Safari Vs. Chrome: Which Browser Is Better for Apple Users?

Paula Novo

Paula Novo Last updated: September 2, 2021

Safari Vs. Chrome: Which Browser Is Better for Apple Users?

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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 compare 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.

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.

Safari and Chrome homepages

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 at all, you’ll have to switch over to Apple’s dedicated settings 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 a 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 browsers 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-on features that help enhance and modify a browser. Entering the scene late, Apple only offers about 100 Safari extensions right now (most of which are pay-to-use apps). In comparison, Google boasts of a whopping 137,000+ extensions in the Chrome Web Store including chrome extension vpn. This, coupled with all of its Google app integrations, makes Chrome the king of features.

Chrome

Google Chrome Web Store extension homepage

Safari

Apple Safari extension App store

Privacy & Security: Safari Wins

It’s easy to mix up privacy and security because they’re so closely related. Yet, 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.

screenshot of Safari browser Privacy Report

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.

Google Chrome, on the other hand, is not shy about wanting all your data. It has a vague privacy policy and loose practices around trackers. For instance, Chrome sets several features to default when you first download it like predictive searches and URL suggestions that compromise user privacy. Its Private Incognito mode even leaks data, which is the complete opposite of what this feature is intended for. None of this is surprising, though, as Google’s primary revenue stream is advertising.

The best way to protect your privacy and security while using a browser is to pair it with a trustworthy VPN like NordVPN. It’ll hide your IP address so ISPs can’t snoop as well as secure your data via an encrypted server.

Unlike Google, Apple doesn’t rely on ads to keep the lights on, which allows it to put user’s 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.

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 ten times greater than Safari. That’s a significant difference in battery life, especially if you’re one to travel or spend long hours away from an outlet.

On average, Safari also loads websites 50% faster than Chrome and lasts 1.5 hours longer when browsing or streaming videos. This is because Safari uses minimal RAM while running compared to Chrome. If you rely on fast internet speeds, we recommend using a lightweight browser like Safari every time.

Final Verdict 

laptops with Google and Apple browsers

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.

Google Chrome beats Apple Safari 3-2

  • User Experience: Chrome
  • Features: Chrome
  • Privacy & Security: Safari
  • Device Compatibility: Chrome
  • Performance: Safari

Finding the right fit

Before running 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. 

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 in a browser, you want to make sure to pick the right one for you.