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Since most of your working (or even entertainment) time today is spent in your web browser window, it's likely the most important app on your computer. Without a doubt, there are lots of web browsers for Mac, but not all of them were created equal. So you might be wondering what is the best web browser for Mac.
The Best Browsers for PowerPC Macs and the Classic Mac OS, Nathan Thompson, Embracing Obsolescence, 2005.12.16. Two browsers stand out from the pack: iCab 3 is modern and remains under development, and WaMCom brings Mozilla to older Macs. These two browsers are brothers under the hood. TenFourFox is an adaptation of Firefox 17 for PowerPC Macs, with two different G4 versions (if you’re running Leopard on a G4, you’ll probably end up using the 7450/G4e version) and a G5 version, so any PPC Mac running Leopard can run it. The current version of TenFourFox is 17.0.7.
After all, not everyone's needs are the same. You might be striving for speed or safety, or alternative ways of surfing online. And with Microsoft Edge set to appear on Mac shortly, the competition to become the top browser for Mac is getting fierce — but there's no need to try them all.
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The browser comparison below will outline all strengths and weaknesses of all the contenders on the market today to reveal the best browser for Mac you need.
What Makes The Best Web Browser
Depending on how exactly you use your Mac browser, you might require different features and specialties. Generally, there are four broad categories that make people sway one way or another.
Familiarity: Use something regularly for a while and you'll develop muscle memory, which makes it extremely hard to switch to anything else. This is the main reason most people keep using the first web browser they've tried. But it’s important to realize that experimenting with alternative browsers is not hard and might present you with much better options in no time.
Speed: Slow speed might quickly kill even the best web browser for Mac. If you think about it, no one has ever asked for their webpage to take more time to load.
Security: A lucky few might have never been the target of a hack or malware with a potential to disrupt or in some cases destroy a computer. But there's no such thing as being too careful. While some browsers are optimized for ease of use, there are safe browsers too that are secure from the ground up.
Bells and whistles: For some, it's the little things that matter most. Looking for Chromecast support? Configurable shortcuts? Extension libraries? All best internet browsers try to differentiate themselves in various ways to tailor to particular audiences.
The top browser for Mac out of the box: Safari
It could be that the best browser for Mac is the one that comes with every Mac already. Apple's proprietary web browser for Mac, Safari, is preinstalled on all Apple devices and is generally a good choice. No shame here for not bothering to explore alternative browsers at all.
Safari is good because Apple doesn't do things by half measures. Benchmarks suggest that when it comes to Safari vs Firefox, Safari loads HTML twice as fast, and four times as fast for Microsoft's Internet Explorer. Makes sense — no one knows Apple hardware better than Apple, so they have all the trump cards for near-perfect speed optimization. Safari might well be the fastest browser for Mac.
In terms of extras, Safari has a decent support for third-party plugins and integrates perfectly with your iOS and watchOS devices.
- Blazing-fast speed
- Already installed on your Mac
Not so great:
- Lacks Chromecast support and some other plugins
The most popular web browser: Chrome
Chrome is by far the top browser for Mac and other operating systems when it comes to popularity — some reports suggest that 70% of people on the web use it. But does that mean it’s the best web browser for Mac?
It could be. First of all, Chrome is generally one of the fastest web browsers. Second, it uses Google's proprietary Sandbox security technology, so you're completely safe running all kinds of websites on it. Third, Chrome's extension library is the largest on the market, allowing you to transform the browser into the tool for all your needs.
Even better, when you sign into your Google account on any Chrome browser anywhere, it'll load your bookmarks and logins right away. So if you're constantly using different computers, Chrome is a great choice (just remember to log out if you're using public ones).
When it comes to Safari vs Chrome, Safari wins as the best browser for Mac, whereas Chrome takes the crown if you find yourself jumping between operating systems.
