Safari vs Chrome on Mac: which browser to choose?
When it comes to browsing the web, most Mac users choose Safari, and for very good reasons. It’s fast, secure, has excellent features, and, of course, it’s preinstalled on every Mac. However, Safari is far from the only browser available for the Mac. There are lots of them, many of them very good. In this article, though, we’re going to focus on Chrome, the browser many people choose when they move away from Safari. We’ll explore the question of Chrome vs Safari on Mac to decide which one is better.
It’s obvious why we’ve chosen Safari as a browser to compare, but why Chrome? Simply because it’s popular. While Firefox might once have been the main challenger to Safari, Chrome has grown hugely in popularity in recent years. In addition to that, several other browsers, like Microsoft’s Chromium and Opera, are built on the same base as Chrome, known as Chromium.
Using Safari vs Chrome on Mac: how to choose?
Now, let’s proceed with the comparison between the two browsers to help you decide which one is better.
Main benefits of each
Safari’s biggest benefit is that it’s tightly integrated into macOS. That means that it works really well with features like Handoff, Share Sheet, iCloud Keychain, and Touch ID. So, for example, you can easily access passwords saved in iCloud Keychain when you need to log in to a website, and you can use Touch ID to verify a payment using Apple Pay or a card whose details are stored in iCloud Keychain. Also, you can easily swap between iPad, iPhone, and Mac and know that your web history and open tabs will be available on all your devices as long as you are using the same Apple ID.
Chrome’s biggest benefit is its integration with Google’s services. So, if you’re logged in to your Google account, you can access your web history from other devices on which you’re logged in. And you can access saved passwords because when you’re logged in, they are synced across devices. Chrome also works well with Google services like Docs, Maps, and Gmail.
You can now check the comparison chart below and keep on reading for additional details.
Both browsers are lightning-fast, and when you look at benchmark scores for loading and displaying pages, they are neck and neck. Safari is faster in some benchmarks and Chrome in others. One area where Safari has beaten Chrome comfortably in the past is memory usage. Chrome was notorious for gobbling up huge amounts of RAM. However, recent versions have improved significantly on that front. One performance-related feature we really like in Chrome is that when you hover over an open tab with the pointer, it displays how much memory it’s currently using. So, if you are concerned that your Mac is running out of memory, you can quickly see which browser tabs are using the most of it and close them.
As with RAM, Chrome has a reputation for using lots of energy, particularly if you have lots of tabs open. That was because it drove the CPU hard. However, as with RAM, Chrome has improved a great deal in this area. And, because it’s updated very frequently, it’s likely to keep improving. It’s still a good idea to keep open browser tabs to a minimum, whichever browser you use. But the days of choosing Safari over Chrome to make your MacBook battery last longer are probably over.
Privacy is a big deal for Apple. They’ve made it a key focus of several macOS updates. And one way in which it helps keep your data private in Safari is by automatically blocking cross-site cookies from tracking you as you move around the web. The report card on Safari’s homepage will even tell you how many trackers it has blocked recently. By contrast, Google makes huge sums of revenue from selling adverts and allowing advertisers to access behavioral data.
Both Safari and Chrome have a good private browsing mode. Called Incognito in Chrome, it deletes all the data from a session when you close the browser window. And both have password managers that encrypt sensitive data like passwords and payment information.
Extensions are an important part of using a web browser, whether they are for clipping information to a notebook app, blocking adverts, or finding coupons to get discounts on shopping sites. Both Safari and Chrome have a large number of extensions, and all the well-known ones are available on both browsers. However, Chrome has more extensions overall than Safari, thanks largely to the fact that it’s available for both Mac and PC.
How to manage extensions on Mac
If you install lots of extensions on different profiles, they can be difficult to keep track of. Normally, you’d have to log in to an account or profile in each browser, go to the browser settings, and manage the installed extensions there. If you use several browsers and have several profiles in each, that can be time-consuming and laborious. However, CleanMyMac X’s Extensions module allows you to manage extensions for Safari in one place. If the extensions are standalone, you can remove them. If they are attached to an application, CleanMyMac X will tell you and direct you to the Uninstaller module, where you can uninstall the application. CleanMyMac X is free to download here.
Then, follow these steps:
- Open CleanMyMac X.
- Click Extensions > View All [x] Extensions.
- Select those you no longer need and click Remove.
To manage extensions in Chrome, paste
chrome://extensions/ into the address bar and press Return. Now, click Remove next to anything you don’t need.
Safari vs Chrome: Other features
We’ve already covered some of the best features in both browsers, like password managers and private browsing modes. And there are many other great features that are common to both. However, we’re going to focus on the differences.
Both Chrome and Safari have a reading mode, but Safari’s is more useful. In Safari, if Reader is available, you will see a page icon to the left of the address bar. Click it, and the page will be simplified, with adverts and animation removed so that you can focus on the words and images.
You can also customize the size of the text and the color of the background. Google’s reading mode is more difficult to find, and when you enable it, it presents a stripped-down version of the page in a sidebar to the right of the main page.
Both browsers make it pretty easy to auto-fill passwords, provided that you have them saved in the browser’s password manager (or iCloud Keychain in Safari’s case). Likewise, with financial details. However, if you use other Apple apps like Contacts, Safari will be easier to use because it pulls auto-fill data from there.
Again, both browsers offer translation features. However, Chrome is more accomplished here, thanks to its integration with Google Translate. If you arrive at a page in a language other than the default, Chrome will immediately offer to translate it for you, and you can then set it to always translate pages in that language into your own language.
In Safari, the translate button is almost hidden at the right of the address bar when translation is available. And while it does a good job, it’s not as easy to use as in Chrome.
This is another area where Chrome beats Safari, in our opinion. Safari allows you to customize your homepage by adding or removing features like frequently visited, iCloud tabs, and the privacy report, as well as choosing a background.
Chrome, however, allows you to change the entire theme of the browser, which changes its look and feel no matter what web page you visit (by altering the toolbar, not the content of the page) and the background of Google’s search engine when you visit google.com
Until macOS Sonoma, if you wanted to use profiles to keep browsing sessions distinct from each other, you would not have been able to use Safari. Chrome, on the other hand, allows you to create profiles based on your Google account. If you have several Google accounts, you can choose which one to sign into when you start a browsing session. Or you can not sign in at all. In each case, your history and browsing data during that session will be unique to that account and will sync with that account, but it won’t appear when you sign in with a different account.
In Safari, you can now create multiple profiles with the same Apple ID. When you open a new browser window, a menu appears in the toolbar and allows you to choose which profile to use. Everything you do in that session, including your web history and any extensions you install, is unique to that profile.
When it comes to answering the question of which browser — Safari or Chrome — is best for Mac users, there is no single answer. For most Mac users, especially if you’re embedded in the Apple universe, Safari is definitely the most convenient one. But if you have a Google account and use lots of Google services, the opposite is true. The obvious solution is to keep both on your Mac and try them both for yourself.