Google Chrome's overwhelming popularity on macOS is quite an accomplishment for a non-standard browser, but it makes sense. In its early days, Chrome had a reputation for being light and fast. It's better than Safari and Firefox, people said. It may have been true then, but it is no longer true.
In fact, Safari beats Chrome on the Mac because it's more energy efficient, better protecting your privacy, and working seamlessly with the Apple ecosystem. Here are all the reasons why you should avoid using Google Chrome on your Mac.
1. Chrome uses more power than Safari
On a MacBook, you can click the battery icon in the menu bar to see which apps are using a lot of power. When Chrome is running, it will often show up here.
Chrome is notorious for draining RAM and draining the battery on laptops. This problem occurs especially when comparing Chrome with Safari, which is optimized to work efficiently on Mac hardware.
Google has been working on this problem and has made some significant advances – Chrome performed better than Safari in some of our tests – but in most cases you will get better Mac performance with Safari.
And you don't have to take my word for it: Open them Activity monitor on your Mac, then go to the Central processor, Storage, or energy Section. Open some tabs in Chrome and the same ones in a different browser – Chrome almost always uses more power for the same job.
2. Chrome works in its own way
Unlike Safari, many of Chrome's features have their roots in ChromeOS, unlike macOS. This results in a less than ideal experience on a Mac as Chrome works differently from other macOS apps.
For example, most Mac apps close immediately when you press Command + Q; Chrome, by default, lets you hold the combo for a few seconds before exiting (although you can turn this feature off). Likewise, most Mac apps have their own settings window; Chrome uses a website in a tab for this.
Chrome is also slower to catch up with new macOS features than Safari. For example, macOS Mojave introduced Dark Mode in September 2018, which Safari supported from the start. But Chrome didn't respect this feature until March 2019 – six months later.
The old notification system was a mess too. Chrome used its own notification setup that wasn't built into the Notification Center on a Mac. Fortunately, this is no longer the case, but it has been a great pain for far too long.
Obviously, forcing a user to learn a completely separate workflow and user interface when they're already used to it isn't ideal. Safari uses the same buttons and icons as the rest of macOS, making for a more seamless experience.
3. Chrome extensions come at a price
It's true that Chrome is the clear winner in Chrome's head-to-head showdown versus Safari when it comes to extensions. Nevertheless, such a large expansion library has its price.
Extensions can create privacy issues as many of them require full access to your browsing. While Safari doesn't have that many extensions to choose from, rest assured that the extensions available have been scrutinized more closely than what you'll find for Google Chrome.
And Safari has a lot of great extensions anyway. Sure, there aren't as many as there are on Google Chrome, but the features available encompass all of the essentials you might need.
4. Google is watching you
While the interests of Google and Apple seem to overlap, the companies are structured quite differently. Google's earnings are primarily ad-supported, which means that you, the user, are not really the customer, but the product. Google only makes money when it can somehow acquire information about you in order to sell it.
While you can customize Chrome to protect your privacy to some extent, you will never be entirely sure with a company whose business model is based on getting your data.
If that sounds Orwellian to you, Chrome on Mac is probably not for you.
5. Apple is watching you less
In contrast, Apple’s business model is based on selling you, the user, their hardware. Apple's software is usually free and only as valuable as it makes Apple hardware more attractive to customers. The company has a more direct incentive to provide you with a browser that works well with other Apple products.
As a token of this goodwill, Apple has introduced a whole range of data protection measures in macOS Mojave. Intelligent Tracking Prevention 2 (ITP 2) is an update to a feature introduced in High Sierra that attempts to combat cross-site tracking, which makes it harder for websites to follow you on the web. It also tries to remove fingerprints, which makes it harder for websites to identify you in the future.
You can also view a privacy report from the Safari toolbar, which shows you which apps have tried the most often to track you and which trackers they want to use.
6. There is no Chrome support on Yosemite
Chrome's system requirements cut any Mac running macOS Yosemite or earlier. Sure, you can update your Mac for free, but a lot of people either don't want to or can't update for various reasons. This includes people with older computers that don't support the latest version of macOS.
Safari, on the other hand, is available for every version of macOS because it is built into the operating system. Sure, you may not get all of the latest features, but Apple has been offering security updates for several years and you still have all of the basic features of a browser no matter how old your operating system is.
7. Safari is actually really good
For a long time, the collective answer to the above has been, "Sure, but no browser is better than Chrome." However, newer versions of Safari are faster and sleeker than Chrome.
Seriously, if you haven't tried this browser in a while, you don't know what you are missing out on. Even the enlargement ecosystem has come a long way; the most popular tools are already waiting for you. It will be an adjustment, but you will never look back. Try a few essential Safari tips and tricks to get to know each other again.
Safari regularly outperforms Chrome in Jetstream browser speed tests and now offers many features that were once reserved for Chrome users: website translation, tab groups, and weather updates straight from the search bar.
8. Safari's reading mode is great
Have you ever tried to read an article but couldn't get past the ads? Safari's Reader Mode cuts through all of the poor formatting, weird fonts, and ad pages to deliver what you came for: plain, optimized text. Images, videos, and links are included in an easy-to-read format. You can customize the font size and background color, and even download articles to read offline.
Google offers a similar experimental feature, but since clipping the ads would hurt Google's profit margins, the full feature is unlikely to be available in Chrome anytime soon.
9. Safari integrates better with the Apple ecosystem
If you're all-in on the Apple platform, Safari is a better choice. All the little things simply integrate better: Your passwords are managed by Apple's system-wide tool, for example, and synchronized via iCloud. The same goes for your bookmarks. Continuity with iOS also only works with Safari.
If you're using an iPhone or iPad, you can use Handoff to go to a site in Safari on your mobile device, pick up your Mac, and instantly go to the same site.
These may seem like small additions, but they all add up to a powerful experience that makes using your various devices a lot more enjoyable.
You can always try a different browser
While the Chrome and Safari debate encompasses the two heavyweights of the Mac browser battle, there are other options that should be considered as well. If you don't like both browsers, then you can always check out our list of the best alternative browsers for Mac users. Why not try some of the coolest features in Opera and give a lesser-known browser a shot?
8 great Safari browser alternatives for Mac users
Not a fan of Safari on Mac? Here are the best alternative web browsers to use on your iMac, MacBook, or any other Mac device.
About the author
(175 articles published)
Dan writes tutorials and troubleshooting guides to help people get the most out of their technology. Before becoming a writer, he earned a BSc in audio engineering, oversaw repairs at an Apple store, and even taught English in China.
By Dan Helyer
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