- Fast and secure
- The best third-party support for browser extensions
- Travels well by signing into Chrome from anywhere
- Fully integrated with Chromecast
Not so great:
- Not as fast as Safari
dogfox web browser: Mozilla Firefox for Mac
Though it's not as commonly used as Safari or Chrome, Firefox is not without its share of devoted fans. It's been a mainstay in the browser wars for many years now and is maybe the most recognized one of the alternative browsers for people who would rather not support megalithic companies like Apple or Google. So do you want to download Firefox for Mac?
Unfortunately, sometimes the underdog is the underdog for a reason. Firefox is quite a bit slower when it comes to loading webpages. And while you can sign into your Firefox account for bookmarks just like in Google Chrome, the fact that it’s not a standard option on most computers in the way Chrome is makes this feature less useful.
Add to that a busy design that looks at odds with macOS, and when it comes to Safari vs Firefox as the best browser for Mac, Safari is the clear winner.
- Open-source development
- Long-established user base
- Firefox account to sync bookmarks across computers
Not so great:
- Slow by modern web standards
- Busy design
The 'could be a contender' browser: Opera for Mac
Opera has been around for years, but it's always been the 'also-ran' of the alternative browsers. But things could be different now: Opera today comes with a free VPN, ad-block, and built-in messenger client support right out of the box. The free VPN alone makes this browser worth downloading and checking out.
In the backend, Opera usings the same Blink Engine that powers Chrome, so you can be sure of its speed. Add to that integrated phishing and malware lists and you have a fast and secure browser. Some could argue that given recent Opera innovations it might have surpassed Firefox as the third-best web browser. It also might now be the best new browser for Mac, depending on what you’re looking for.
- Free VPN
- Just as fast as Chrome
- Great default ad and malware blocking
Not so great:
- Less third-party support compared to Chrome
- Low adoption
How to change default browser on Mac
So now that you have so many options to try — explore their websites and download the ones that you like. Just remind yourself that you're not yet fully committed to any single one.
But once you decide which one is your favorite, you need to know how to change default browser on Mac:
- Click on the Apple menu ➙ System Preferences
- Navigate to the General tab
- Find a dropdown menu marked 'Default web browser' and click on it to choose from the browsers you've installed
The top browser for Mac is what you make of it
In the end, it doesn't matter too much which browser is the best — if you like it and feel like it does what you need it to do, then everybody's happy. What matters the most is whether or not you can customize the browser to your needs. That means downloading extensions that make the most of your internet experience.
If you've ever been watching a YouTube video and thought, 'I wish there was a safe and easy way to download this video,' then you absolutely need to check out Downie.
Capture video from any browser
Try a seamless video downloader that works with any browser. With Downie, you’ll be able to instantly save videos from 1000+ sites.
Downie is an app for your Mac that lets you drag and drop videos from any website onto your computer. It works like magic:
- Copy a link from Vimeo or YouTube or anywhere else
- Open Downie and hit ⌘ + V to paste the link
- The download will start automatically
Even for times when you can't find a song anywhere but streaming video, use Downie to simply download the audio file. Brilliant!
Want to edit or format that file? Downie blends seamlessly with Permute, which lets you combine videos, edit them down, or convert the file type:
- Drag and drop a video onto Permute
- Choose to work with Audio or Video
- Use the dropdown to choose the file format to convert to
- Click Start
Yet another great app to completely unlock your browser is Inboard. Designed to easily capture screenshots from your screen so that you can create collages and moodboards, Inboard lets you cut and paste images from your Mac browser, and even make a Pinterest-style inspiration board from all your captured pictures.
Best of all, Downie, Permute, and Inboard are all available to try absolutely free for seven days when you sign up for Setapp, an app subscription services that gives you over 150 different apps for every possible use case. Now that’s a Mac browser transformed!
Meantime, prepare for all the awesome things you can do with Setapp.Read on
Web Browsers For Mac Ppc
While researching Gopher clients for my last two posts, I accidentally stumbled across a web browser for PowerPC Macs that I had not previously been aware of: OmniWeb. Somehow, in the nearly nine years that I have been using Macs exclusively, this particular web browser has completely evaded my attention. Perhaps it did yours too, and so I am writing a brief post about it.
