Google Chrome vs. Safari: Which browser is better for iPhone and Mac?

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20 mins

Chrome vs. Safari: Which is better for iPhone and Mac?

Both Safari and Chrome offer excellent features, and both come with their own set of pros and cons. If you prioritize speed and customization through extensions, Chrome may be the better choice. If you care more about stability and privacy and you use Apple devices exclusively, then Safari is the way to go.


Using an internet browser has become an essential part of our daily routine, whether it’s to shop online, stream videos, or read this blog post. But when choosing a browser for your iPhone or Mac, the decision can be confusing. Should you use Chrome, the world’s most popular browser known for its versatility, or stick with Apple’s native browser, Safari, for a more seamless Apple experience? We compare two titans of the browser world, so you don’t have to.

Jump to…
Google Chrome vs. Safari: A quick comparison
Google Chrome vs. Safari performance: The pros and cons
Google Chrome vs. Safari features: The pros and cons
Google Chrome vs. Safari privacy: The pros and cons
Chrome vs. Safari: Which is better for iPhone and Mac?
Bonus! Chrome vs. Safari: 5 Random facts

Google Chrome vs. Safari: A quick comparison 

Google Chrome was developed by Google and released in 2008, quickly becoming the most popular web browser in the world with a current market share of 65%. Apple developed Safari and released it in 2003. The latest version of the browser is exclusive to Apple devices.

Google ChromeSafari
EnginesBlink, WebKitWebKit, Nitro
Default searchGoogleGoogle
LicenseProprietary, but based on open-source components (Chromium)Freeware (pre-installed on Apple devices); some components (especially engine) GNU LGPL
PlatformsWindows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS, and Chrome OSmacOS, iOS, and iPadOS
Ad blockerYes, for “intrusive” adsNo
Private browsingIncognito ModePrivate Browsing
Password managerYes Yes
ExtensionsYes—190,000+ extensions available on the Chrome Web StoreYes—Safari allows users to install extensions to customize the way their browser works. They are available under “Safari Extensions”.

Read more: Google Chrome vs. Firefox

Chrome vs. Safari performance: The pros and cons 

RAM performance: Safari uses less RAM than Chrome

While both browsers offer similar features and functionalities, one noticeable difference is the amount of memory they consume. Although Chrome works relatively quickly, it struggles when users have too many tabs open or are running graphic-intensive webpages, leading to drained RAM and slow systems.  

In late 2023, Chrome introduced a new feature called Memory Saver mode that allows users to monitor the memory usage of each tab and recover memory from background tabs they’re not using. This feature is especially helpful for juggling multiple tabs simultaneously, particularly those resource-hogging websites.

Memory Saver mode is a feature in Google Chrome that helps to reduce the amount of RAM used by the browser. This feature is available on Windows, macOS, and Chromebook versions of Chrome. The best part is that the feature is enabled by default, so you don’t need to do anything specific to take advantage of it.

Chrome RAM

Tab isolation: Chrome uses a process isolation model, which means that each tab runs as a separate process. This can help prevent a single tab from using up too much memory and crashing the entire browser.

Reduced memory leaks: Chrome’s use of a “garbage collector” helps to prevent memory leaks and ensure that unused memory is released back to the system, improving the overall stability and performance of the browser.

Tab discarding feature: This feature automatically discards inactive tabs that are not being used, freeing up RAM and reducing the strain on a device’s resources.


More likely to crash: If Chrome uses too much RAM, it can cause the browser to crash, which can be hugely frustrating for users.

Drain battery life: If you’re using Chrome on a MacBook or iPhone, the higher RAM usage can quickly drain your battery life.

Applications could slow down: If Chrome is using too much RAM, it can slow down other applications you have open, making it difficult to work efficiently.

More frequent updates: Chrome’s relatively higher RAM usage means that it may require more frequent updates to fix bugs and improve performance.

Safari RAM

Faster performance: With more RAM to spare, Safari can store more data in memory, making it faster to access and load websites and web applications.

Better multitasking: By using less RAM, Safari can handle more open tabs and processes at the same time without slowing down.

Improved stability: Safari is less likely to crash or freeze when running memory-intensive applications or websites.

