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Which Is the Best Browser for Your Mac?

Which Is the Best Browser for Your Mac?

Your web browser may be the Mac app you run the most, so it makes sense to pick the best one for your needs. Check out what the most popular options have to offer.

1 Safari: A Native, Energy-Efficient Default

The Safari browser displaying the Safari home page on Mac

Every Mac comes with Safari, so it’s the front-runner by default. There are many good reasons to use Safari, including its native look and privacy features that help prevent sites from tracking your behavior.

Since Safari is developed by Apple, it’s the most natural fit for macOS. You’ll enjoy close integration with the macOS GUI, and highly efficient energy use, as the app ekes out every last performance trick from Apple’s APIs.

In my testing, Safari came out top for web app performance, according to the Speedometer 3.0 benchmarking tool. Results were close, but if you’re a heavy user of web apps, this may make all the difference to your day-to-day work.



















Any testing this article refers to was carried out on a Mac mini 2023 M2 with 8GB of RAM.

2 Chrome: A Rich Extension Ecosystem

The Chrome browser displaying the Chrome home page on Mac

Google’s Chrome is, by far, the most popular browser across all platforms. Its worldwide market share was 65% in March 2024, as reported by statcounter.

This popularity also helps fuel a rich ecosystem of extensions. You can install any of these to add features to the default browser, from improving your reading experience to speeding up navigation.

Each of these browsers offers an extension library (sometimes called “add-ons”) but their sizes vary dramatically. While Edge provides around 11,191 (according to Microsoft’s directory) and Firefox offers 38,000 (as reported by the Firefox directory), Chrome boasts a huge library of 130,445 extensions (source: Backlinko).

Size isn’t everything, but you’re more likely to find niche features by extending Chrome than any other browser. Chrome is also popular with web developers due to its powerful Developer Tools feature which lets you design and debug right in the browser.

Download: Chrome for Mac (Free)

3 Edge: A Decent All-Rounder With Excellent Office Features

The Edge browser displaying the Edge home page on Mac

A Microsoft browser might not seem the most relevant choice for Mac users, but Edge has an array of great features for anyone from office workers to gamers browsing the internet.

The browser handles Office files—and PDFs—natively. If you regularly work on Windows as well as macOS, or need to collaborate with others who do, Edge can make for a smoother experience. It’s also fairly fast and reasonably lightweight, while not quite being the leader in either measure.

Edge will steer you towards Microsoft’s search engine, Bing, and you may be concerned about some of its telemetry features, although you can disable many. Overall, Edge is an OK choice, but probably only worthwhile if you need to keep a toe in the Microsoft ecosystem.

Download: Microsoft Edge for Mac (Free)

4 Firefox: Safe and Customizable, but a Bit of a Memory Hog

The Firefox browser displaying the Firefox home page on Mac

Once the plucky open-source contender, Firefox has fallen far. The browser fought a valiant battle against Microsoft’s Internet Explorer when it launched in 2004; it helped create a more compatible and open web.

Today, the browser is much less popular but still offers a free, open-source, and highly customizable experience. Right out of the box, its home page is a souped-up Google search page, complete with your favorite sites, recent pages, and news feeds.

In my testing, though, Firefox was the heaviest user of memory by far:

The Mac Activity Monitor showing memory usage of five browsers, with Firefox using the most at 430 MB, and Safari the least at 52 MB.

This may not be a huge problem in practice—you can only really judge it by your own personal use—but the alternative browsers start at a more promising baseline.

Download: Mozilla Firefox for Mac (Free)

5 Opera: Full of Features, but Pretty Obscure

The Opera browser displaying the Opera home page on Mac

It’s safe to say that you probably won’t be switching to Opera unless you’re already a fan. This is a shame because it has much to offer: built-in ad-blocking, powerful tab management, and even AI integration.

Opera has always been a niche browser, and its interface looks decidedly out of place on macOS. The default UI goes so far as displaying the familiar traffic light window icons, but vertically!

Download: Opera for Mac (Free)

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