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Safari vs Chrome – Which Is Better for Your iPhone?

Have you ever seen Gladiator, with Rusell Crowe? Awesome movie, one of my favorites.

I couldn’t help but observe that the world of mobile browsers has been a gladiator arena recently. Intense bouts between the most powerful tech companies duking it out to become the best browser in the business? Wa-pow!

By the way, that’s super good news for us – more (and more intense) competition forces companies like Apple and Google to provide only the best and most cutting-edge products they can produce, all to keep customers happy. Keep fighting, guys! Doing great!

chrome-safari

Well, two of the most powerful gladiators in this match are none other than Apple’s Safari (the veteran, the reigning champion, the classic competitor) and Google’s Chrome (the spry, tricky, undefeated newcomer). Both have their crafted identities, and each has some new tricks up their sleeve that could determine the outcome of the match.

You ready? Let’s talk about which browser is the best fit for your shiny new iPhone.

In Favor of Safari

Safari has been dominating the mobile browsing world for quite some time.

Last August, Safari peaked at being used by a staggering 65-70% on mobile browsers. Since then, they’ve been holding onto a steady grip in the 55-60% range. Their closest competitor is Google’s unbranded Android browser, which boasts an impressive 20% of users; still, they pale in comparison.

In truth, Safari has an edge over Chrome in many key positions. First of all, in parallel speed tests (no apps, windows, or other programs running on two iPhones), Safari’s mobile browser was about 1 second faster for loading different websites and pages than Chrome was.

Safari also uses iCloud pretty fluidly to sync tabs, browsing history and bookmarks, requiring almost no setup on your behalf. Chrome falls a little short here: though it also syncs through your Google ID, you’re required to set up every device you want connected through a semi-confusing setup.

Disclaimer: There is a little detail that makes Chrome more accessible: Safari iCloud sync is not fully supported on Windows PCs, while Chrome is widely used across many platforms, including Macs.

Safari largely maintained its speed and quality despite additional apps and programs running in the background. Oh, and I almost forgot – Safari boasts “Reader Mode,” which lets you view websites in text-only form. Take that, Chrome!

Final verdict? Safari fits comfortably into the veteran class – traditional, classic, and the name of the game for years, particularly with iPhones. But – just because it’s been around the block doesn’t mean it’s flawless.

In Favor of Chrome

Like Safari, Chrome has a multitude of features that have catapulted it into the top 2 contenders for the iPhone – private browsing, speedy load times, and syncing abilities across the board. However, Chrome takes the cake in more than a few categories.

Perhaps Chrome’s most prominent feature that makes it superior to Safari is its Omnibar, the search bar which lets you type in both websites and search queries, just like its desktop counterpart.

Another leg up Chrome has is its online tabs feature. Safari’s tabs almost feel like whole pages, requiring you to switch between and load each one; Chrome takes the cake using a much faster interface. Each tabs looks almost like a card, and you can swipe upwards and downwards to scroll through them and sideways if you want to discard one.

One of Chrome’s most important edges on Safari is, ironically, one that Safari can’t really compete with – Chrome has been in Safari’s shadow for a long time, and they’re forced to think of new, creative, and innovative solutions to get the better of their stronger opponent to get customers. Safari is on the top of the food chain – they may have the higher ground, but they’re no underdog.

What could Chrome look like? Well, it’s hard to say. However, we can safely assume Google will try to capitalize on the massive success of Chrome on desktops, now boasting over 30% of all desktop browser use. If I had to guess? I’d say Google will maximize the convenience of their Omnibar, as well as their smooth and simple user interface. No hard-to-navigate web browsing, no complicated customizing settings.

Chrome is making its presence known, and consumers can expect to see some big changes in Chrome’s attempt to overtake Safari, and Safari’s attempts to remain king of the hill. Who’s going to come out on top? I couldn’t say, but I know one thing – I’m looking forward to more battles between these two contenders in the arena!

James is the Development Community Manager at Injekt, an open platform for third party app developers.  An avid designer and coder since he was 12, James writes and curates topics on both basic web development and advanced languages with a particular focus on mobile. Connect with James on Twitter and Google+.


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Filed in: Mobile Tags: Firefox, iPhone, Mobile, Safari

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