What is the best Mac browser?

“Many Mac users are familiar with Safari, especially if they use both iOS and Mac OS X (both of which use Safari as the main way to interact with the web). But Safari isn’t the only Mac browser, and it’s not necessarily the best,” Mark Hattersley writes for Macworld UK.

Apple’s Safari is the “best Mac browser for Apple fans,” Hattersley writes. “If you own both a Mac and iOS device you’ll especially enjoy the linked features. Safari is also popular amongst web developers looking to create mobile websites, due to its mobile simulator and sharing the same engine as Mobile Safari (used on iOS devices).”

Hattersley writes, “Firefox is the best Mac browser for those who like to tinker. It has a huge range of add-ons and features that you can play with to your heart’s content… Google Chrome is the fastest web browser, so there’s little surprise that it’s also the most popular. It’s also good for developers with a range of add-ons and extensions, and working in the most popular browser is good for ensuring website accessibility.”

More browsers covered in the full article here.


    1. Sorry, ‘I love Apple’, but I don’t want Google looking over my shoulder and recording everything I do on the web. Even if they promise they don’t, they’ve been caught lying about it before. I don’t trust thieves and spies.

        1. Well, there’s regular tracking and then there is the more pervasive Google-style tracking. Regular tracking can largely be eliminated via Safari settings (always block cookies) and extensions (AdBlock, Ghostery, etc.). I also just saw an extension which in new to me – Google Disconnect – and I immediately installed it. The less Google the better.

        2. I see 20 tracking cookies being rejected by Ghostery on this page. When I turn on private browsing and/or set Safari to reject all cookies I can be pretty well assured that I’m not being monitored (since Google was caught last time). With Chrome I have no assurances that there isn’t stealth monitoring going on. You can pretty much bet that a browser from Google is going to allow Google to see whatever it wants to, whether they tell you about it or not.

      1. I wish Safari was the best browser, but Chrome is so much faster even on my super fast machines. Chrome development is really super fast, Apple is too slow. Sorry for that, I wish it was different. But see also Pages 09 (!), Numbers 09 (!) and more. I love and use them every day, but I wish Apple would develop much, much faster.

        1. You know that Chrome is build on Apples Webkit engine project right?

          So if you think the Chrome is faster, to are just watching too many commercials on TV.

    2. I agree. Even though I was using and loving Safari for years since it came out on Windows, it changed as soon as chrome came out. Everything became much more social-based by that time and safari simply doesn’t provide that integration possibilities, especially since they stopped Windows development. I still love it on my MacBook for its simplicity and smoothness, but as soon as I need my bookmarks, history etc. – I turn to Chrome, because my main desktop is a PC.

    3. WTF?!









      1. I wrote a small Applescript, created a Service, and assigned a keyboard shortcut to that Service, so all I have to do is hit the keyboard shortcut and it’ll automatically open up Chrome (in Incognito window, no less), and browse to the current tab in Safari. I can paste the code here once I get home, if you’d like.

        1. Here’s the code:

          tell application “Google Chrome”
          set myWindow to make new window with properties {mode:”incognito”}
          set URL of active tab of myWindow to the clipboard
          end tell

          To set this up, open up Automator and create a new Service. The first item you’ll want is Get Current Webpage from Safari, then add Copy to Clipboard, then add Run Applescript and paste the above code into the box.

          At the top, be sure to select that the “Service receives no input in any application”

          Here’s a screenshot: http://tinypic.com/r/e6skqs/5

          After you save that (I call mine ‘Open in Chrome’), you’ll need to go into System Preferences -> Keyboard -> Services, the find your service in the list and assign a keyboard shortcut (I use Cmd-Shift-C)

        2. I will add that a recent update to Chrome has introduced a bug that I can’t seem to remedy: the script will work, and open the current Safari URL in a Chrome Incognito window, but a regular Chrome window will also appear (with your Chrome homepage on it).

    1. Safari for me, I try others but nothing matches its ease of use and simplicity. Haven’t put Chrome on my new mac because on my older one get nothing but attempts through little notch to access my information which you can’t permanently block so its now banned but no loss for me. Firefox is awkward I find and annoying, Opera is ok and Stainless great and super fat but lacks development.

