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The Best Browsers for Mac


Joanna Yuen

Marketing & Content Specialist - 28 Feb, 2024


If you follow our blog, you know some of our best advice is never to take your browser for granted. It’s easy to hop onto Google Chrome and save time exploring other browsers, but to do so would be doing yourself a disservice.  That's because you have options for your browser, and the one you use can make a big difference in everything you do on your device. Browsers all have different privacy, security, performance, and power efficiency degrees. Some of them even have additional features that are unique to their platform and work better with certain devices than others.

Which browser is the most helpful for Mac users? Here, we are breaking down the best browsers to use with your Mac, along with some important information about how to choose the right browser for you. Keep reading to learn which browser can make the most impact on your Mac and the unique ways you can benefit from switching your browser today.

Browser Performance: Mac vs. PC

No matter which browser you plan to use, it’s important to remember that it will affect anything from searching for information to interacting with other online platforms. Though most browsers are similar in nature and generally perform the same across different operating systems, there are some key differences in how browsers function on a Mac vs. on a PC. In this post, we’re talking specifically about Mac users and why the browser being used makes a difference. Here are some of the different ways that a browser affects a Mac:

Mac hardware optimization

As mentioned, browsers are often designed with one operating system in mind. That doesn’t mean they plan to ignore other devices, but that they generally perform better for a certain one based on specific hardware configurations and the necessary capabilities. Macs have their own unique hardware architecture, such as Apple-designed processors and graphics cards. That means that browsers that are specifically designed for Mac hardware will be better able to take advantage of these components, leading to better efficiency and overall performance. Using such browsers, you can expect faster page loading times, easier scrolling, and better overall responsiveness on your device.

MacOS integration

Along with the hardware already mentioned, the distinct operating system on a Mac offers a range of features and functionalities that aren’t found on other platforms. A browser designed for macOS will take advantage of such features to improve the overall user experience. For example, Safari, the default browser that comes on Mac, is designed to integrate seamlessly with macOS. You can find features like Handoff, which allows users to easily switch between the Mac and other Apple devices, or system-wide dark mode, which can reduce eye strain and improve readability in low-light conditions.

Security and privacy

Browsers are critical to ensuring the safety of your online activities. Macs are known for robust security features, and browsers designed for macOS can leverage these features to provide enhanced protection against things like malware, phishing attacks, and other cyber-security threats. Additionally, Mac-friendly browsers often prioritize user privacy by implementing features like intelligent tracking prevention, which blocks third-party trackers from collecting data about a user's browsing habits.

Retina display optimization

Macs are known for their high-resolution Retina displays. They offer incredibly sharp and detailed visuals, which users find beneficial in many ways. Browsers that are optimized for Mac can take better advantage of these displays to deliver a visually strong browsing experience. Rendering pages with greater clarity and precision, users will see that text, images, and videos appear crisper and more vibrant. This is particularly beneficial when browsing websites that rely heavily on visual content, such as photography portfolios, online store set-up, design software, etc. Since many creatives tend to use Macs, there is a higher likelihood of using image-heavy programs that can benefit from retina display optimizations.

Accessibility features

One benefit of Macs is their comprehensive accessibility features, which make it easier for users with disabilities to navigate and interact with their devices. Browsers designed for macOS can leverage these accessibility features to provide a more inclusive browsing experience. For example, they can offer built-in voice control, screen reader support, and keyboard shortcuts that are specifically tailored for users with different accessibility needs. This allows individuals with visual impairments, motor disabilities, or other challenges to access online content more seamlessly.

Most browsers generally perform similarly across operating systems. They may even be advertised as having distinct advantages over others, but there are actually distinct advantages to using browsers optimized for a Mac computer (when using a Mac). They are more likely to offer unique hardware architecture, macOS integration, security, privacy features, and other optimizations. Choosing a Mac-optimized browser is smart for faster performance, enhanced security, improved visual quality, and a better overall experience.

