Finding The Best Browser For Mac: What Browser Features Should You Consider?

Best browser for mac

If you have a Mac computer, you almost certainly access the internet on a regular basis. It’s quick and easy, and all it takes is a connection – and a browser.


But there are several browsers supported by Mac systems. What are they, and which will be the best browser for Mac for your purposes?

Comparison Table

Browsers

Pros

Cons

Safari

Benchmark tests revealed Safari to be one of the fastest in startup and page loading

Difficult to use and low-featured browser product in its infancy to a fully-functional

Chrome

After Safari, Chrome comes next as the fastest browser for Mac users

Does not integrate directly with the Mac OS, and may consume more battery power

Opera

Opera presents itself as the high-performance web browser you’re looking for

Opera currently lacks a reading mode for uncluttered display of website

Vivaldi

Vivaldi uses its own unique system of providing tabs within tabs, known as tab stacking

Power consumption is still the biggest drawback for this browser

Firefox

Firefox users experience pretty much the same presentation layer that they’ve utilized over the years

Firefox tests revealed the lowest performance scores of the browsers

What Exactly Is A Browser?

Best browser for mac

Your browser is your ticket to the internet. It is essentially a software program that accesses web pages on the world wide web, or internet.


Though browsers are often confused with search engines, they are not the same thing.


While the browser communicates with websites and displays them on your Mac or other devices, a search engine is quite different. Search engines are web sites that store and retrieve information about other websites. One of the most popular search engines is google.com, whereas the browser offered by the same company is Chrome.


With multiple browsers available for Mac users, how do make that decision?

What Browser Features Should You Consider?

Not all browsers are created equal. Your choice of the best browser for Mac will depend on what features are most important to you:


Speed 

Some browsers seem to be consistently faster than others. If you’re looking for highest performance in software downloads and document uploads, or maximum page loading speeds, you’ll be seeking out the browser that outperforms the others.


Stability 

Nothing is more frustrating than navigating the internet with a browser that crashes on a frequent basis. There have historically been browsers that indeed generated such frustrations, but you won’t read about those here.


Features

Browsers have the same goal – presenting web pages to you quickly, reliably, and consistently. But above that, they incorporate unique features that you may find suit your web-surfing lifestyle.


Such features as off-line web page viewing and bookmarking sites for future reference are quite different across browsers, or even non-existent in some offerings.


Security  

Protection from potentially harmful sites or those that are inappropriate for children are important for computer owners and families. Security integration with your browser also varies widely among browser programs. The program’s approach to tracking your activity with cookies may also be a consideration for many Mac users.


Services 

Browsers differ in their integration with the Mac OS. They also present different workloads on the systems, resulting in varying battery life. This could be of high importance to those who use their computers on battery power regularly.


Technology

 For your personal or business use, the best browser for Mac may be tied to your technical environment. For those closely tied to the Apple hardware and software suites, a browser closely integrated with the OS is a more likely choice vs. third-party offerings.


Extensions  

Browser extensions – also called add-ons – provide additional functions or features to your web browser.


This can be in the way of modifying the presentation of web pages, or interaction with businesses for specific functions such as travel sites or shopping applications. Extensions that you find useful can be very beneficial, but they can also slow down your browser and even your computer.

Safari

Safari is Apple’s very own browser product, and is provided with the Mac OS. Not only that, but it is pre-installed on iPads and iPhones and is the default browser on those devices. Combining those devices with Safari users on Mac computers, Safari takes its place as one of the most commonly used browsers, worldwide.


Safari has grown from a difficult to use and low-featured browser product in its infancy to a fully-functional leader among Mac users. But does that make Safari the best browser for Mac users?


Safari has many features and functions of value to users:

  • Speed – benchmark tests revealed Safari to be one of the fastest in startup and page loading
  • Updates – as the browser is integrated with the OS, patches and updates are frequent, to add features and resolve bugs or security issues.
  • Reading List feature allows saving entire web pages for reading/viewing offline at your convenience
  • Pinned tabs let you logically save the websites you find useful handily next to the tab listing. This makes it easy to use and quick to reference.
  • With Safari’s integration with the OS, it is the only browser with access to Mac’s Keychain. This makes it the only product that can synch and store passwords across all your Apple products. If you’re an iCloud user, Safari also synchs your bookmarks for each device.
  • Safari developers have optimized the browser with the OS to reduce power consumption. This is a benefit for laptop users and mobile devices to provide extended use between charges.
  • With Safari 11, the tracking of your activity through the use of cookies will also be prevented. Turning off such tracking will theoretically improve performance by stopping unwanted ads from loading, based on tracking activity.
  • Reader view – you know all the side formatting and ads that show up when you access a web page? Reader view takes all that out of the way, displaying only the basic document information for the web page, for ease of reading without all the distractions. This is selectable by website.
  • Easy to install – what could be easier? Safari is already installed with Mac and Apple mobile devices. No downloads or installations are necessary.

