For years, the Safari browser had the advantage of being the default browser on Apple devices. With the introduction of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, Apple is finally allowing users to change the default browser and email apps on the iPhone and iPad. Now is the perfect time to check out rival deals as Apple is relaxing the limitations of such apps. Among them, Google Chrome is the most popular offer out there. Compare Google’s offering to Apple’s Safari browser to see if the switch is worth considering.
With iOS 14, the Safari browser is doubling down on privacy options and adding more features like web page translations. Google Chrome is betting on its cross availability and tight integration across available platforms.
In this post, we’ll compare the Safari browser to Google Chrome on the iPhone. The comparison will cover the user interface, customization options, features, speed, cross-platform availability, password management and much more. Let’s start.
Note: For comparison, we are using the first beta iOS 14 Safari browser and the latest Google Chrome v83.0 from the App Store. If there are major changes in the final release releases, we will update this post if necessary.
Cross platform availability
Cross platform availability is essential in the browser space. After all, you want to sync your bookmarks, history, tabs, extensions and passwords across the platforms you plan to use.
As expected, Apple’s offering is limited to Apple devices. Safari browser is only available on iOS, iPad OS and macOS. Google Chrome is available everywhere. You can access Google’s offering on iOS, Android, Windows and macOS.
The user interface and tab management
Smartphones are coming out with taller screens and more apps are following the bottom bar design for easier accessibility. Fortunately, both apps have adopted the latest trend with all the options at the bottom.
Safari kept it simple here. The browser displays recently visited websites in advance. The search bar is at the top while the tab switch, history, bookmark and saved pages are at the bottom.
The tab switch interface looks like a stack of files in a folder. You can easily browse open tabs and quickly jump between them.
The default Google Chrome homepage shows the Google search bar at the top with the most used websites under it. I like how Google added Bookmarks, Reading List, History, Recent Tables to Home.
You can change, add new tabs, navigate Settings, and switch between tabs on the bottom bar. I prefer Chrome’s multi-tasking tab view compared to Safari browser. It’s a letter-based vertical menu, easy to read and navigate compared to Safari.
Speed and Features
When it comes to speed and page load time, you won’t notice any big difference between the two browsers. Both the Safari browser and Google Chrome use the WebKit browser engine to load the web page. That said, Apple doesn’t allow rival browsers to use its web rendering engine on iPhone and iPad. Therefore, the experience of using Chrome and Safari on iPhone or iPad would be very close. You will only notice a difference of half a second at a time.
Google Chrome offers a Reading List, which is similar to bookmarks. The company has cleverly added other Google services to the browser. For example, you can search the web using the Google voice on your keyboard. You can also convert web pages to your native language using built-in Google Translate. These are the resources that have low use cases. My favorite Google Chrome plugin are recent tabs.
From the multitasking menu you can switch to the ‘Recent Tables’ list and here you will see all the previous tabs on different devices with date and time. It makes life easy for someone to juggle between devices.
Safari offers tight integration between iPhone and Mac. You can open a website on iPhone and continue reading on Mac. The app offers a great clue-free reading mode. Just tap the top left corner of the address bar and select Reader View. Bare all unnecessary conversation and present you with a clean post with relevant content. You can also change the background and play around with the font style and size.
With iOS 14, Safari also includes the Tracking Report, which shows details such as known trackers that were blocked, websites that contacted the trackers, and more. Protecting your privacy from ad trackers is crucial.
Safari also offers extension support through the App Store. You can use extensions like ad blocker, translate, what font, etc. to improve the browsing experience. Google Chrome does not offer any extensions.
When it comes to password management, the Safari browser has an unprecedented advantage over Google Chrome. Let me explain why. When saving login details in Safari browser, all data is synced with iCloud-keychain-Apple’s default password manager. iCloud Keychain works with all iPhone apps.
Google Chrome also offers its password manager, but it only works with the Chrome browser which is also available on other platforms. You cannot use Chrome password manager as a third-party password manager on iOS.
For some reason, Apple removed the Safari widget in the iOS 14 developer beta. Perhaps it will arrive before the official release later this year.
As for Google Chrome, the company offers two iOS widgets in today’s Vision menu. You can use Quick Action widgets, which allows you to access the search bar, private mode, voice search and QR code scanner with a swipe. Another is the ‘Suggested Sites’ widget which offers suggestions for articles based on your reading habits.
Level-Up Your Browsing Experience
Both Safari and Chrome are great offerings from Apple and Google respectively. For people comfortable using Safari on iOS, iPadOS and macOS along with reading mode, you should fully unleash the new Tracker reporting feature with the availability of iOS 14. However, if your routine involves Android or Windows, and prefer Chrome’s tab handling and multitasking, then Google Chrome should be on your download list. I’m sticking with Chrome as the ability to sync tabs across devices is the must-have function for me.