A while back, Microsoft Edge was just the default Windows 10 web browser. After ditching the old EdgeHTML engine in favor of Chromium, it has finally started to gain serious traction. And rather surprisingly, Microsoft Edge is now also available on the Mac. But how does it stack against Apple's own native Safari browser for macOS?
Safari runs like a charm on the Mac with great performance and battery life. But being based on the Chromium engine does give Microsoft Edge an advantage coming into unfamiliar territory. Google Chrome uses the same browser engine, so adopting Chromium guarantees Edge greater web compatibility.
I've used Microsoft Edge alongside Safari ever since its arrival on the Mac. Here's my take on how Microsoft Edge fares against Safari on Mac.
Microsoft Edge doesn't attempt to do anything special compared to Chromium alternatives such as Opera or Vivaldi. But its user interface just works. The default tabs provide a search bar that you can comfortably type into and quick links to sites that you frequently visit. You do get a rather annoying news feed, but it's something that you can quickly turn off.
The browser features a slightly larger-than-average address bar, which makes performing Omnibox searches a breeze. The nifty profile icon also allows you to manage, create, and use multiple profiles conveniently. At the same time, the Edge menu gives instant access to browser settings, extensions, progressive web apps, and other features.
However, Microsoft Edge does feel rather clunky and rough. Animations and transitions feel jarring, and I've often experienced input lag while navigating the user interface. However, those issues aren't that serious to put a dent in your browsing experience. After a while, you won't even notice.
On the other hand, Safari feels smooth and polished to near perfection. But its tiny tab strip and address bar aren't exactly geared toward great user experience. The fact that you have to use the confusing menu bars whenever you want to configure the browser seems rather dated.
It's almost impossible to beat Safari on the Mac in terms of performance. After all, Apple knows its hardware and software the best. But Microsoft Edge doesn't lag behind with its new Chromium engine. In my experience, Microsoft's browser performs almost on par with Safari.
Furthermore, Microsoft Edge technically has better compatibility with
websites, once again, due to Chromium engine integration. So if you have trouble accessing a
site in Safari, you can almost guarantee that it would load up just
fine in Edge.
But what about battery life? Just like any native macOS application, Safari excels in that department.
But Chromium has improved its efficiency over the years
on the Mac. So don't expect any rampant battery draining issues with
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Safari provides native protection against third-party cookies that monitor your browsing activity across websites. You can also ramp things up with content blocking extensions, which help a lot to thwart even more web trackers while improving page load times.
Microsoft Edge also doesn't disappoint when it comes to preserving your privacy. The browser comes with an integrated content blocking module dubbed Tracking Prevention. It offers three different levels of protection (Basic, Balanced, and Strict), which range from blocking tracking cookies, malicious scripts, to personalized advertisements.
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Starting with version 13 of Safari for macOS, Apple completely dropped support for legacy extensions, which was a terrible move (at least in my opinion) despite the concerns over privacy. Hence, the current crop of 'supported extensions' is minimal.
Also, most compatible extensions require a fee to work in the first place. As a power user, I now find Safari a hard sell on the Mac.
The new Microsoft Edge, however, offers an impressive and growing library of extensions. Just head over to the Microsoft Edge Add-ons store. You can find a ton of add-ons that can dramatically boost your productivity, enhance your shopping or social media experience, and more.
While Safari is great at syncing bookmarks and passwords via iCloud to your iPhone and iPad, the browser isn't available outside the Apple ecosystem. Therefore, accessing your data on other platforms is often next to impossible. On Windows, the most you can do is sync your Safari bookmarks to Chrome or Firefox. And yes, better forget Android altogether.
Microsoft Edge for the Mac, on the other hand, is truly cross-platform. You can easily access your browsing data (bookmarks, passwords, extensions, etc.) not just on the iPhone and iPad, but also on Windows and Android. Of course, you must have a Microsoft Account to sync your Edge browsing data, but it's incredibly easy to create one.
Both browsers offer solid privacy-related features, so a switchover depends completely on what else you prefer. If you like a user interface that's easy to use, an extensions library that allows for endless possibilities, or the ability to sync your data across multiple platforms, then Microsoft Edge is worth trying out.
For those of you who don't stray out of the Apple ecosystem much, love the performance and battery life in Safari, or its pure stability and reliability, it's just better to stick to the Mac's native web browser.
Decided to go with Microsoft Edge on your Mac? Check the next link to easily import your browsing data from other browsers to Microsoft Edge on your Mac.
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