Brave: Best Browser for Mac. Mozilla Firefox. Honorable Mentions. For many Mac users, the term “web browser” is probably synonymous with “Safari,” given that Apple’s browser is included as the default on all its devices.
This is a mistake, though, as the Safari browser is far from the best web browser for Mac or iOS. In this article, we’ll be taking a deep dive into Apple’s ecosystem to discover the best browser for Mac and iOS. If you want to skip straight to the winner, that would be Brave, and you can read our full Brave review to learn everything about our number one pick.
In short, Brave sports excellent performance, security and privacy while also delivering a large number of features and an interface that’s easy to learn and navigate.
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, though, let’s take a moment to look at what our criteria consist of for this ranking.
For the most part, we’ll be judging the contestants on the same criteria as our browser reviews, but focusing entirely on their versions on Apple devices. Thus, our criteria of features, ease of use, performance, security and privacy will form the core of our comparison. Brave — Best Browser for Mac.
- Mozilla Firefox — Fast, great privacy, large add-on library. Vivaldi — Great customization, excellent security & privacy.
- Google Chrome — Huge library of extensions, terrible privacy record. Puffin — Unparalleled security & privacy.
- Obviously, a browser needs to be available on Apple platforms to be eligible for this list, which disqualifies the likes of Tenta (read our Tenta review) and Internet Explorer (read our Internet Explorer review to see why not having Internet Explorer for Mac is a good thing).
All five categories are weighted equally, but if you’re particularly concerned with security, for example, you should check out our most secure browser list to find out which one offers the most protection (spoiler: it’s Puffin, and you can read our Puffin review to find out why).
Vivaldi ReviewVisit Vivaldi . As we mentioned in the introduction, Brave is our top pick for Mac and iOS. The browser sports impressive security, featuring a built-in ad-blocker, automatic upgrades to HTTPS and script blocking. All these settings are easily accessed through the “shields” menu, which also shows you a rundown of what is currently being blocked on the website you’re on.
- Brave also lets users block various kinds of social media content, including Google and Facebook login buttons, as well as embedded posts from Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.
- Furthermore, the browser also has a setting to block WebRTC from revealing your IP address, something that you usually need a virtual private network to accomplish.
- There’s not a whole lot of features built in from the get-go.
- However, because Brave is based on a version of Chromium that’s stripped of callbacks to Google, it’s also compatible with most Chrome extensions, as long as they don’t make changes to the browser’s UI.
This means that you can add all sorts of functionality to the browser, as Chrome’s extension library is massive.
Best Web Browser for Mac 2022
That said, there are some minor features worth mentioning. On both desktop and mobile, there’s a “distill page” function that removes extraneous elements from a webpage to facilitate easier reading. On iOS you can convert any webpage to PDF, but the conversion process is pretty dodgy unless you use the aforementioned distill page feature first.
- The Mac version of Brave lets you add any search engine you want as the default, but unfortunately this doesn’t hold true on iOS, where you’re limited to the five options of Google, Bing, DuckDuckGo, Qwant and Startpage.
- Be sure to read our search engine vs browser guide to understand their differences.
- The cross-device synchronization could also be better, as its currently limited to just bookmarks, but on the plus side, it doesn’t require an account.
What Makes the Best Internet Browser for Mac
Tab management is unfortunately a bit lacking, with no way to group tabs and no horizontal scroll. You can pin tabs though, as well as enable a tab bar on iOS, which is an unusual feature for the platform. Performance is top-notch in every regard, as Brave is one of the fastest browsers, with only Vivaldi outperforming it in terms of speed on Mac.
- On iOS, it’s not quite as far ahead, but is still one of the faster options. Furthermore, RAM consumption is surprisingly low, especially for a browser based on Chromium.
- Brave also shines on the issue of privacy. The company’s data collection policy is straightforward and states that Brave never collects any data, with the exception of certain third-party services, such as Google Safe Browsing, which can be disabled.
- Brave Rewards is an ambitious initiative that aims to change how online advertising works. Instead of forcing ads on its users, Brave lets them opt into receiving personalized ads, and for each ad they’re served, the user is rewarded with credits.
- These credits can then be spent as donations for content creators or websites that have signed up for the program.
Because the user has to opt in, ads are customized using data stored locally on their device.
This completely eliminates the need for third-party trackers, which means that even though the ads are tailored to you personally, your privacy remains intact. Brave’s desktop version also supports Tor, which is a highly unusual feature to have built in, as no other browser other than the dedicated Tor Browser (read our Tor review) does this.