Safari Cons:


There are many web services available that computer users access on a regular basis, but not all are developed – or even tested – with Mac/Safari users in mind. This can mean that you experience sluggish performance when using web apps that have not been tested or written for Safari compatibility.


Safari has a very limited number of extensions available. Perhaps that’s because few are considered to be needed, but it can also imply that developers are not as active in creating extensions for the Safari browser.

Chrome

Chrome, by Google, is one of the most popular browsers on the market. Some figures estimate that 70% of web users utilize Chrome daily. Chrome gives Google the strategic advantage of marketing a free web browser that will connect users to the company’s online services. PC and Mac users alike have flocked to the browser with its ease of use and support for both platforms.


Users cite many reasons for installing and using Chrome:


Performance – after Safari, Chrome comes next as the fastest browser for Mac users. Although the margin between the two is not significant, when you think of the number of times you start your browser every day. Those seconds can add up. Still, Chrome is a close second behind Safari, and is one of the performance leaders.


Extensions – Chrome developers are constantly coming up with new extensions for special functions and additional web services. On the plus side, that adds functionality and productivity for your web browsing.


The downside is that extensions typically load when you start the browser and often remain active whether or not you’re using those functions. This can eat up memory, consume power, and slow down your computer.


Chrome provides several features that make it stand out from the crowd:

  • Automatic translation – no worries about understanding a foreign web page – Chrome can translate that for you.
  • Thousands of add-ons and extensions are available for Chrome, providing nearly any feature of function you can think of.

Chrome Cons:


Chrome is slightly slower than Safari, does not integrate directly with the Mac OS, and may consume more battery power.

Opera

Less often referred to, but still a true contender for your browsing activity, Opera presents itself as the high-performance web browser you’re looking for – and it’s true. Browsing a few websites will demonstrate how efficient and the browser is – loading pages quickly and scrolling smoothly.


Opera utilizes the same rendering engine as Chrome, making its consumption of your battery power similar to Chrome’s draining characteristics.


Some of the positive attributes of Opera that benefit adopters of the browser:

  • Opera utilizes a basic look and feel, which many users will find attractive with its lean appearance.
  • Opera includes synching features, and provides familiar tab management functions.
  • A compatibility extension is available that makes Chrome extensions usable with Opera, but there are also plenty of native Opera extensions available, including ad-blocking and cookie tracker blocking.
  • From the new tab screen, users can select useful functions such as a download manager and news feeds.
  • Opera designers have incorporated a Turbo mode that sends any available web pages in compressed format from their own services, reducing your bandwidth demands.
  • Looking for extra privacy? Opera offers a free VPN for extra privacy and security when using dubious or unsecure networks. There is no installation or setup to do – it’s already incorporated in the browser, just activate it in settings.

Opera Cons:


Battery consumption is the primary drawback of Opera, notably for those who rely on battery power on a regular basis, although recent updates have made improvements in battery use.


Opera currently lacks a reading mode for uncluttered display of websites. This is a big issue when you’re browsing many websites.

 

Social sharing with Opera content is not as simple as other browsers that incorporate “share” buttons that make the process quick and easy.

Vivaldi

Relatively new on the scene is Vivaldi, headed by one of the co-founders of Opera. The company’s goal is to provide the best web browsing experience for frequent visitors, not just to casual web surfers. These efforts could contribute to ranking Vivaldi as the best browser for Mac – at least for some users.


Adventurous users will enjoy the many features of this new offering:

  • Chrome plug-ins work with Vivaldi, as it too utilizes the same engine as Chrome. Vivaldi uses its own unique system of providing tabs within tabs, known as tab stacking. Hovering your cursor over a tab to reveal thumbnails of content. You can optionally tile the tabs, similar to the Mac and iOS split view.
  • You can create notes to accompany websites that you visit, that are visible and editable when you navigate to the sites again.
  • An expandable side panel can show downloads and bookmarks that you’ve created. Not only that, but the sidebar can display websites, as well. Keep Twitter or Facebook open on the sidebar, while browsing other websites.
  • Vivaldi also appeals to your creative side, allowing customization of themes including foreground, background, and accents. Create your own visual presentations.

Vivaldi Cons:


Power consumption is still the biggest drawback for this browser. The many features don’t come without putting a draw on your system’s battery life.

Firefox

Little mention is made to this formerly popular browser. It still enjoys a small niche among diehard fans who consider Firefox the best browser for Mac, taking approximately a 4% share of the market.

