Safari vs Google Chrome: Which Browser Is Better on Mac

Safari vs Google Chrome: Which Browser Is Better on Mac

Safari and Google Chrome compete closely for the top spot on Macs. While Safari is integrated with macOS, Chrome enjoys significant market share across all platforms. Apple upped the ante with the new Safari update in terms of looks and performance with the new macOS Big Sur update. To catch up, Google also recently pushed a massive performance upgrade to Chrome, one of the biggest in years.

This makes us relive the classic dilemma of choosing a browser for Mac: Chrome or Safari? So we decided to compare the two in this post. We will compare both browsers based on their interface, functionality, themes, news integration, extensions, password management, and more. Let's start with cross-platform availability.

Cross-platform availability

As with any Apple software, the Safari browser is only available on iOS, iPadOS and macOS. While in the case of Chrome, you can access the browser anywhere. It is available on iOS, Android, macOS, iPadOS, Windows, and Chrome OS.

  • Download Google Chrome for Mac

User Interface

Safari received a much-needed design makeover with the macOS Big Sur update. For starters, you can easily change the wallpaper on the Safari home page. You can select a custom wallpaper from your Mac.

As for personalization, you can choose to keep favorites, privacy reports, Siri suggestions, a reading list, and more on the home page. The tabs also had a nice visual touch. When you hover your cursor over a tab, it will show the live preview of the webpage.

Extensions (more on that later), history, reading list, and sharing menu are located at the top. You can make the most of these features by mastering keyboard shortcuts to quickly access and navigate options. If you love the dark theme, it also supports the system-wide dark theme introduced with macOS Mojave.

Google Chrome continues to adhere to the guidelines for designing the material interface. You will notice rounded corners and lots of whites everywhere. That said, you can change the default theme by choosing a new one from the Chrome Theme Store and browsing hundreds of ready-to-use themes available.

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It's understandable if you require your favorite browser to offer different functions than just loading pages faster. Safari offers a clean-looking reading mode that eliminates unnecessary elements from a web page such as ads, social integration, and comments.

You can customize it by changing the font style, size and background color of the reading mode.

Safari enjoys seamless integration between iOS and macOS. Tap the tab selector and the browser shows the open tab on your iPhone. Likewise, while browsing on iOS, the transfer function will allow you to bring forward the same webpage on macOS.

You can also use the default Spotlight search (Command + Space shortcut) and start typing the webpage name, and it will show suggestions from Safari history. I often use it to visit a web page without opening the browser. The feature is not available for third party browsers.

Google Chrome also offers a sync feature, but it's hidden in the Options menu. Go to History> Synced Tabs, and that's where you'll see the Chrome tabs open on iPhone or Android. Yes, it also works with Android.

Unfortunately, Google Chrome doesn't offer any native reading modes. My favorite feature of Google Chrome is group tabs. You can create multiple groups based on a specific topic and arrange tabs. It really comes in handy when researching multiple websites at the same time with dozens of tabs open.

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In terms of extension support, Safari lags behind Chrome. The list of extensions is limited, but it gets basic extensions to make things work. That said, you will have a hard time looking for an extension for every need. Go to Safari> Safari Extensions and install them from the list.

You can manage them by going to Preferences> Extensions and integrate them into your browser experience.

Google Chrome offers a rich collection neatly divided into several sections. There is an extension for each use scenario.

Web compatibility

Google Chrome uses the Chromium web engine to load web pages. It is a universal standard used by most browsers such as Microsoft Edge, Brave and Opera. You will have no problem loading and browsing web pages.

Safari uses the Webkit engine for rendering and loading web pages. The experience was mostly seamless across both browsers. That said, I faced some hurdles with a couple of websites where the provider asked me to switch to the Chrome browser.

Password management

Flawless password management is a key aspect and also a necessity for a reliable browser experience. Safari stores all credentials in iCloud Keychain by default. The next time you try to sign in to an account, use your login information from iCloud Keychain or tap Touch ID to auto-fill in the details.

Chrome offers Chrome password management to save and store every login detail. It's not a full password manager but it has enough features to get the job done. As a bonus, the service is also available on Chrome Android and iOS.


Safari offers detailed privacy reports that suggest which trackers the browser has blocked from the websites you visit. You will be surprised to check how many trackers the browser blocked in the report at the end of the day.

Convenience VS. Functionality

Those were some key differences between the new Safari and Google Chrome on Mac. The macOS Big Sur update places Apple's Safari browser right there with market leaders like Google Chrome and Firefox. In some areas like personalization and privacy, it even beats Google Chrome. Google reacts with cross-platform availability, rich extension support, and flawless performance. At the end of the day you have to answer the call between wider platform availability or sheer convenience.

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