- Excellent security & privacy. Compatible with most Chrome extensions. Brave ReviewVisit Brave. Mozilla Firefox is another excellent browser choice on Mac and iOS, and would be at the top of our list if it wasn’t for Brave.
- As it stands, the difference between the two is very small, but we gave the edge to Brave for its excellent security and privacy controls, though Firefox doesn’t skimp on this either.
- Firefox for Mac uses Google Safe Browsing to protect users from malicious websites and cybercriminals.
Additionally, the privacy controls give you detailed control over what trackers and cookies to allow. Passwords can be protected with a master password, but unfortunately this has to be enabled by default, leaving your passwords unprotected from anyone with physical access, if you don’t.
- Although a master password is good, it’s no replacement for installing the best password manager.
- Firefox is updated very frequently, which is another crucial aspect of browser security.
- Furthermore, specific vulnerabilities are generally fixed within a day or two of being discovered.
There’s plenty of options for customization, as you can add countless themes and move almost every button and UI element to whatever location you prefer.
Brave: Best Browser for Mac
The cross-device synchronization is excellent and allows you to move your entire browsing experience seamlessly between your Mac, iPhone and iPad. You can set the default search engine to anything you want, and the dropdown menu under the address bar gives you quick and easy access to all your alternative search providers.
- The included screen capture tool is incredibly handy for capturing long webpages, as it’s not limited to what’s currently on the screen, like the screenshot tool included in the OS.
- Aside from these, there’s not a whole lot of features baked into the browser. This isn’t such a big deal though, as Firefox is blessed with an extensive library of add-ons, second only to that of Chrome.
- Firefox is also incredibly fast and is in the upper echelon of browsers when it comes to speed on both iOS and Mac.
- Although RAM consumption is quite high, it becomes comparatively low when you have a lot of tabs open, and you can hibernate tabs to improve performance even more. Instead of minimizing tabs to the point of obscurity, Firefox for Mac utilizes a horizontal scrollbar to make tab management a pain-free process.
On iOS, there’s not much to say, but there are a few minor features worth mentioning. There’s a built-in QR code scanner, and the menu in the bottom-right lets you disable all images — which is ideal for users with limited bandwidth — and enable night mode.
- What really makes Firefox stand out is its long-standing commitment to users’ privacy.
- Because Mozilla — the company behind Firefox — is a nonprofit organization, it has little incentive to collect user data, as they don’t need to sell personal information or serve ads to fund development.
- That said, some minor information is collected for development purposes, but even this can be disabled by the user. For a full rundown of Firefox’s strengths and weaknesses, read our full Firefox review.
Firefox ReviewVisit Firefox . Vivaldi was the clear winner of our list of the best browsers overall, but it ends up in third place in this ranking.
This is because there is currently no version of the browser available for iOS, which makes up two-thirds of the Apple ecosystem. That said, Vivaldi is an excellent browser on Mac.
- As covered in our Vivaldi review, its customization is second to none, as the browser lets you change almost every aspect of how it looks and feels.
- This includes various themes, colors and fonts, as well as the ability to move pretty much every button and menu element to a different part of the screen.
- The browser is chock-full of minor features, from note taking to a dedicated screenshot tool. Your notes and screenshots can be linked together and tied to a URL, and there’s a reader view that optimizes articles for easier reading.
On top of all the native features, Vivaldi is also compatible with most of Chrome’s huge extension library because it’s built on top of Chromium (read our Chromium review and Chromium vs Chrome guide to learn more).
- Vivaldi allows you to sync every part of the browsing experience between devices, but as there’s no version available on iOS, for Mac users this is mostly useful for porting your preferences and history between desktop devices.
- By signing up for Vivaldi sync, you also get access to an email host and a blog, but both are fairly basic, so you should check out our lists of the best email hosting providers and best web hosting providers for alternatives, if these are things you’re interested in.
- Vivaldi is also exceptionally easy to use and features handy navigation controls, such as a rewind button that brings you back to the last domain you visited (as opposed to the last webpage) and a drop-down menu with your recent search history and alternative search providers.
Tab management is excellent, as you can group tabs together into “stacks” and even divide the screen between them.
Tabs you’ve opened but not looked at yet are marked as unread, and you also have the ability to pin tabs to protect them from being accidentally closed. There’s a tab cycler that you can bring up by pressing “ctrl + tab,” as well as a separate tab menu in the taskbar on the left side of the screen. Furthermore, you can pin specific websites to this taskbar, which gives you constant quick access to them without having to open dedicated tabs for them.