  • Firefox users experience pretty much the same presentation layer that they’ve utilized over the years, with both URL and search fields being displayed, where one would suffice.
  • Icons are presented for such functions as creating and viewing bookmarks, viewing download progress, saving the current page to read later, and getting to the home menu.
  • A menu icon takes you to the settings menu for configuring and using Firefox features, simplifying access to those functions.
  • Firefox still retains features that let you synch passwords, bookmarks, and other information to all your devices.
  • A large variety of extensions and add-ons for Firefox have always been available for Firefox, and that remains an attraction to users.

Firefox Cons:


Firefox tests revealed the lowest performance scores of the browsers discussed in the list, though battery consumption was not as poor as some others.

What’s New Or Coming?

With Apple’s new version of the Mac OS, they have announced new features of their Safari browser, including:


Ability to turn off autoplay for selected websites. No more would you be subjected to automatic audio playing the instant you browse to a website when you’ve selected that option. That alone removes an irritation you’ve probably encountered with many sites.


Safari will also improve in performance and power use efficiency. Additional control will be available for Safari users, such as controlling zoom factors, view format, and content blockers. Intelligent Tracking Prevention will give you better control of how websites track your activities


Google continuously updates the Chrome browser for all platforms, including Mac. Like Safari, one of the recent updates addressed the autoplay prevention for websites that blast visitors with unwanted audio. Chrome also added rejection of certain certificates issued by Symantec, labeling them as potentially insecure or dangerous.


Opera has been updated with additional power-saving functionality, along with new theme options, website sound muting, search pop-up features, and enhanced bookmark and tab management.


Vivaldi is under continuous development and enhancement, with a particular focus on performance and features for Mac power users.


Firefox Quantum is making strides to upgrade its presentation and performance, yet underneath the upgrade it appears to be the same Firefox that has been around for years.

How Mac Browsers Stack Up

To determine the best browser for Mac that meets your needs, why not try them all? Downloads are free, and installation is relatively simple – with the possible exception of Vivaldi, which anticipates that you will want to customize your preferences and appearance.


Safari and Chrome currently take the lead in Mac browser preference, with Opera taking its place as a close third.


Vivaldi has a way to go in gaining acceptance and popularity, but it’s a product worth watching. Firefox likely remains a distant forth in your consideration for a daily-use Mac browser.


What it comes down to – your Mac browser is largely a matter of personal preference, along with consideration for the devices you anticipate using with the product.

 

OneNote For Mac – Navigation, Features, And Ease Of Use

Onenote for mac

Using Microsoft products on your Mac computer or device may seem like heresy for some users. But, Microsoft has done a great job providing an excellent platform for note-taking, sharing, and synching all your notes across devices – Mac, iPad, and iPhone.


Plus, it’s all free to use.

What Exactly Is OneNote For Mac?

Onenote for mac

From business projects to managing appointments and personal information, OneNote for Mac can organize your thoughts and information exchanges into multiple notebooks with embedded images, files, or PDF content wherever it makes sense to you.


Keep notes about your school classes, progress updates on business projects, or travel plans all organized and synchronized with your other devices. OneNote keeps your information in your Microsoft OneDrive in the cloud, and synchs all your devices whenever they’re online.


This allows you to work offline when necessary, such as when you’re on a flight without internet access, with the assurance that when you re-establish communications, all your updates will be automatically uploaded and available to your other devices.


Others that you share your notebooks with will also have visibility to your updates immediately.  

Navigating In OneNote

Getting around in OneNote for Mac is very simple, even for beginners. Of course, if you’ve worked with Ms Office applications, the format will be easily recognized.


Tabs present the basic functions:

  • Home – change settings and options, open or create a new notebook, and more
  • Insert – insert links, documents, tables, pictures, recordings, etc.
  • View – change page setup, display view, zoom

Like any Microsoft application, the menu bar provides quick access to every function such as formatting, editing, or creating new notebooks.

Underneath the ribbon you’ll find the name of the current notebook.


Clicking that name will provide a list of all your notebooks, which you can scroll across to find the one you want to work with, or select the ‘+’ key to create a new notebook.


You can create as many notebooks as you like, with as many sections/tabs as you like within a notebook, to keep you organized. You can also name and color the tabs to accommodate your preference or to provide a quick visual reference to important sections.


OneNote’s organizational hierarchy consists of your notebook list/stack, notebooks, sections (tabs), and pages. This keeps your information logically organized for easy reference.

OneNote Features

Onenote for mac

Although Windows users of OneNote that converted to Mac platforms have noted some missing functionality in the Mac/iOS product, there is still a great deal of functionality in the software that makes it a valuable resource for Mac users.


Multiple Windows Support

With upgraded versions of OneNote, Microsoft provided the ability to work with multiple sections of a notebook, or across notebooks, in different windows. After starting OneNote, just select Window > New Window from the menu bar, and a second instance of OneNote will open, allowing you to open another notebook or section.


Need more windows? Just repeat the procedure, and open a third or fourth as needed.


