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 not true anymore. Safari beats Chrome because it’s more energy-efficient, better at protecting your privacy, and obviously, works with the Mac environment better. Here’s why you should avoid using Google Chrome on Mac.
1. Chrome Drains Your MacBook Battery
MacBook battery life has been a huge feature for Apple in recent releases of macOS. Mavericks brought energy impact measuring tools to the operating system, which you can find by clicking the battery icon in your menu bar.
If you’ve got Chrome running, Chrome will often show up here. Because of this, if battery life is important to you, avoid using Chrome on your MacBook.
Google is reportedly working on the issue, and has made progress, but the job is far from finished. And you don’t have to take my word for it: open up the Activity Monitor on your Mac, then head to the 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.
2. 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.
Most Mac apps close instantly when you hit Cmd + Q; Chrome, by default, makes you hold the combo for a while (though you can turn that feature off). 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 macOS features. 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. Safari also has a feature that will turn supporting websites dark, whereas you have to install a Chrome extension for this.
The old notification system was also a mess. Chrome used its own notification setup that didn’t integrate with the Notification Center. 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 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.
3. Chrome Extensions Come With a Price
It’s true that in the head-to-head showdown of Chrome vs. Safari, Chrome is the clear winner when it comes to extensions. Even so, a big extension library comes with a price.
One of the main reasons Chrome uses so much of your CPU and drains so much of your battery life is due to installed extensions. Extensions can also introduce privacy problems, as many of them need extensive access to your browsing. As great as extensions often are, their strain on your system can be a high price.
If there are a few you can’t live without, don’t forget that Safari has plenty of great extensions too.
4. 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
Apple’s business model is based on selling you, the user, its hardware. Its 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 introduced a whole suite of privacy protection measures in macOS Mojave. Intelligent Tracking Prevention 2 (ITP 2) is an update to a 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.
6. No Chrome Support Below Yosemite
Chrome’s system requirements cut off any Mac that’s below macOS Yosemite. Sure, you can update your Mac free of charge, but many people don’t want to for a variety of reasons. This includes people on older computers that don’t support the latest version of macOS.
7. Safari Is Actually Really Good
For a long time, the collective response to the above points was “Sure, but nothing is better”. However, recent versions of Safari are faster, sleeker, and better 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.
8. 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.
9. Safari Integrates Better With the Apple Ecosystem
If you’re all-in with the Apple platform, Safari is 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. Continuity with iOS only works with Safari.
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 Always Try Another Browser
Though the Chrome vs. Safari debate includes the two heavyweights of the Mac browser battle, there are other options. If you dislike both browsers, you can always look to our list of best alternative browsers for Mac users. Why not check out some of Opera’s coolest features and give a lesser-known browser a chance?