For some time now, the only game in town, where PowerPC Mac OS X web browsers are concerned, has been TenFourFox. TenFourFox, along with its email counterpart TenFourBird, are excellent offerings that together have kept my PowerPC based Macs completely relevant even in the incredibly feature laden world of today’s internet. Until my research on Gopher clients it had been my assumption that not only was TenFourFox the best choice for a PPC web browser capable of navigating today’s web, it was also the ONLY choice.
I was therefore more than just a little surprised when my search for Gopher clients turned up repeated references to a program called OmniWeb, a previously unknown (to me anyway!) web browser that still runs on PowerPC Macs and apparently still supports the Gopher protocol natively. OmniWeb, of course, turns out to be a surprisingly current web browser, and better than that, one that still runs well under both Tiger and Leopard on PowerPC Macs.
Browsers For Mac Pro
Those of us on PowerPC Macs running Tiger were stranded by Safari in 2010. Those on Leopard made it a little bit further – 2011. OmniWeb takes us all one year farther down the road, to 2012. The last stable version of OmniWeb, sporting version number 5.11.2, was released on July 23rd, 2012. This makes OmniWeb fairly current, but nonetheless still a little over 2 ½ years old as I write this post. As we all know, the web is evolving at light speed, and so how well does a 2 ½ year old web browser stand up to the rigors of today’s online world?
My response would be, in a word (well, in two words actually!) “very well”. OmniWeb has performed flawlessly on all of the web pages I have tried it on so far, and that has been no small number – I have tested it as my day to day browser for about a week now. This means that OmniWeb has been exposed to a good cross section of the web, and performed admirably for me to date.
OmniWeb compliments this surprising performance with … its surprising performance! OmniWeb is FAST! Even on my PowerMac G5 Quad, equipped with an SSD boot/applications drive, TenFourFox is still somewhat slow to launch, taking two or three Dock bounces to get going. By contrast, OmniWeb seems to just snap into being, and augments this impression of blazing speed with its rendering of web pages, which seem to appear at an equally good clip.
As you can see below, in 2006 at least OmniWeb was the leading speed demon among Mac OS X web browsers:
Stumbling across a previously unknown, full featured and exceptionally fast web browser that still runs on PowerPC Macs seems almost too good to be true. My sense of wonder at this unexpected turn of events is expressed perfectly by John Siracusa, a technology journalist and critic for Ars Technica, who in reference to OmniWeb said, “Finding [this level of functionality] in a proper Mac OS X application from a respected developer with a proven track record is like finding a perfect 1/10,000th scale replica of the Eiffel Tower in a box of crackerjacks.”
“Respected Developer”? Did he say “Respected Developer”? Where did such a capable web browser come from, and how did it fly under my radar for so long? Well, it turns out that OmniWeb has had a long and eventful history. That I have missed it for this long is completely inexplicable. OmniWeb started life in 1995 as a NextStep browser. Courtesy of a corporate acquisition of its parent company, it then spent some time on Sun Solaris before ultimately settling into it current role as an exclusively Mac OS X offering (as of its version 4.0 and onwards).
OmniWeb is one of a family of programs offered by the Omni Group (www.omnigroup.com) and seems far from dead. The Omni Group web site indicates that test builds of OmniWeb for Mac OS X 10.10 (Yosemite) are available now, and checking into this, I see that these are being updated almost daily. Active development is clearly taking place right now. Whether there will ever by another Tiger/Leopard compatible version remains to be seen, but it is clear that the Omni Group is continuing to work on the product.
So, there you have it, OmniWeb, a “new” web browser for PowerPC Macs. You can download OmniWeb directly from the Omni Group web site (www.omnigroup.com) or from:
Browser For Mac Ppc
Give it a whirl – I think you will like it!