In a rather unexpected piece this week, The Wall Street Journal’s personal tech columnist Joanna Stern recommended quitting Google’s Chrome browser. Instead, she said users should turn to Safari or Microsoft’s Edge.
Safari The Best Browser on Mac
I say unexpected because Ms. Stern has previously explained why, like many people – myself included, she liked using Chrome. Her arguments for quitting are though as compelling as the reasons to stay. What is more, Chrome’s “RAM hoovering, battery draining and privacy disregarding make it easy to not look back,” she wrote. Unsurprisingly, the columnist’s latest tests found that using Safari yielded far better performance on a Mac than its Google-created rival:
Safari used about 5% to 10% less RAM than Chrome, Firefox and Edge in my tests. Compared with Chrome, Safari kept the 13-inch MacBook Pro running an extra 1 to 2 hours on a charge. Plus, the laptop was a lot cooler and quieter, with the exception of in-browser video calls.
Obviously, compatibility across Apple devices is excellent if you just use Safari and we know the significance Apple places on security. However, it’s worth noting that iOS 14 will allow users to set alternative default browsers. Ms. Stern recommended that Safari users should have a backup option as there can occasionally be web app compatibility issues. She also noted that Edge works on Apple devices and that Mozilla Firefox “a good option, especially for the privacy-conscious,” but it didn’t perform that well in her battery-life and performance tests.
Making The Move From Chrome
I stopped using Safari and switched to Chrome a few months back. While it added a couple of hoops to jump through when moving between devices, I regularly got messages from Safari warning me that sites I regularly use were “using significant memory” and was fed up of it. Such issues never arose on Chrome. However, in the name of journalism, I’m going to follow the recommendation, go cold turkey, and take Safari as my one and only. I’ll let you know how it goes.