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Photo credit: GOOGLE CHROME, SAFARI

Chrome vs Safari: Which is a better browser?

Chrome is the browser of choice for most but could Safari be better for Mac users?

Matthaeus Choo
Matthaeus Choo

Published: 22 November 2021, 12:29 PM

For students and most with a deskbound job, the internet browser is probably what we will see and use most in our everyday lives. Google Chrome has been, far and away, the browser of choice of many — with myself included. 

I’ve been with Chrome for as long as I can remember and a lot of the extensions I use are indispensable for my workflow. It wasn’t until a month or two ago when I ran into issues with Chrome. The browser would occasionally crash on my iPhone and was becoming frustratingly slow on my Mac. 

Recently, Apple released their latest version of macOS and the update came packaged with a new version of the Safari browser. I thought, why not give it a shot? It’s not as if Apple hasn’t already taken over my life. 

 

screenshot-of-a-macbook-screen
IMAGE CREDIT: APPLE

 

Right off the bat, I do want to share that I didn’t notice any significant speed differences between Chrome and Safari. For years, a common criticism of Chrome has been how it uses far more RAM than other browsers, which in turn could hog up computing speeds (although this is debatable). If this is a concern for you, the switch may be worthwhile.

I was surprised to find out that Safari has a few familiar extensions. The selection is not as extensive as Chrome, but the essentials are there, including adblocking and Grammarly. 

As with most things Apple, style and simplicity is a huge focus and Safari is no exception. The interface is minimal and, in my opinion, takes far less focus away from the webpage. Safari has cleaner handling of bookmarks as well. Instead of displaying a whole new tab, bookmarks are tucked away in a sidebar for easy access. 

Likewise with tabs, users can zoom out to get a bird’s-eye-view of all your tabs on a single screen. Whether this helps with productivity will depend on personal preference — especially when this will be the go-to way to navigate between tabs especially when you have dozens opened up. 

 

screenshot-of-a-scafari-tab-overview
IMAGE CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/MATTHAEUS CHOO

 

The main issue I have with Safari’s interface is that it can feel too minimalistic. When you have too many tabs opened up, the bar becomes scrunched up to only show the website’s icons; Chrome does this too but only when there is twice the number of tabs. It makes navigating between apps, especially while doing research across multiple websites, a nightmare. 

Speaking of research, another huge negative is with how Google search results appear when opening them in a new tab. Compared to Chrome, where tabs will pop up next to the active one, it’s guesswork in Safari.

 

screenshot-of-safari-search-engine
You’ll never guess where the new tab appears… PHOTO CREDIT: SCREENSHOT FROM SAFARI

 

screenshot-of-a-safari-search-engine-with-one-tab-circled
Here, for some reason. PHOTO CREDIT: SCREENSHOT FROM SAFARI

 

A few more complaints have to do with the Safari address bar — although this might due to my own habits. You can’t hit the up arrow key to reach the bottom of the suggested results, which is a huge pain when the bottom is where frequently visited sites show up. Likewise, in Chrome, you can search directly within another website by typing in the address and hitting tab — Safari doesn’t have this. 

Let’s say, you want to search for news reported by Youthopia. On Safari, you will have to go to the website, look for the website’s search bar, then search for what you want.  

On Chrome, it’s as simple as:

 

screenshot-of-a-chrome-search-bar
It’s crazy. IMAGE CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/MATTHAEUS CHOO

 

There are, however, a few noticeable upsides to using Safari over Chrome on a Mac. The macOS Monterey introduced Quick Notes to macs, where users can hover to the bottom right corner of the screen to bring up a bite-sized version of the Notes app. 

With Safari, you can highlight any portion of most websites, right-click and choose to add to Quick Notes. The highlighted text will be added together with a link to the page. If you’re an iPhone user, how these sync with your phone app will probably make bookmarking and researching a breeze.

 

screenshot-of-safari-split-screen

 

Also a positive for iPhone users is with how convenient browsing between the two devices is on Safari. While Chrome syncs tabs between the phone and the computer as well, Safari handles it in a neater way, with everything viewable from the new tab screen. 

Overall, despite the recent issues I have faced with Chrome, I will be sticking with the browser and continue to look for ways to resolve them. I have grown too used to all the bells and whistles of Chrome, and Safari’s cleaner interface wasn’t enough to sway me to the other side. 


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