4 Reasons I’ll Be Switching to Safari 6 on OS X Mountain Lion

James Bruce 08-08-2012

switching to safariUntil now I’ve put Safari firmly in the same box of horrible things as Internet Explorer – a sluggish, default browser that’s only purpose in life is to download other shinier and faster browsers. Safari 6 – which comes with Mountain Lion – may have just changed all that.


Here’s 4 reasons I’ll be switching my primary browser to Safari, and ditching Chrome.

Fast… Faster Even Than Chrome

A bold statement, but it certainly feels like it. Webkit 2 – the underlying rendering framework of Safari, has been around since version 5.1, while Chrome is still built upon the older version. Perhaps it’s because Apple knows how best to take advantage of the OS. Perhaps it’s because I’ve yet to install a mountain of plugins. The difference is noticeable though, and it’s enough to make a difference for users like myself who open a few hundred sites over the course of a single day.

Speed tests conducted by Tekna designs seem to suggest that Chrome is technically still outperforming Safari by a small amount,but on my system the same benchmarks showed Safari to be significantly faster.

switching to safari

Tab Access From Other Devices

Tab syncing is all the rage nowadays, but can be clunky for power users. Rather than attempt to sync all your open tabs between devices – which would have resulted in either tabs being lost with sync mismatches, or far too many tabs being opened at once – Safari takes the approach of simply showing you which tabs open elsewhere on other devices, and giving you the choice of opening them.


Just click the iCloud button (assuming you’ve got iCloud set up on all your devices), and you’ll see a list of tabs open, everywhere. It’s an elegant and practical solution.

switch to safari

It works really well in practice – if I sit here thinking – I had this awesome tab open on my iPad (I’m running the developer preview of iOS6 – for now, you’ll only be able to use this if you have more than one Mac running Mountain Lion), but it’s all the way downstairs – I can simply open the tab browser, find it, and open it while I’m at the desktop. An elegant, simple solution that solves the problem without complicating things.

Slick Gesture-Based Open Tab Overview Screen

Hello, my name is James, and I’m a tab abuser. I have at least 20 tabs open at all times, per window; and often two or three windows. Tabs become pretty useless at this level, where all you can see is the favicon or worse still – just the first letter of the site and no icon at all.


switch to safari

The new tab preview screen in Safari may be just what I need. With one simple pinch gesture, the current web page zooms out, and you can quickly flick through all the open tabs – another click to zoom back into one. Most importantly, it’s fast. You don’t need to wait for a mini preview of each site to load, nothing else needs to be rendered.

switch to safari

Reading List, Synced

This has actually been in Safari for a while now too, but since I haven’t touched it before now, it’s certainly a nice feature to have. Essentially, its the same as Read it Later Pocket - The Ultimate Digital Bookmarking Service As Bakari previously reported, the well loved Read It Later - which enabled users to save articles to read later from a bookmarklet or various apps it was integrated with - was discontinued and replaced... Read More , whereby you can add an article to your reading list, and it’ll be be saved in a queue of unread pages. Your reading list persists across different devices and is baked into the browser – you needn’t bother with additional accounts or plugins.


Not only that, but it works offline – saving a copy of the entire page – so as long your iPad is synced up, you can read the page (as is, with all images and page layout) without an Internet connection. Classy.

switching to safari


This update brings Safari to the big boy’s table, and puts it right up there alongside Chrome and Firefox. For users in a Mac/iOS based environment, there are now some serious advantages to using Apple’s own browser offering over the competition. Unfortunately, it appears Apple is dropping Safari for Windows – download links for the previous version have now been removed as well as any references to Windows versions on the Safari overview page. So for now, if you’re working with a Windows machine anywhere, you’re probably best sticking with Chrome.

If you’ve been using the new Safari, what do you think? Are you finding it nice and speedy? Are you loving the new features?


Related topics: OS X Mountain Lion, Safari Browser.

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  1. Michael
    January 2, 2013 at 8:22 am

    As for Apple discontinuing Safari for Windows: of course. Now that Windows has a good Webkit-based browser (Chrome), what's the point of keeping Safari around? Not many used it anyway.

  2. Michael
    January 2, 2013 at 8:18 am

    I find it extremely fast, and I'm still on Lion. I don't understand why everyone has always hated on Safari. I won't use anything but Safari for browsing. I use Chrome for development. Just the "Find..." command alone in Safari is worth it (you know, when you search for an item on the page, and the rest of the page dims while your query terms are highlighted). Then there's Reading List, Top Sites, and full-text search of your History. Can't beat that. But most frequently it's about the text rendering, since I'm focused on site content more than my browser (as it should be). Safari has the best text rendering IMO. Apple knows their own APIs inside and out, so they know best how to interface with the OS to get the best rendering quality and performance.

