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Do You Use It? Safari Ranks as Top Mac Web Browser

When we asked last week which Web browsers you use on your Mac, I had no doubt that Safari would be at the top of the list. It has been one of Apple’s most important apps since it shipped with Mac OS X 10.3 Panther in 2003, and it regularly receives updates that improve its performance, features, and security. So, it’s not in the slightest bit surprising that 87% of TidBITS readers report that they use it.

More interesting are the next few browsers. I was intrigued to see that Firefox (59%) has significantly greater usage levels among TidBITS readers than Google Chrome (40%), which is by far the most used browser across all platforms. Chrome’s relative poor showing may reflect TidBITS readers putting an above-average emphasis on privacy, as evidenced by the privacy-focused Brave (21%) and DuckDuckGo (11%) in fourth and sixth place, respectively. Arc almost certainly enjoys its 15% usage share due to my coverage and enthusiasm for it, and Microsoft Edge likely squeaks into a 10% usage number due to employers requiring it for internal sites and its AI integration. The remaining browsers garnered only single-digit percentages, and although I regret forgetting them, iCab and OmniWeb would likely have fallen into that category as well.

Do You Use It? poll results on Mac Web browsers

In retrospect, I’m unsure how illuminating this poll was. It shows with broad strokes which browsers TidBITS readers use at least occasionally, but most people have a primary browser that they supplement with others for specific reasons, most commonly when a website doesn’t work correctly. My vote, which you can see in the blue bars above, doesn’t make clear that I primarily use Arc but occasionally use the other browsers to test misbehaving websites, log in with a secondary account, or document interface elements.

I considered running another poll to tease out the primary browser question, but I didn’t want to ask people to vote yet again on essentially the same topic. Besides, I have some data about that from Google Analytics. When I look at traffic from desktop Web browsers for 2023, Safari remains in the lead, generating 48% of page views, but Chrome is second with 40%, and Firefox and Edge are tied for fourth with 5%. Finally, Opera slips in with 1%. Chromium browsers other than Microsoft Edge and Opera identify themselves as Chrome, so its 40% includes at least Arc, Brave, and Vivaldi.

Perhaps the takeaway from this poll is that using multiple browsers is common, and you shouldn’t shy away from doing so. Pick one that fits your working style the best as your default, but if it doesn’t meet your needs in a particular way, there’s no shame in falling back on an alternative. If nothing else, Safari is always waiting in your Applications folder.

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Comments About Do You Use It? Safari Ranks as Top Mac Web Browser

Notable Replies

  1. Safari is my usual browser except in two circumstances: setting up and changing a password. Safari’s dogged insistence that I use its password suggestion, instead of one I want created in 1Password, has driven me to start the process again in Firefox. Sometimes a website has a requirement that Safari’s password doesn’t meet, e.g., specific special characters. Is there a way to disable Safari’s password creation, or at least to ignore it?

  2. While I have used Safari for a long time, my current iMac is old enough that neither the OS nor Safari get updated. With the latest revelation about libwebp I have to assume that Safari on my machine is a potential victim, so I am moving to Firefox. I am now using both in roughly equal proportion.

    There are some pros and cons. Firefox is not integrated into Apple’s password keeping system like Safari, but that means that Apple’s system does not get into the way of 1Password. However, 1P is not integrated into Firefox, nor is URL Manager Pro. So I have to do some manual operations. But I get Privacy Badger back too, and I get better visibility into and management of tabs and tab lists.

    edit: I occasionally use DEVONagent Pro for deep and/or broad web searches.

  3. You have another stat that may be worth exploring. How many use just one browser and which one. Maybe a chart like the one you sent but just unique to individuals

  4. Browsers and Search Engines are not the same thing. DuckDuckGo, for example, is a Search Engine. Why is it included in the Browser survey?

  5. I suspect a lot of regular users rely on just one browser, probably Safari, but TidBITS readers tend to have more experience and are comfortable downloading and using multiple browsers in specific situations. And it’s something I recommend! :slight_smile:

    Because it’s also a browser now.

  6. Download/installer links:

  7. I have been a diehard Firefox user for more years than I can remember. Back then, when I switched to Firefox, Safari just didn’t have the look or the functionality that Firefox had, so it was an easy choice for me. I rarely use Safari, and invasive Chrome even less.

  8. I use all of them. Mostly Chrome. But I use FireFox when compiling things on remote servers because the tab blinks on/off until done, so it’s easier to see. That doesn’t happen in Chrome or Safari, so it’s irritating. I only use Safari for extra testing, when needed.

    I used to mainly use FireFox. They don’t have tab groups though, do they? I like the Chrome tab groups.

    I only use Edge when playing with their new AI feature.

    Why did Apple give up on their Windows version of Safari?

  9. My guess is that it was probably nothing resembling a profit center. And there already are plenty of Windows web browsers out in the wild.

  10. Thanks. I’ll take a look. What I’m doing now is just creating bookmarks in the toolbar containing multiple URLs and opening them as needed.

  11. Firefox used to have tab groups via a feature called “Panorama”. It was introduced in version 4 (2011), but was later dropped in version 45 (2016).

    I wrote about it a bit more back in June:

    Today, there are a variety of add-ons to provide tab grouping.

  12. I personally can’t imagine why people bother with Safari at all. I am diehard Firefox, for general performance but mainly the extensive customizability of just about everything with about:config. Don’t care for microscopic toolbar/menu bar font size, just resize it larger. Links slow to load, play around with connection & dns parameters. Scrolling too slow, just adjust the relevant settings. Can’t bear criminally persistent google login popups, just nuke them with the Privacy Badger add-on. Just a few among many, many tweakable settings once you dig under the hood a bit. Also, in my experience the built-in password handling is first rate.

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