Enhanced gaming experience: Safari is better-able to support high-resolution gaming and provide smoother gameplay.


Limited extension support: Safari limits the amount of memory that can be used by browser extensions, which can cause some extensions to function poorly or not work at all.

Limited customization: Safari’s RAM management has limited options to adjust memory usage or control how tabs and processes are managed, which means they can’t really be catered to the user.

Fewer development tools: Safari’s RAM management also doesn’t offer as many development tools or plugins as other browsers, which can make it less useful for web developers and designers.

Safari generally requires less RAM than Chrome and is the better option for Mac users who value battery life, as it is designed to be energy-efficient and uses hardware acceleration to minimize power consumption. However, if you rely heavily on extensions that can quickly consume a significant amount of RAM, Chrome’s tab discarding feature can help improve the overall performance and stability of your devices.

Chrome vs. Safari RAM
If you’d like to monitor how both Chrome vs. Safari are performing on your Mac, open Activity Monitor from the Utilities folder.

2. Speed: Chrome is slightly faster than Safari

As it’s built by Apple, Safari is optimized to work best across iOS and Mac to achieve optimal hardware-software integration—it’s also great for conserving battery life on your devices. However, when it comes to speed, how does Chrome stack up?

Google recently made updates to the Chrome browser that have significantly improved its performance on Apple’s devices. After running several speed tests on WebSPRT 4, our results echo that Chrome is slightly faster than Safari on Mac and iPhone.  

But that’s not to say both Chrome and Safari don’t have their highs and lows when it comes to speed.

Chrome speed

It’s touted as being fast: Chrome is known for its fast page loading times and overall swift performance.

It’s up-to-date with the latest technology: Chrome is designed to take advantage of modern hardware and software, which allows it to run smoothly on a wide range of devices and operating systems.

It has prerendering: Chrome has a feature called “prerendering” that allows it to anticipate the user’s next click and start loading the page in advance, which can significantly speed up browsing.


RAM issues can affect its speed: Chrome is known to be a memory hog, which can slow down performance on devices with limited resources.

Regular updates: Chrome’s frequent updates and new features can sometimes lead to bugs and other issues that impact performance.

Third-party extensions: Chrome’s privacy features, such as ad-blocking and tracking prevention, can sometimes slow down website loading times, especially for sites with a lot of ads and trackers.

Safari speed

It’s got a good reputation: Safari is generally considered to be one of the fastest web browsers available for macOS and iOS devices.

It’s made for Apple devices: Safari is optimized for Apple’s hardware and software, which allows it to run smoothly on these devices.

Its ITP feature makes it faster: Safari’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) feature can speed up website loading times by blocking unnecessary tracking scripts and cookies.


It’s not optimized for other devices: Safari may not perform as well on non-Apple devices and operating systems, because they can only use earlier versions of the browser that aren’t up-to-date.

Potential cache issues: Safari’s performance can be affected by the amount of cache and browsing data stored on the device, which can slow down the browser over time.

Web technology support: Safari may not always support the latest web technologies as quickly as other browsers, which could impact the performance of certain websites and web applications.

While Safari is known for its optimized performance on Apple devices, Chrome is considered slightly faster. However, the difference in speed is minimal and may only be noticeable to some users.

Chrome vs. Safari features: The pros and cons

3. Customizations: Chrome has a clean user interface, but Safari’s is more customizable 

A user interface can make or break your browser experience. While Chrome and Safari have similar functions, they have distinct differences in their designs. Chrome has a more minimalist, modern design, while Safari’s is more classic.

Chrome UI


  • Chrome’s tab grouping feature allows users to organize tabs into groups, which can be color-coded for easy identification.


  • Chrome doesn’t offer tab previews that accurately represent the content of the page if you hover over them. 


  • Chrome allows you to create folders to organize your bookmarks into categories, which can help you to keep them organized and easy to find.
  • The little star on the address bar makes it quick and easy to bookmark a page. 


  • Navigating to the Bookmarks manager isn’t seamless. Also, bookmarks are arranged in the order that they were added instead of alphabetically, which makes finding one in a hurry a little harder.