  3. SimplyKlickPhotography
    September 4, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Hello,well I have the problem that Safari on Mountain Lion not even opens most of the times. I have to restart my Mac every time.
    Download it Chrome,does not work at all. Not sure what the problem is. But is really annoying, especially when I need to work. I google it, and it seems the problem is known. Well good, but what Browser can I use that works? Anyone knows this problem,or can help? Thank you,very much appreciated!

  4. larry olson
    August 29, 2012 at 8:01 am

    Love my new Safari, with Mt Lion, but have one issue.

    When I'm in a page (forum) and there's a link that I click on, I get the link, but the original page page disappears! How can I prevent this. Worked fine in the Safari 5.

    • James Bruce
      August 29, 2012 at 8:03 am

      Hold down CMD should open it in a new tab, I think.

      • Larry olson
        August 29, 2012 at 1:26 pm


        CMD / N does get a new window, no tabs, but that was same as before.

        However, clicking on a link (just like I did for this message) the original page disappears... PITA. Do you know how to correct that so I don't loose the original?

        • muotechguy
          August 29, 2012 at 1:31 pm

          Not CMD-N, just hold CMD while clicking on the link. Does that work for you?

  5. Kingston Kennedy
    August 21, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    So you don't find it necessary to clear the cache (without deleting your whole history and user info)? I've been using chrome for the sole reason that safari won't let me clear the cache anymore. Bummer.

    • muotechguy
      August 21, 2012 at 8:24 pm

      Hmm, I guess I just don't clear the cache. Can't think why I'd need to....

    • muotechguy
      August 21, 2012 at 8:25 pm

      But, I see options for what to clear from Safari->Reset Safari. You can turn off everything and only delete website data it seems.

    • Atlanta Yankee
      August 30, 2012 at 6:21 pm

      Yes you can. Turn on the "Developer Menu" from the Advanced tab in Safari Settings. Once that's turned on, "Empty Caches" is a menu item under Developer Menu.

  6. Steven
    August 19, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    Safari still overwrites all existing open tabs when you choose the "Open in Tabs" feature from a bookmark folder. Who thought this was a good idea? It's idiotic.

    "Pin tab" is a useful (not essential) feature that reduced a tab to just an icon (like an app I guess!) on the tabs row and keeps them there. It's useful for tabs you always keep open (Gmail, project manager etc).

    I've always felt their bookmarking manager is clunky too. I prefer Firefox's take on that.

    Safari 6 feels really quick so I'm giving it a test drive!

  7. Moulin
    August 18, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    I'm sticking with safari since my first mac but I'm quiet annoyed with it on Lion. It's slow, unstable and needs to refresh sites all the time. Even with frequent cache cleaning.
    Looking foreward to improvements on Mountain!!!

  8. Kofi Agyeman
    August 16, 2012 at 8:35 am

    finally, safari beats chrOme, but will be a while befOre i make the switch....

  9. Paolo Maffezzoli
    August 15, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    A nice feature is the sync between different devices. My only concern is about the missing development in Windows.

  10. Kevin Klingmeyer
    August 12, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    Ya know, that actually makes me want to at least give Safari 6 a try. But I'm on a non-unibody Macbook white—so no Mountain Lion for me—and with a very casual search I don't see a way to upgrade from Safari 5.1.7 without upgrading everything.

    • muotechguy
      August 13, 2012 at 7:33 am

      Yeah, unfortunately thats way past the cut off now, I think.

  11. Stephanie Guertin
    August 10, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Once I get iOS 6. I want that sync ability - Chrome has it now (and it's the only thing I use Chrome for). Of course, I still am going to need it to sync to Chrome on iOS....

  12. Victor Cesto
    August 9, 2012 at 8:33 pm

    I preffer Safari than Chome.

  13. Brian
    August 9, 2012 at 2:58 pm

    I've done this benchmark test several times in the last 24 hours and have had widely different results. I got 1800+ a couple times with Chrome and Safari. 1700 with Firefox, but then last night I only got 7-800 on two tries with Chrome. Any reason why this would swing so much?

    • James Bruce
      August 9, 2012 at 3:02 pm

      Hmm. Other tabs? Other apps open? Full moon?

      Seriously though, thats why I dont put too much faith in tests like that.

  14. David
    August 9, 2012 at 10:11 am

    Very interesting. I've been a Safari user since before I switched to Mac. These new features are great and definitely an advantage.
    To be honest though the winner for me is simple, appearance. I think the UI is a lot slicker and more minimal. Everything is thinner and this take up less of my 11" screen and is less distracting and just looks better.
    The other winner is Reader. I use the internet for reading more than anything and Reader is invaluable (although I edited code to make mine full screen). Chrome's plugin solution through Readability isn't the same.

