What’s the best Mac internet browser?

“Web browsing in Mac OS X couldn’t be easier,” Mark Hattersley writes for Macworld UK. “Ever since Apple introduced its own web browser, Safari, to Mac OS X and inserted its icon into the Dock by default, all you need to do is to connect to Wi-Fi (or a local network), click the Safari icon and you’re good to go.”

“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 internet browser for Mac, and it’s not necessarily the best,” Hattersley writes. “Your chosen web browser – the software program that interprets the code use to build each website and presents it for your enjoyment – can make a serious difference to your enjoyment of your favourite websites.”

Hattersley writes, “In this feature we look at the pros and cons of using all the major Mac internet browsers – not to mention the minor ones, and a fair few of the weird and obscure options – and explain [for which activities] each browser is best.”

Covered in-depth in the full article:
• Safari: Best Mac browser for Apple fans, as well as for visuals and overall balance
• Firefox: Best Mac browser for customisation/tweaking
• Google Chrome: Best for developers
• Opera: Best web browser for innovation and proxy content
• Rock Melt: Interesting Mac browser with a focus on integrating social media
• Torch Browser: All-in-one browser and media player. Interesting to people who download a lot of torrents
• Camino [now defunct]: Open source web browser from Mozilla. Lacks any real unique features, but is nice to use
• Flock: A unique browser with an emphasis on social networking
• Sunrise: Interesting browser for developers with a range of information about how websites load

Read more in the full article here.


      1. Personally I would have a very hard time using any Google product due to the corporate ethics, and the nature of the company being a spy. That said, you didn’t really say what you liked about Chrome, so your comment wasn’t as valuable as it could have been.

    1. Integration? What integration? Didn’t they say the same thing about IE and Windows?

      Firefox, Opera, Safari, and iCab each have strengths and weaknesses. None is the clear winner. Chrome will never be installed on my macs.

  1. Originally switched to Chrome years ago because bookmarks can be reduced to favicons, unlike Safari (and earlier versions of Firefox). Now that I’m familiar with Chrome’s dev tools, I’m pretty locked in (Chrome’s inspector has replaced FireBug for me), and of course, there’s no easy way to transfer extensions like Reddit Enhancement Suite between browsers.

    Chrome extension architecture / access is also pretty great.

    1. I downloaded Chrome to test a website problem, to see if it was the site or the browser. Haven’t used it since. I’m sure it’s a fine browser, but I really don’t want to worry about Google recording everything I do. And since I understand that Chrome works best if you log in with your Google ID, I don’t think that’s an irrational concern.


    2. Does Google track the pages you view through Chrome? To be clear, I don’t mean your searches, or even the pages you arrive at through search, I mean everything. Are they keeping track of every page that a particular user opens in their browser?

  2. Good heavens! Internet Explorer comes in third place? Didn’t Microsoft kill IE for Mac back in 2005? If the data is accurate, I feel like there are a bunch of Mac users who aren’t experiencing an enjoyable Internet browsing experience.

  3. Isn’t it pathetic that Safari, which renders web pages beautifully is almost dead last vs Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome. Why is that?

    I know in the business world where 90% of them are forced to use Windows must use Explorer to use that POS Sharepoint and Office Products POS. That monopoly really works well for MS.

    Bur Firefox and Chrome? I don’t get it. I guess people really are blind and couldn’t care less how web pages really look to them.

    1. What have you got against Firefox? Firefox renders web pages as beautifully as Safari in my opinion. It’s not my default browser (Safari is) only because it follows certain Windows conventions rather than OS X conventions, e.g. close tab button being on the right (Firefox) rather than on the left (Safari), due to its dual nature of being developed for Windows and Mac but other than that it’s a great web browser.

    2. I tend to distrust these kinds of studies. IE was so popular because 99% of users (please exclude all developers) like my mum could care less about the browser and clicked on what was default. Download another? Huh? What? How? You can do that? She doesn’t know and doesn’t care.

      For Mac users (again exclude techs and developers), I would assume the same holds at 99% using Safari.

      If the Mac is holding a 10% market share, I would expect 10% of internet users use safari.

      We already hear reports of more than 90% of all mobile web traffic is safari.

      What is “best” for one is not best for all. If chrome makes you a better programmer, use it.

      But if you want to make sure your app runs on 90% of desktop users pc’s, better make sure it runs in IE. And make sure your app also runs on the remaining 10% of the market’s Mac users.

      But for us techies, I will stick to Firefox because I am used to it and others will go with chrome. But my targets may differ.

        1. Hahaha!!! Good damn question!!

          I have government clients. Believe it or not our browser requirement is IE 6.

          Don’t get me started on “the worst browsers on the internet”!!!

          Yes, I know, the story is “best Mac browser”

          Anyway, as is already been commented, IE is so fragmented that the question of which one is difficult.