This is a great feature when you want to compare content of one notebook to another, or even cut and paste from an existing notebook into a new one.


Working With Pages

As you create content in a notebook section, you’re building pages. Selecting a notebook opens previews of the pages contained in the notebook. You can select a view to see more of the preview, or view it as a thumbnail.


Editing tools are at the top of the window. With simple drag and drop functions, you can add, move, or resize images on the page including boxes of text or images.


A wide variety of information can be included in your notes. Draw your own images with the Digital Ink feature, or combine images, links, tables, and even record audio with your notes.


Notes and audio are linked together. This comes in really handy if you would like to insert comments along with recordings to add meaning or to emphasize the intent of your audio.


If you create comments while recording, OneNote for Mac will let you view the comments associated with those points when playing back the recording.


Security is a built-in feature, as well. If you want to protect sensitive information, you can password-protect sections of your notes that contain that private information. You can also allow sharing at the notebook level, allowing others to view and optionally edit your notebook.


Formatting allows you to select the appearance of your pages – paper type, grid, etc. You can add tags to your notes, but you can’t create your own tags – at least not yet. Drag and drop pages between sections at will, making creation of new sections greatly simplified.


Clipping is a very valuable tool. With the Web Clipper tool, you can copy content from a web page directly into your OneNote account with two easy clicks – no need to cut and paste.


Even within the Web Clipper, you can specify how you want the results to be inserted into your notes – as the entire web page, or perhaps you would rather just capture the article you’re viewing, without all the extra clutter of advertisements and the like? The choice is yours.

Even within pages, you can further organize your thoughts into sub-paragraphs to provide an additional level of categorization.


Printing From OneNote

Transforming your notebooks or pages into paper copies is simple in OneNote, too. You can print individual pages, sections, or an entire notebook.


Pricing

Free is hard to beat. OneNote provides all its features at no charge for individuals. You just need a Microsoft account to download and use the application (the account is also free).


Businesses that implement Microsoft Office 365 already have OneNote available as a bundled function, at no additional cost. Business pricing for OneDrive storage is still very affordable and reliable.


Ease Of Use

Anyone familiar with Microsoft product functionality such as the Ms Office suite of products will have no problems at all getting comfortable with OneNote for Mac. All the familiar ribbon functions are there to create, edit, and view notebooks and sections.


With OneNote, you can just position on the page where you want your text, and start keying (or pasting images, or dropping spreadsheets into your note). With a touch-sensitive device, you can even include freehand notes or sketches.


Attach relevant links to text or images quickly and easily, by selecting the information or object to be linked, click, and choose Insert>Link. Paste in the link address and click OK. It’s that simple.


OneNote is just an easy application that will boost your productivity and facilitate future searching and sharing.


Synching And Sharing

OneNote’s huge productivity feature is that by saving your data in Microsoft OneDrive, it is quickly available to all your devices, whether at home, at the office, or on the go.


Sharing features provide collaboration with other team or family members. Multiple parties can access and edit notebooks remotely, sharing ideas and keeping everyone up-to-date with the latest information. You can easily keep track of your synch processing by right-clicking the notebook name, then select the arrow to the right of the name. That will reveal when it was last synched, and other valuable information.


Password protection can prevent edits by unauthorized parties, and secure information can be hidden from view. Protection can now be provided at the section level, not just an entire notebook.


Want to do more than just grant access to the notebook? OneNote for Mac offers the ability to send the page you have open directly to other parties via email or as a PDF.


Search functions allow you to find relevant notes when you need them, quickly and easily. Use the search box at the right edge of your tabs for the section, and use the magnifying glass to search. You can select the range of your search to include the current page, section, notebook, or all notebooks.  


Getting Started

There is a handy Windows-based tool which exports your Evernote contents into a file that can be imported into OneNote. Be advised though – notebooks from Evernote will create all new OneNote notebooks, pages are still transformed into OneNote pages, and Evernote tags become sections in OneNote.


Having completed the migration, you are likely to find that some reorganization is required to get the results you want in OneNote.

Should OneNote Be Your Go-to App?

Microsoft is continually enhancing OneNote’s functionality and usability, and you just can’t beat a program that packs so much power into a free application. OneNote for Mac is available on the Mac App Store, and you can download OneNote for iOS directly from the App Store.


OneNote’s most recent updates have enhanced the consistency of presentation and navigation across Mac and iOS, to make it easier than ever to move from one platform to another. Many who have converted from Evernote to OneNote find the switch well worth the effort in learning a new application.


With the popularity of this product, Microsoft appears committed to regular updates, as evidenced by features and usability that have been provided recently. This establishes OneNote for Mac as a productivity tool you can count on now, and in the future.


With such features as automatic saving, synchronization, and collaboration, you may find OneNote to be your go-to solution for note-taking and storage, replacing alternatives such as Evernote for your daily use.

 


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