With iOS 14, the Safari browser is doubling down on privacy options and adding more features such as web page translations. Google Chrome is betting on its cross-platform availability and a tight integration among the available platforms.
In this post, we are going to 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 more. Let’s get started.
Note: For the comparison, we are using the iOS 14 Safari browser from the first beta and the latest Google Chrome v83.0 from the App Store. If there are any major changes when the final version releases, we shall update this post, if required.
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Cross-platform availability is essential in browser space. After all, you would want to sync the bookmarks, history, tabs, extensions, and saved passwords among the platforms you plan to use.
As expected, Apple’s offering is limited to Apple devices only. The 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.
User Interface and Tabs Management
Smartphones are launching with taller displays and more apps are following the bottom bar design for ease in reachability. Thankfully, both the apps have adopted the latest trend with all options at the bottom.
Safari has kept it simple here. The browser showcases the recently visited websites upfront. The search bar is at the top while the tab switcher, history, bookmark, and saved pages are at the bottom.
The tab switcher interface looks like a stack of files in a folder. You can easily glance over the opened tabs and quickly jump among them.
Google Chrome’s default homepage displays the Google search bar at the top with the most-used websites below it. I like how Google has added Bookmarks, Reading List, History, Recent Tabs on the home.
You can change add new tabs, navigate to Settings, and switch between tabs from the bottom bar. I prefer Chrome’s multitasking tabs view compared to the Safari browser. It’s a card-based vertical menu, easy to read, and navigate compared to Safari.
Speed and Features
As far as the speed and page-loading time is concerned, you won’t notice any major difference between the two browsers. Both the Safari and Google Chrome browser use the WebKit browser engine to load the webpage. That said, Apple doesn’t allow rival browsers to use their web-rendering engine on iPhone and iPad. So the experience of using Chrome and Safari on the iPhone or iPad would be very close. You'll only notice a difference of half a second at times.
Google Chrome offers a Reading List, which is similar to bookmarks. The company has smartly added other Google services in the browser. For example, you can search the web using Google voice on the keyboard. One can also convert webpages to their native language using Google Translate built-in. These are the features that have low use cases. My favorite Google Chrome add-on is recent tabs.
From the multitasking menu, you can switch to the 'Recent Tabs' 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 it on the Mac. The app offers an excellent clutter-free reading mode. Just tap on the upper left corner in the address bar and select Reader view. It strips away all the unnecessary chatter and presents you with a clean post with relevant content. You can also change the background and play with font style and size.
With iOS 14, Safari also includes Tracking Report, which showcases the details such as known trackers prevented, websites that contacted trackers, and more. It's crucial to protect your privacy from ad trackers.
Safari also offers extension support through the App Store. You can use extensions like ad blocker, translate, what font, etc. to enhance the browsing experience. Google Chrome doesn’t offer any extensions.
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When it comes to Password management, the Safari browser holds an unprecedented advantage over Google Chrome. Let me explain why. When you save login details in the Safari browser, all the data gets synced to the iCloud keychain – Apple’s default password manager. The iCloud Keychain works across all the apps on the iPhone.
Google Chrome also offers its password manager, but it only works with the Chrome browser that is available on other platforms as well. You can’t use the Chrome password manager as a third-party password manager on iOS.
For some reason, Apple has removed Safari widget in iOS 14 developer beta. Maybe, it will arrive before the official release later this year.
As for Google Chrome, the company offers two iOS widgets in the Today View menu. You can use Quick Action widgets, which lets you access the search bar, private mode, voice search, and QR code scanner with a swipe. Another one is the 'Suggested Sites' widget that offers suggestions to articles based on your reading habit.
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Level-Up Your Browsing Experience
Both Safari and Chrome are excellent offerings from Apple and Google, respectively. For folks comfortable with using Safari on iOS, iPadOS, and macOS along with the reading mode, should totally welcoem the new Tracker report feature with the iOS 14 availability. However, if your routine involves Android or Windows, and prefer Chrome’s handling of tabs and multitasking then Google Chrome should be on your download list. I’m sticking with Chrome as the ability to sync tabs among devices is the must-have function for me.
Firefox is another Safari rival on the App Store. Read the post below to find comparison between Safari and Firefox to choose a better offering for you.
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