          Believe it or not, you need all IE versions (except 9)


          And, we typically write separate IE application target views. IE6, IE7 (covers 8), IE10

          But, the problem with IE10 is that to complies with standards “too well” (oh no… Here we go). Many of the tools we love in Chrome or Firefox (and Safari) may break in IE10.

          Wow… This conversation could go on a while…

          1. Or alternatively you can force web users to use a more modern browser by not programming for earlier versions of Internet Explorer or making the site only compatible with Firefox, Chrome, Safari, etc. Granted, this could backfire, but it could also cause migration out of the Internet Dark Ages. I mean, companies have IT staff for this reason, right?

    3. Isn’t it pathetic that Safari, which renders web pages beautifully is almost dead last vs Internet Explorer, Firefox and Chrome. Why is that?

      Safari, unsurprisingly, got lots of nonsensical bad press on the Windows side simply because it’s from Apple. Apple ended up abandoning it on Windows. It never went past version 5.x. Therefore, no one on Windows bothers to use it.

  4. Firefox is becoming a disaster. The developers have some nutty ideas about interface and have told a large group of their users, “We know better. Get used to it.” What used to be a capability to customization is becoming more and more a cause of freezing, restarting, and reinstalling. I would hesitate to make any projections about Firefox’s future.

      1. His comment may be inaccurate but you didn’t make much of a case. Profanity does not replace a well reasoned argument, and due to your lack of ability to articulate how he was wrong I’m actually more inclined to believe him after your comment rather than less, and I do not even use FireFox.

    1. I also hate that they took out the ability to download videos embedded in web pages. The new develop menu is such a crippled alternative to the simple window that allowed you to see (and download) any content of any webpage. I honestly wish I could uninstall the current Safari and reinstall an earlier version.

    1. I’ve never liked iCab from Day One- very unreliable. I go to Google or Safari when Firefox gets glitchy, audio streams stopping, weird printing problems. I have always used more than one browser.

    2. Shadow, I also like iCab and found it strange to have no mention. It has been around a long time and is normally kept well updated…and it’s Mac-only. Like you, I also use it when I have problems with other browsers. It’s been good solid for me and has features others don’t have.

  5. They list one of Firefox’s features as “Encrypted Google searches.” The irony here is that keeping others from seeing your searches isn’t the problem. The problem is keeping Google from seeing your searches.

  6. I love Opera for a list of one-click bookmarks in a panel down the left side of the window and that it remembers multiple account log-ins for the same site. I’m hoping Safari will have this Bookmark feature in Mavericks- if so, I would switch…

  7. My top 3:

    1) Safari – (Version 6.1+, which fixes the RAM devouring bug. Currently in beta). Very good add-ons and default security. Nice speed overall.
    2) Firefox – A nice alternative web engine with lots of nice add-ons. Excellent security if you max out the add-ons.
    3) iCab – Another nice alternative web engine. Works great on iOS as well. I even paid for it on both Mac and iOS.

    No thank you:

    Chrome – any version, including Chromium and Torch. I’m sick to death of Google surveillance. I also find the preferences for the thing(s) to be primitive and obtuse. It has a few nice add-ons, but not as good as Safari’s and Firefox’s.

    Opera – It’s clunkiness continues to annoy me. Now that it’s moving over to become yet-another-Chrome-Clone, no-no thanks.

    Rockmelt – Tried it months back, yawned, dumped it.

    What I miss:

    Camino – Nice and simple, stripped Firefox. It was great in a pinch when you wanted no add-ons running. Maybe if Firefox let you boot it with the Shift key down to stop add-ons from loading. There must be a way to do it that I’ve missed!

    OmniWeb – It was great in its day and still has features NOT in any other browsers that I LOVE. But it is so-far-behind now that I consider it useless. Very sad.

    1. Derek, I also use iCab in iOS, as well as Mac. Wish I could set it as default. And I agree with your comments on OmniWeb, too. Safari still gets the most use for me, but iCab does get regular use. I had also paid.

  8. I use Seamonkey. Why? Because it is an integrated browser/email program with html editing tools. Not because it is faster, or fancier. It does just fine in all those categories. I have Safari standing by if I need to print a page in its preview mode.

    Instead of tabs, I used the html editing feature to make up a home page that looks like a spreadsheet with all the sites I visit. Some of the cells are actually pointers to other pages full of URL references to special areas. BTW, I am not a programmer.

    I like the browser/email integration. I really don’t understand how to use them separately. I constantly switch between them and the calendar add on (Lightening?).
    I don’t mean I couldn’t manage switching back and forth between the separate applications. What I mean is it is so much more trouble to work that way and adds clutter to my list of apps running, that it just seems retrograde to do it that way.

    If Apple would integrate Safari and Mail, or just give me a one keystroke toggle, I would switch immediately.

  9. I use mostly chrome or chrome based. Torch browser is actually pretty cool because it comes with a bunch of extensions already embedded for things like downloading. Plus, it comes with torch music which is its own streaming music service based off of youtube (but without the adds to disrupt the video flow). Nice for making video playlists!

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