9 Reasons You Shouldn’t Use Chrome
Google Chrome’s overwhelming popularity on macOS is quite a feat for a non-default browser, but it makes sense. In its early days, Chrome had a reputation for being lightweight and fast. It was better than Safari and Firefox, people said. It may have been true then, but it’s not true anymore.
In fact, Safari beats Chrome on the Mac because it’s more energy-efficient, better at protecting your privacy, and it seamlessly works with the Apple ecosystem. Here are all the reasons why you should avoid using Google Chrome on your Mac.
9. Chrome Drains More Power Than Safari
On a MacBook, you can click the battery icon in the menu bar to see which apps are using a significant amount of energy. If you’ve got Chrome running, it will often show up here. Chrome is notorious for hogging RAM and draining the battery on laptops. This problem is especially prominent when comparing Chrome to Safari, which is optimized for working efficiently on the Mac hardware.
Google has been working on this issue, and has made some significant progress—in some of our tests Chrome did perform better than Safari—but more often than not you’ll get better Mac performance using Safari.
And you don’t have to take our word for it: open up the Activity Monitor on your Mac, then head to the CPU, Memory, or Energy section. Open some tabs in Chrome and the same ones in another browser—Chrome will almost always use more energy for the same job.
8. Chrome Works in Its Own Way
Unlike Safari, many of Chrome’s features have their roots in ChromeOS, as opposed to macOS. This leads to a less than ideal experience on a Mac because it means Chrome works differently to other macOS apps.
For example, most Mac apps close instantly when you hit Cmd + Q; Chrome, by default, makes you hold the combo down for a few seconds before it quits (though you can turn that feature off). Similarly, most Mac apps have their own preferences window; Chrome uses a website in a tab for that.
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 out of the gate. But Chrome didn’t respect this feature until March 2019—half a year later.
The old notification system was also a mess. Chrome used its own notification setup, that didn’t integrate with the Notification Center on a Mac. Thankfully this is no longer the case, but it was a huge pain for far too long.
Obviously, it’s less than ideal to force a user to learn an entirely separate workflow and user interface when they’re used to one already. Safari uses the same buttons and symbols as the rest of macOS, which leads to a more seamless experience.
7. Chrome Extensions Come With a Price
It’s true that in the head-to-head showdown of Chrome versus Safari, Chrome is the clear winner when it comes to extensions. Even so, such a big extension library comes with a price.
Extensions can introduce privacy problems, as many of them need extensive access to your browsing. Although there aren’t as many extensions to choose from with Safari, you can rest assured that what is available has undergone a closer inspection than what you’ll find for Google Chrome.
And Safari has plenty of great extensions anyway. Sure, there aren’t as many as you get with Google Chrome, but what’s available covers all the main functions you’d need.
6. Google Is Watching You
While Google and Apple’s interests might seem like they overlap, the companies are structured quite differently. Google’s revenue is primarily ad-based, which means that as the user, you aren’t really the customer—you’re the product. Google only makes money if it can somehow acquire information about you to sell.
While you can tweak Chrome to protect your privacy to some degree, you’ll never be completely safe with a company whose business model is built on obtaining your data.
If that sounds Orwellian to you, Chrome on Mac probably isn’t for you.
5. Apple Watches You Less
In contrast to Google, Apple’s business model is based on selling its hardware to you. Apple’s software is usually free, and is only valuable as much as it makes Apple hardware more attractive to the customer. The company has a more direct incentive to provide you with a browser that works well with other Apple products.
As a sign of this good faith, Apple regularly introduces new privacy protection measures to Safari. Intelligent Tracking Prevention 2 (ITP 2) was an update to a Safari feature introduced in High Sierra that attempts to combat cross-site tracking, making it harder for websites to follow you on the web. It also attempts to scrub fingerprinting, which makes it harder for websites to identify you in the future.
You can also view a Privacy Report from the Safari toolbar that shows you which apps have attempted to track you the most and what trackers they’re trying to use. And with an iCloud+ subscription, you can benefit from Apple’s Private Relay VPN, but only when you’re using Safari.
4. There’s No Chrome Support Below El Capitan
Chrome’s system requirements cut off any Mac that’s running macOS El Capitan or older. Sure, you can update your Mac free of charge, but many people don’t want to or can’t update for a variety of reasons. This includes people on older computers that don’t support the latest version of macOS.
Safari, on the other hand, is available for any version of macOS because it’s built in to the operating system. Sure, you might not get all the latest features, but Apple keeps offering security updates for several years, and you’ll still have all the basic functionality of a browser no matter how old your operating system or computer is.
3. Safari Is Actually Really Good
For a long time, the collective response to the above points was “Sure, but no browser is better than Chrome.” However, recent versions of Safari are faster and sleeker than Chrome.
Seriously, if you haven’t tried this browser out for a while, you don’t know what you’re missing. Even the extension ecosystem has come a long way; the most common tools are already waiting for you. It’ll be an adjustment, but you’ll never look back. Try some essential Safari tips and tricks to get acquainted again.
Safari regularly outperforms Chrome in Jetstream browser speed tests and it now offers a lot of features that used to be reserved for Chrome users: website translation, tab groups, and weather updates directly from the search bar.
2. Safari’s Reader 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 the bad formatting, strange fonts, and ad splash pages to deliver what you came for: pure, streamlined text. Images, videos, and links are included, all in an easy-to-read format. You can adjust the font size, the background color, and even download articles to read offline.
Google offers a similar experimental feature, but seeing as cutting out the ads would cut into Google’s profit margins, it’s unlikely we’ll see the full feature coming to Chrome anytime soon.
1. Safari Integrates Better With the Apple Ecosystem
If you’re all-in on the Apple platform, Safari is easily the better choice. All the little aspects just integrate better: your passwords, for example, are managed by Apple’s system-wide tool and synced using iCloud. The same goes for your bookmarks.
If you use an iPhone or iPad, Handoff allows you to go to a site on Safari on your mobile device, pick up your Mac, and go immediately to the same site. You can also use Face ID or Touch ID on your iPhone to authorize Apple Pay purchases, or autofill one-time passcodes that are text to your iPhone when logging in to different sites.
These may seem like minor additions, but they add up to a powerful experience that makes it far more enjoyable to use your various devices.
You Can Always Try Another Browser
Though the Chrome versus Safari debate includes the two heavyweights of the Mac browser battle, there are other options to consider as well. If you dislike both browsers, you can always look at our list of the best alternative browsers for Mac users. Why not check out some of Opera’s coolest features and give a lesser-known browser a chance?