the competition.
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