  1. Safari is my preferred browser, but I use Chrome alongside it about 50% of the time. I actually have Chrome set as my default browser (to handle links that I click on), but always manually go to Safari when I want to just load up a site that I already know, or to do a web search. I occassionally use Firefox and Opera during my website development.

    Safari just has the best “feel” for me. It’s like riding in an expensive car, perfect cushioning. Chrome feels fast and has less cushion. Firefox and Opera both feel somewhat clunky and awkward, but are still very usable.

    Text selection is probably one of my main deciding factors. I’ve always preferred how Safari’s Location bar handled a single click. Shame that they’ve ruined it in recent versions.

  2. My only issue with Chrome is that if I leave two or more tabs running, it starts to heat my MacBook. (Late 2008 unibody model.) I can’t see a difference in speed or stability between it and Safari; I prefer Safari for most uses as I usually need three or four tabs running.

  3. Right now Chrome seems like fastest and more stable browser on Mac – but things change drastically and quickly these days because of how frequently Firefox and Chrome release updates. A Chrome update earlier in the year caused serious memory leak issues – and another update a couple months ago fixed it. Firefox has rewritten its garbage collection engine from the ground up and made numerous other updates that to improve its start time and reduce its memory footprint when using various add-ons. Safari is a great browser – except when it isn’t, and at that point it’s really hard to diagnose and fix problems in Safari because of how tightly coupled it is to OS X now. Opera’s not even a contender at this point – but it will likely be back with a vengeance next year when they complete their transition to Webkit.

  4. The nightly Webkit remains my default, although I use Chromium, Firefox, Omniweb, Opera, and Safari. Different sites will load at different speeds across these. And, I use adblockers and javascript blockers with all of them.

  5. Saying that Firefox for OS X appeals to people who like to tinker is a largely irrelevant. People who are obsessed with tinkering tend to avoid Macs in the first place.

    I find that Safari works best for my purposes on OS X and IOS. I particularly like the unified bar for entering a URL or search term.

    Firefox has better emulation of some of the quirks of IE and works more reliably on some financial web sites, but over the years, I’ve gradually moved away from banks that expect all customers to still be using IE on a PC, so I now use Firefox much less than I used to.

  6. Bookmarking is infuriatingly poor on the Safari. Chrome or Firefox win here for sure!

    Safari still retains the utterly illogical behaviour of overwriting all existing open tabs if you open a group of tabs from a bookmark folder. WTF?

    I do find it a lot smoother than Chrome or Firefox for CSS Transforms or any kind of effect driven sites.

  7. My hat goes to FireFox and it always will.

    Chrome = Google’s closed source browser with hidden trackers watching over you. They store everything you do inside, and you are a part of a botnet. (Look it up)

    Safari = Apple is run by the FBI. Your data is sent to them without your knowledge. So all Apple products have that.

    Internet Explorer = …

    FireFox = Open source, hundreds of add ons, full security, can change options, looks, everything. If you set up Mozilla FireFox securely it makes it even that much better than it straight out of the box.

  8. How fast do you really need?
    How many nano-seconds more is one over the other?

    I have used them all including BumperCar, Shiira, Mosaic, Internet Explorer, Camino, iCab, Chrome, Opera, SeaMonkey, Robin, Dreams, Slimboat, Slepinir, Roccat, Browse, Stainless, Sunrise, Webkit, Netscape, Firefox, Aol etc.

    I had my fill with the plug-in happy days then settled.

    Safari is for the Mac made by Apple and its does me well.
    I dont require a backup browser installed.
    And since it is also on every iPhone and iPad, i love it even more. The real-estate Safari used is slick, clean and responsible. And across devices. Apple has kept regular updates and I enjoy the unified search bar – it is actually very good.

  9. Safari 6 was a huge improvement to lure me back from Chrome. While Safari has the slowest development cycle it is the best all-rounded Mac browser. Firefox has the best font rendering and development tools but it’s a resource hog.

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