Related Post: The Best Browsers for PC


Advantages of Using a Browser Optimized for Mac

As mentioned above, there is a difference in how browsers perform on a Mac vs. a PC. In each case, it makes sense to choose a browser that is optimized for your specific machine and operating system. When it comes to using a Mac, choose a browser that is designed to work well in the macOS operating system to experience:

  1. Enhanced performance - We’ve covered this a bit already, but browsers that are specifically optimized for Mac hardware can take advantage of the unique architecture and capabilities of Mac computers. This optimization results in improved performance, such as faster page loading times, smoother scrolling, and more responsive interactions. By utilizing the hardware resources efficiently, these browsers can deliver a seamless browsing experience on Macs.
  2. Better energy efficiency - Macs often tout their energy-efficient design, and browsers optimized for Mac hardware can further contribute to this aspect. These browsers are designed to minimize power consumption, allowing users to browse the web for longer periods without draining the battery quickly. By optimizing resource usage and reducing unnecessary background processes, they help prolong battery life and optimize energy efficiency.
  3. Integration with macOS capabilities - Macs come with a wide range of unique features and functionalities offered by the macOS operating system. Browsers that are ideal for Mac hardware can seamlessly integrate with these capabilities, providing a more cohesive and intuitive user experience. For example, we talked about the Handoff feature above, which is unique to the macOS system and can be taken advantage of in the Mac ecosystem.
  4. Improved reliability - Browsers optimized for Mac hardware come with certain assurances for Mac users. They undergo rigorous testing and optimization processes to ensure stability on Mac computers. They are designed to work seamlessly with the specific hardware configurations found in Macs, reducing the likelihood of crashes, freezes, or compatibility issues. This results in a more stable browsing experience, minimizing disruptions and enhancing user satisfaction. In short: if you use a browser that says it performs well on a Mac, chances are that’s been proven many times.

There are many advantages to using a browser created to work well within the macOS ecosystem. All of the features we listed above (like retina display optimization and more accessibility options) come with unique benefits. In general, you can expect better overall performance, more energy efficiency, and stronger reliability from a browser optimized for Mac vs. using the same browser you use for your PC.

Related Post: How to Organize Your Mac or PC Desktop Computer


The Best Browsers for Mac Performance

Hopefully you can see how the right browser makes a big impact on performance. So what are the browsers that a Mac user should be using? There are several browsers available for Mac that offer great performance and a seamless browsing experience. Here are five popular browsers known for their compatibility and optimization for Mac:


Offering complete access to all of your online accounts, Shifts allows you to connect everything you need at a given time and present it all in one cohesive view. Using Shift’s dedicated spaces, you can keep personal things separate and only access your work-related accounts during your actual working hours. Shift connects with other apps that you’re likely to use, like Slack or WhatsApp, easily. Plus, you can personalize the browsing experience with different themes, layouts, and notification preferences. You can also count on:

  1. Centralized workspaces where you can access multiple email or other app accounts in one place. You can also create custom workflows or integrate with other productivity tools like Trello.
  2. Seamless account switching that allows movement between different email accounts and other apps without the burden of logging in and out every single time.
  3. Prioritized security through secure authentication protocols and encryption.


Safari is the default browser on macOS, and it is highly optimized for Mac hardware and software. A reliable and feature-rich web browser, users enjoy the fast and secure browsing experience. The seamless integration with Apple devices makes it a popular choice with Mac users. Here are some of the specific reasons why Safari is a good choice for Mac users:

  1. Safari seamlessly integrates with macOS features, providing a cohesive and intuitive browsing experience. It supports features like Handoff, iCloud Keychain, and Continuity, allowing users to seamlessly switch between devices and access their browsing data.
  2. Safari is known for its energy efficiency, which helps prolong battery life on Mac laptops.
  3. Safari prioritizes user privacy and security with features like Intelligent Tracking Prevention, which blocks third-party trackers from collecting data about users' browsing activities.

Google Chrome

This popular browser is known for its speed and stability. Utilizing a multi-process architecture, efficient JavaScript engine, and hardware acceleration, the browser delivers fast and responsive experiences. Many users like Chrome because it offers a wide range of extensions along with integrating well with other Google products. Here are some of the specific things that make Google Chrome a powerful browser for your PC:

  1. Multi-process architecture - We mentioned this above, but what it really means is that each tab runs as a separate process. This design is helpful for improving stability and isolating processes, which prevents a single tab or extension from impacting the overall browser experience.
  2. Chrome’s JavaScript engine is designed to be highly efficient, and users say it offers a fast and responsive web browsing experience.
  3. One of the best things about Chrome is that it is part of Google’s larger suite of products, which means it integrates seamlessly with programs like Google Docs and several other important extensions.