Address bar


  • Also known as the omnibox, Chrome’s address bar also serves as a search bar.
  • You can search for a term within a website from the address bar itself by typing in a URL, hitting the space bar, and typing in a search term.
  • Users can quickly access their browsing history and bookmarks by typing “chrome://history” or “chrome://bookmarks” into the omnibox.


  • While you can permanently turn off omnibox predictions, they will still appear based on your browsing history, which lowers your privacy.


  • The default homepage on Chrome displays the Google search bar and a collection of frequently visited web pages for quick and easy access 


  • While you can customize the appearance of your Google Chrome homepage background by adding a theme/changing colors, there are limits to how much you can customize functionality and behavior compared to Safari.
Safari UI


  • On Mac, you can hover over a tab to see its live preview.
  • You can right-click a tab and select the option that allows you to close all tabs to the right of it, which can help save time.


  • Safari’s tab management is less flexible as moving tabs to a different window, or opening up a new tab from the current one isn’t straightforward.


  • Safari’s sidebar for bookmarks makes it easy to organize and access frequently visited websites.


  • Safari doesn’t allow you to add a bookmark by dragging and dropping a URL into the folder. Instead, users must click the Share button and add it manually.


Address bar


  • Like Chrome, Safari’s address bar doubles as a search bar, allowing users to search for terms or phrases directly from the bar, without having to navigate to a separate search engine.


  • Safari’s address bar has built-in support for privacy features like Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) that prevents third-party trackers from following users across the web.


  • Users can customize the start page. You can set a background image and display new sections, such as Siri Suggestions, Privacy Report, and Shared with You. Your customizations also sync across devices.


  • Safari allows users to customize the toolbar and homepage, but some users may find it difficult to find or access these options, especially if they aren’t familiar with Safari’s interface.

Verdict: While Chrome’s clean and minimalist interface is very appealing, Safari offers customizable and flexible features on iPhone, iPad, and Mac that put it ahead of Chrome. Safari’s new tab management features, like the webpage hover preview, are also a definite win.

4. Mobile extensions: Safari supports mobile extensions, while Chrome does not

Extensions can significantly enhance the functionality and customization options of a browser. Chrome has a vast library of extensions, including ExpressVPN’s Chrome extension, and new ones are added regularly. On the other hand, Safari has a more curated selection of extensions, but they are generally high-quality and well-maintained. While both browsers allow users to install extensions on their desktop or laptop devices, there is a vast difference between the two when it comes to mobile devices.

Chrome extensions

Large variety available: Google Chrome has an extensive library of extensions available for desktop devices. These extensions can streamline your browsing experience, making it more efficient and personalized.


Limited to desktop: Most extensions aren’t available on mobile devices, which is a significant disadvantage for Chrome users who also browse the web on their smartphones or tablets.

Safari extensions

Support for web extensions on your mobile devices: The recent support offered on iOS devices and later means that users can now customize their browsing experience to their iPhones and iPads in the same way as on their Macs.


Experience isn’t very customizable: Safari has a limited extension library compared with Chrome.


Verdict: Both Safari and Chrome support extensions on Mac devices. While Chrome has a wider range of extensions available for desktop devices, Safari has a clear advantage when it comes to mobile browsing because of the recent support for web extensions on iOS.

4. Synchronization: Chrome has more synchronization benefits 

Both Safari and Chrome offer syncing features that allow you to synchronize your bookmarks, history, and passwords, and keep your data and settings up-to-date across multiple devices. However, one has slightly better benefits than the other.

Chrome synchronization

Fast synchronization: Chrome tends to synchronize data faster than Safari, particularly large amounts of data, such as bookmarks and browsing history.

More options: Chrome offers more options for syncing, including syncing extensions, open tabs, history, settings, and autofill content. It also automatically syncs with your Google profile when you log into a new device.

Cross-device sync: Chrome allows you to sync open tabs across devices, so you can pick up where you left off on a different device.


App integration: Google Chrome doesn’t integrate as closely with other Apple apps and services, such as iCloud Keychain and the Apple ecosystem.

Safari synchronization

Password manager: Safari’s iCloud Keychain is more tightly integrated with the Apple ecosystem, making it easier to sync passwords across multiple devices.

Customizable Start screen: Safari syncs its customizable Start screen across devices, as well as passwords, bookmarks, history, and tabs.


