As the default browser on Apple computers, Safari has long been its gateway to the Internet. On its own, Safari offers a compelling use case thanks to its deep integration into the Mac ecosystem. However, Safari isn’t without its faults and lacks the deep features of its browser competitors. It certainly offers privacy protection that Apple touts at every opportunity, but it’s far from the only browser to make bold privacy claims. Let’s take a look at some of the best Safari alternatives for your Mac.
One of the best known of the “mid-tier” Internet browsers, Opera has been in the browser game since 1996 and Windows 95. With a solid balance of speed and power, a number of built-in features help make Opera a standout choice. By including a free VPN, Opera effortlessly helps shield your browsing habits and blocks against cryptocurrency mining. Similarly, Opera includes built-in ad-blocking to remove ads that can slow down page load times. This ensures that Opera remains fast without having to worry about adding an excess number of extensions.
Opera also shines on the Mac with its built-in Messenger programs. Messaging services like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Telegram are all integrated into a sidebar on the left side of the Opera window. Like Safari, Opera also offers a beautiful mobile app on both Android and iOS that can easily sync bookmarks, open tabs and more. Using Opera on Mac means adding all of Safari’s best features plus a whole host of features you never knew you needed. It’s a win-win for any Mac user.
Most Mac users have never heard of the Vivaldi browser and that’s fine. It’s relatively new on the browser scene but has quickly made a name for itself. It immediately differentiates itself from Safari by offering unparalleled customization options. When you download Safari, you get one look and one look only. On the other hand, Vivaldi allows you a near-endless amount of customization. Want to move your browser tabs to the left side of the window instead of the more traditional taskbar approach? That’s just a mouse click away.
With Safari, you cannot differentiate between tabs that are for work or personal us. Vivaldi adds a feature set called “Tab Stacks” that does exactly what it sounds like. Tabs can be stacked onto one another and grouped into a single tab. That’s an incredibly easy way to keep personal use and work separate, and all it takes is a few seconds.
Vivaldi’s “Web Panel” is another unique feature set. Opening on the left side of the browser, it’s an easy way to see compact versions of a single web page for fast multitasking. Want to watch Twitter or Facebook as you browse? This is the perfect way to do it. Vivaldi’s incredible level of customization makes it a must-download for Mac power users.
In the world of Internet browsing, Brave remains something of an anomaly. Launched by one of the original Firefox creators, Brave stormed out of the gate promising something no other browser has previously done. Unlike Safari, Brave adds all of today’s browser essentials like built-in ad-blocking.
Where Brave really differentiates itself is that it will pay you to look at ads. This is something Safari users can only dream about. In lieu of ads on web pages, Brave instead shows you random ads and pays you to look at them. You can then use those earnings to“cash-out” or send the money to your favorite sites or creators as a thank you. It’s an unusual idea and one that has earned Brave plenty of attention.
As for its browser performance, Brave is fast – really fast. Safari has really matured over the years and no longer sits on the sidelines during speed tests. Thanks to its best-in-class ad-blocking, Brave is faster at page loading times while offering just-as-good RAM management. Where Safari bests Brave is its mobile experience for Mac users. Without the ability to sync bookmarks or open tabs, Brave still has a way to go on this front. That said, Brave really makes up for it with a browser experience on the Mac that really puts the user first.
4. Microsoft Edge
One year ago it would have been unthinkable to see a Microsoft-built browser as a popular recommendation for Safari alternatives. It’s a new day and Microsoft Edge is an entirely new browser backed by the strength of the Microsoft name. Built on the same platform as Chrome, Edge works off the same rendering engine with terrific results. Where Microsoft diverges from Google is that it added strong privacy tools right from the get-go. This approach closely matches the experience Apple provides with Safari, meaning Edge users don’t give up personal security while browsing online.
Outside of its privacy focus, Edge excels with a native look on Mac, so it feels right at home during browsing sessions. Any MacBook Pro users with Touch Bar will discover native video controls and easy access to tabs. Given that few browsers have prioritized TouchBar support, Edge’s focus on the user experience helps make it an easy transition out of Safari.
The same can be said for its Immersive Reader which filters out any clutter on a page so you can easily browse without distractions. It is similar to Safari’s Reader view. Strengths aside, Microsoft Edge is still relatively new on the Mac, so there are a good number of bugs to be worked out. If you don’t mind the occasional hiccup or crash, Edge is a great Safari alternative.
Mac users looking to escape Safari’s grip will likely look first to the open arms of Google Chrome or Firefox. They are good choices but aren’t much different than Safari. The best Safari alternatives are lesser-known but no less functional or compelling and filling the gaps that are lacking in Safari.
Image credit: Apple MacBook Pro Retina shows Bing search web page