My relationship with Safari is still the same. As an avid Chrome user for my work, which requires me to be pretty nimble with the 10+ tabs I usually have open, I always try Apple’s browser whenever there’s a new Mac operating system update. was no exception.
So far, successive versions of Safari have always given me the same reaction: yes, I’ve seen better performance and better browser integration, but the extra Chrome features that weren’t showing up in Safari have ended by getting me back to the Google browser. But this time, Safari remained my default browser on Mac.
This is something that I have always tried to achieve for various reasons. Among them, I use Safari on my iPhone and iPad, so using it on my Mac allows me to have a unique history synced everywhere thanks to iCloud. Also for a privacy issue: I don’t like to use a Google-owned browser with all that it entails for my privacy.
However, the benefits of Chrome have always hooked me. Its extensions, highly maintained by a large community of developers. The behavior of its tabs, very suitable for those who work professionally with web pages and have to open and close several of them continuously. Its search shortcuts with abbreviations, something I’ve always wanted to export to Safari with no luck.
Performance, Performance, and Performance: Instant Safari Loading in Apple Silicon Environments
So what made me switch to Safari this time around? Speed and efficiency, which was catapulted thanks to the M1 chip replacing the Core i7 it used before. Both with the pages that I open regularly and with those that I open for the first time, the loading of the web pages is almost instantaneous.
Another reason lies in the move from Intel to Apple Silicon: as long as it lasts, all universal applications contain both Intel’s code and that of Apple’s own chips: Google Chrome occupies 874 MB, Firefox 369 MB , and alternatives like Brave 501MB. Meanwhile, the Safari executable takes up less than 16MB.
This size does not influence loading times too much, let’s say it all. But Safari manages to load instantly while Firefox, Chrome and Brave take tenths of a second. First world problem, of course, but in the long run, it ends up being noticed. Also, now that we have Mac models with ProMotion displays, Safari’s support for the 120Hz variable is better.
Not that I can say that Safari is the perfect browser: its management of tabs still leaves something to be desired (pinned tabs do not load when opening the app for example), there are no customizable searches, the catalog of extensions is very mediocre compared to Chrome… but its speed has become so great that it has become a strong argument on its own. And I personally use a Mac mini, but those of you who have a MacBook Air or one of the MacBook Pros with the M1 Pro or M1 Max chip will surely notice the battery drain benefit. Also, some shortcomings of Safari can be solved with extensions. No search shortcuts? Keyword research takes care of that.
Time will tell if this move is permanently permanent or not, but right now I don’t feel like reverting the changes. Safari’s evolution is slow (relevant news once a year), but I’m getting used to the way it works and maybe over time I won’t want to hear about alternatives.