Safari is primarily limited to macOS, iOS, and iPadOS, meaning information can only be synced across these devices.

Verdict: Google Chrome offers more flexibility when it comes to syncing information across devices.

Chrome vs. Safari privacy: The pros and cons

5. Security: Is Safari more secure than Chrome? 

From phishing attacks and malware to viruses and hacks—the world of online browsing is filled with online threats. That’s why it’s essential that the browser you use has robust security measures in place to keep your sensitive information safe.

Chrome security

  • Utilizes Google Safe Browsing database to protect against phishing sites and malware.
  • Chrome is updated frequently to address vulnerabilities.
  • Pop-ups are blocked by default.
  • Offers a range of customizable security extensions, including ad blockers and anti-virus monitors.
  • Alerts users when they visit an insecure HTTP website.
  • Chrome uses sandbox technology to isolate web pages and prevent them from interacting with other parts of your computer. This helps prevent malware from infecting your system.
  • Chrome’s password manager and other security settings can be synced across devices, which makes it easy to maintain a consistent security setup.
  • In the past, Google has encouraged hackers to find vulnerabilities in its browser so the company can improve its product.

  • Password manager only works within the browser and can’t be used as a third-party password manager on Apple devices.
  • Because of its popularity, Chrome is often a target for hackers and cybercriminals. This means that it may be more vulnerable to security breaches.
Safari security

  • The browser has a Privacy Report feature that shows you which websites are tracking you and how often.
  • Like Chrome, Safari uses the Google Safe Browsing database to protect against phishing sites and malware.
  • Automatically upgrades insecure HTTP sites to HTTPS.
  • Alerts users when it encounters suspicious websites and prevents them from loading.
  • Password management is top-notch, with a built-in iCloud keychain and password monitoring feature.
  • Safari includes an intelligent tracking prevention feature that blocks cookies and other website data from being shared across domains. 
  • It has an anti-fingerprinting feature that helps prevent websites from identifying you based on your browser settings and preferences.

  • Not as frequently updated as Chrome, which could pose a risk.
  • Limited options for ad blockers.
  • Safari’s security features are built-in and can’t be customized to the same extent as Chrome’s.

Verdict: Chrome has an edge in terms of customizable security extensions, while Safari has a superior password management system. Apple device users may prefer Safari, however, for its seamless integration with iCloud keychain, while Chrome may be a better choice for those who want more control over their security settings.

6. Ads: Google’s reliance on ads may compromise user privacy

When it comes to keeping your personal data private, is it Chrome or Safari that reigns supreme? While Chrome has a slight edge in keeping abreast of security threats, Safari has a much better track record of being more transparent than Google regarding a private browsing experience.

Chrome privacy

  • Chrome offers a wide range of browser extensions to enhance privacy
    Part of Chrome’s code is open-source, which allows users to scrutinize the browser
  • Incognito mode prevents activity from showing up in browser history

  • Chrome has a vague privacy policy
    Google’s revenue stream relies on advertising, leading to the potential misuse of browsing data
  • Several features that compromise privacy are enabled by default—such as search predictions and URL suggestions that automatically get sent to Google’s servers
Safari privacy

  • Easy to block cookies and trackers
    Safari offers users a privacy report to monitor trackers and websites contacting them
  • Users can opt for iCloud+ premium features such as Private Relay and Hide My Email
  • Private Relay encrypts traffic and sends it through two separate relays to ensure anonymity
  • Hide My Email creates unique email addresses to keep your actual address private
  • ITP prevents trackers from profiling you using your IP address
    Private Browsing mode to avoid activity showing up in browser history

  • Safari is not open-source, so outsiders can’t scrutinize any of its code
    Users who want more control over their privacy may find other browsers offer more customization options

Verdict: When it comes to user privacy, Safari wins hands-down. Apple is known for prioritizing user privacy and collecting data more ethically than other tech giants.

Chrome vs. Safari: Other features to note

1. Reading mode

Both Safari and Chrome offer reading modes for a clutter-free reading experience, but Safari’s implementation is more user-friendly. On Safari, a simple page icon near the address bar indicates when Reader mode is available. Clicking it transforms the webpage into a clean layout with just the text and essential images while removing distracting ads and animations. 