  15. Kieran Colfer
    August 9, 2012 at 5:52 am

    What i want is a browser I can synch my tabs, bookmarks etc between my PC (not mac) and my iphone. Chrome does that at the mo - this new safari sounds nice but if you can't get it for windows, I'm not interested. Killing safari for windows seems like a bit of a dumb idea on apple's part.

    • muotechguy
      August 9, 2012 at 7:31 am

      It's not dumb from a business sense; they don't make money providing you with a free browser. they do make money by selling you devices, and Mac computers. It is horrible though, and from a user perspective likley to alienate a lot of people.

      • Brian
        August 9, 2012 at 3:00 pm

        I know Apple doesn't make money by making Safari for PC directly, but I would think they'd want that name out there for as many people to see as possible. Sort of like advertising.

        • James Bruce
          August 9, 2012 at 3:03 pm

          I can see that. I wonder if they'll kill iTunes next... (insert ominous background FX)

  16. Guillermo Aguilar
    August 9, 2012 at 4:01 am

    I've tried Chrome twice on my MacBook Pro (w/Mountain Lion) and whenever I dare to use Chrome, my Mac freezes. Will never use Chrome again, I use Firefox and Safari

  17. Rimitre Lato
    August 9, 2012 at 4:00 am

    Chrome is better

    • muotechguy
      August 9, 2012 at 7:31 am

      Love your empirical reasoning there.

  18. Fraser Smith
    August 9, 2012 at 1:39 am

    Chrome allows me to pin tabs.
    Firefox allows me to pin tabs.
    Opera allows me to pin tabs.

    Safari doesn't allow me to pin tabs and that's a deal breaker for me.

    • muotechguy
      August 9, 2012 at 7:30 am

      Hmm, I'm not sure what tab pinning is, to be honest. You mean if I have 20 tabs open, I can one in a particular place? Or keep it on screen, like a split view?

      • Dhruv Sangvikar
        August 9, 2012 at 11:32 am

        with all due respect.. come on man! you are reviewing and writing and comparing about browsers and you claim you don't know what tab pinning is? u kidding me? :P

        • James Bruce
          August 9, 2012 at 2:11 pm

          Well, with all due respect back at you, this isn't an in-depth comparison of different browsers - I gave reasons why I'll be switching to Safari. I don't use "tab pinning", so I haven't mentioned it.

          But for the record: Safari does not support tab pinning.

        • Richard Borkovec
          August 9, 2012 at 2:53 pm

          Tab pinning is where you right-click and select "Pin as App Tab" (at least in Firefox). It shrinks the tab to just the favicon, but it starts up automatically when you start the browser. Just makes them a bit more convenient.

        • Brian
          August 9, 2012 at 6:35 pm

          Just being a writer about a specific topic doesn't mean one should know every single intricacy of it. Give the guy a f'n break.

        • Padma Azizi
          August 15, 2012 at 3:13 am

          Yeah, but he could Google it....

        • Anonymous
          January 14, 2013 at 10:38 am

          Just for the record, tab pinning with Treestyle tabs is rather lame. Once you pin a tab, all links opened as new tabs from that pinned tab open at the bottom of the tab stack, rather than nested. Sorry, but that's not what I want. With the ability to restore sessions in browsers, pinning tabs isn't such a big deal, IMO. I turned off all my pinned tabs in FF. In Safari, I just have my mail and reader tabs first in the window. They are always there. plus, if I wanted, I could use TabLock to lock them so I couldn't accidentally delete them. It's no big deal, and while I can imagine that someone would think to themselves this to be a big deal, it really in practice, it really can't matter much. It's just a personal preference. :-)

  19. Brian
    August 8, 2012 at 10:17 pm

    Good article. I'm a Chrome lover, but I'm open to something faster. I ran the benchmarks on my 2009 MBP and Chrome did better, but there's a deal breaker: Apple is killing Safari on Windows???? I think it's common for Mac users to have to use a PC at work since most companies use them and have a Mac at home. If I can't sync tabs, and especially add-ons, I can't be bothered.

    • muotechguy
      August 9, 2012 at 7:29 am

      Yeh, I can see the logic from Apple's side, but it does seem like a bit of an asshole move to Windows users. I guess they're trying to force you into Mac now.

      • Richard Borkovec
        August 9, 2012 at 2:55 pm

        I never used Safari on Windows, being Chrome and Firefox were faster (Apple never really did optimize it for Windows to being with), but the fact they left over 120 massive bugs open in Safari 5 and didn't give a final "fix" release is really messed up. At least put a notice in the Windows version that it's no longer supported.

  20. Thurro
    August 8, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    Tempting, but can I use favicons on the bookmark bar yet, or do I still need to name them all?

    • muotechguy
      August 9, 2012 at 7:28 am

      Well, now that is odd. Even weirder is that on mine, the favicon loads in the address bar first, then disappears. How completely random.