Mozilla Firefox

Firefox is a privacy-focused browser known for robust performance and fast page loading. Built on a Quantum engine, Firefox uses parallel processing to distribute tasks across multiple CPU cores. All of that means the performance is more reliable and quicker than many other browsers. This browser also prioritizes low memory usage and includes automatic tracking protection for advanced privacy and a better browsing experience. Mozilla users also enjoy the following:

  1. Low memory usage - Firefox has made substantial improvements in memory management. You can reduce memory consumption and improve performance, particularly when multiple tabs are open.
  2. Built-in tracking protection helps to block unwanted ads and trackers while leading to enhanced privacy.
  3. The Firefox Browser automatically blocks known third party trackers, social media trackers, crypto miners and fingerprint scammers from collecting your data.


Opera has a reputation for being feature-rich while emphasizing speed and efficiency. Its proprietary Turbo mode compresses web pages to reduce data usage and improve load times. This makes it ideal for users who have to deal with a slower internet connection. Opera also has a built-in ad blocker and battery saver feature which can extend the battery life of PCs. Here is a bit more information about Opera’s unique features:

  1. Turbo mode - This mode compresses web pages before they are delivered to the browser, which can be really impactful when dealing with slower internet connections.
  2. Battery saver - One of the more popular features of Opera, this function reduces the power consumption from the browser, which will prolong laptop battery life.
  3. The built-in ad blocker not only speeds up page loading times, but prevents the loading of ads or other unwanted content so you have more control over your browsing experience.

Related Post: Mastering Browser Features to Supercharge Your Day


Shift: Help Your Mac to Do More

Shift is the only browser to integrate all of your web apps into one seamless online experience. Whether you use a PC or a Mac, you can connect all of your web apps and email accounts to Shift, then access everything you use daily from one window. This puts an end to the continuous logging in and out that can happen when managing different apps and accounts. You can even set up custom workspaces that have the platforms you use most, so that you can focus on what you need to for work or personal purposes. Shift offers other powerful features that makes it a perfect browser for using with any device, including:

  • Complete access to all of your email accounts - Connect all of your Gmail, Outlook, and Office 365 accounts and manage everything from one centralized window.
  • The ability to use all of your favorite apps - WhatsApp, Slack, Messenger—we have everything you need to get it done. Browse our Apps Directory, connect yours, and switch between them easily.
  • Chrome extension connections - Use all of your favorite Chrome extensions like Boomerang, Grammarly, and so much more. You can browse our app directory to see all of the Chrome extensions that integrate with Shift.
  • Easier tab management - Access the web from inside Shift. Manage your tabs and organize them by account for a better browsing experience.
  • Expanded search capabilities - Save time and find exactly what you're looking for across any of your Mail, Calendar, and Drive accounts. This is extremely helpful for streamlining search and keeping what you need right at your fingertips.
  • More focused browsing with Workspaces - Create a Workspace for strictly business and another for weekend plans— with entirely separate tabs, apps, and bookmarks. Workspaces are a focused collection of platforms and accounts. Create a custom Workspace with the exact tools you need to be efficient online, including apps, extensions, bookmarks, email, and more. Workspaces allow for more collaboration and focus which makes you even more efficient online.

Many users say that they experience improved work/life balance by taking advantage of Shift’s powerful features. This might seem like a stretch, but really, marketers or other professionals who manage multiple accounts can seriously benefit from using the Shift browser. Should you forget to toggle between accounts,  you might post to the wrong account. Or, you would need to constantly go back and forth between personal and work accounts. Using Shift’s dedicated spaces, you can keep personal things separate and only access your work-related accounts during your actual working hours. The rest of the time, it can all be out of sight, out of mind - which is ideal for professionals who want to leave work at work.

If you’re hoping to boost the performance of your Mac, make sure to choose a browser that is designed to optimize the inherent features of your device and operating system. Shift is an innovative browser that was designed with productivity in mind, so it was created to help you do more with your time online. You might also try browsers like Safari that work well with the macOS. Download Shift today and transform your Mac device into a powerful tool.