You can personalize the reading environment by adjusting the font size and background color. In contrast, Chrome’s reading mode requires a less obvious activation process and displays the simplified version in a sidebar alongside the original page, which can feel less streamlined.

2. Voice search

While both Chrome and Safari offer voice search functionality, their approaches differ in key ways:

Integration: Chrome integrates seamlessly with Google Assistant, allowing you to leverage its vast capabilities for web searches and beyond. On the other hand, Safari utilizes Apple’s built-in voice assistant, Siri, which might not be as tightly integrated with web searches.

Accessibility: Chrome’s voice search is readily accessible through the microphone icon on the address bar. Safari requires you to activate Siri by holding the home button or using a customizable voice command.

Focus: Chrome’s voice search prioritizes web searches. When you speak, it primarily focuses on finding information online. Safari’s Siri, however, can handle a broader range of tasks besides web searches, like setting reminders or making calls.

Customization: Chrome, through its extension marketplace, offers more options for customizing the voice search experience. You might find extensions for specific search engines or features. Safari’s voice search customization options are more limited.

3. Translations

Both Chrome and Safari can translate webpages on the fly, but Chrome offers a smoother experience thanks to its tight integration with Google Translate. When you encounter a foreign language site in Chrome, it will often prompt you to translate it, making the process clear and convenient. 

You can even set Chrome to automatically translate pages from specific languages. Safari, on the other hand, has a less obvious translation feature. There’s a small button tucked away at the edge of the address bar that, while functional, requires more user initiative and lacks the proactive approach of Chrome.

4. Auto Fill

While both Chrome and Safari streamline auto-filling passwords stored in their respective managers (Chrome’s built-in manager or Safari’s integration with iCloud Keychain), Safari offers an additional edge.

Safari also leverages that data for auto-filling forms if you manage your contact information within other Apple apps like Contacts. This creates a smoother experience within the Apple ecosystem, making Safari the more convenient choice for users heavily invested in Apple services.

5. Profiles

Keeping your browsing separate for different purposes used to be a Chrome-only perk. Until recently, Safari lacked the ability to create profiles.  However, Chrome uses Google accounts for profiles, so your browsing history is tied to whichever account you sign in with.

Safari’s new approach offers more flexibility. You can create multiple profiles without needing extra accounts. Each profile in Safari has its history and extensions, all managed through a convenient menu in the toolbar. This allows you to compartmentalize your browsing within the same Apple ID, making Safari a strong contender for managing separate browsing experiences.

Read more: Google Chrome vs. Microsoft Edge

Bonus! Chrome vs. Safari: 5 random facts 

Google Chrome

  1. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt was against the idea of developing an independent browser for many years. Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page eventually built a demo version, forcing Schmidt to change his mind.
  2. The T-rex in Chrome’s offline Dinosaur Game is named Steve. 
  3. If you open more than 100 tabs on Google Chrome, the tab count on the upper right becomes an old-school smiley “:)” on iOS and “:D” on Android.
  4. “Facebook” is the most searched word on Chrome, followed by “YouTube”, “Amazon”, “weather”, and “Walmart”.
  5. The question Chrome users ask the most is “What is my IP address?


  1. When choosing a name for its browser, Apple said it wanted it to be a verb. The name “Safari” was chosen because it reflects the browser’s journey through the internet. “Safari” is the Swahili word for “trip.”
  2. In 2022, Safari became the world’s second browser with over a billion users. Chrome was the first. 
  3. You have Safari to thank for the many uses of private browsing mode. Three years before Google popularized its Incognito Mode, Safari already had a feature for the temporary suspension of cookies and cache.
  4. Apple hides “Easter eggs” in its icons all the time. The iOS Maps icon shows Apple’s location in Cupertino, California. Its Calendar icon’s default date is when the app was introduced, and the iOS clock icon shows the approximate time the iPhone was announced. However, there is no known symbolism for why the Safari compass points North East other than it looks aesthetically pleasing. 
  5. The first version of Safari for Windows was released in 2007, but it was later discontinued in 2012 due to low usage.

Do you prefer using Safari or Chrome as your preferred browser? Let us know in the comments below! 

FAQ: Chrome vs. Safari

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