While it may seem strange to argue about the best of web browsers for any platform – after all, everything that exists to surf the web – you may be surprised at how heavy the debate is between users of various platforms and different browsers. These days, it doesn't matter which platform you're on; from desktop to mobile phones to tablets, there are a variety of browser options available to choose from. And almost everyone has their strengths and weaknesses that make them ambiguous or hated (looking at you, O 'Internet Explorer – you could rest in peace!).
Windows and Mac differ significantly here, thanks to the default browser provided (discounting Windows 10 and its Edge browser, of course). With OS X, you get a very, very ready to use browser, the powerful Safari and, for most users, it will be all they need. This is in stark contrast to Windows Internet Explorer, which basically only activated to download an alternative browser and do it with forever. However, even on a Mac, there are a number of other options available for the browser that you can use if you want a different experience or if you have needs that are not met by Safari (we'll talk about it later). So, here are our picks for the best browsers for Mac OS X, with the best number and the remainder following suit.
Before we get to the current list, a small disclaimer: in this list you will find many common names, which may even lead you to reflect on why. In fact, it is difficult to name the best Mac OS X browsers without these big names, but since they have all their merits and demerits, we will discuss them all one by one.
This would not be a surprise, but without a doubt, the native Safari the best browser for OS X. Over the years, Apple has greatly optimized its browser to work best in its ecosystem, and while difficult to recommend Safari as the best choice for Windows, there is nothing better for Macs. If you are using a Macbook, Safari really shines, as this is the only browser that you can use freely without compromising battery life. Safari page rendering incredibly fast, stability unmatched on OS X and the existing feature set expandable thanks to a decent extension gallery. It also comes with decent bookmark management and the Reading List allows you to save web pages for offline viewing. Similar to its mobile counterpart, Safari for OS X also features a Reader view which removes the clutter from web pages and keeps only the relevant content for easy reading. Safari's stellar password management is better than any other native offer from another browser.
The extension gallery also the area where Safari falls a bit, since the number of available extensions does not come close to the Chrome extensions of the Firefox add-ons. Extensions are also not very easy to consult, with Chrome doing a much better job in this area. Oh, and Safari doesn't even support Flash, so if you frequent web pages that require outdated support, look elsewhere.
Engine: Apple's proprietary WebKit
Download link: included in OS X
It was a very close call between Firefox and Google Chrome for second place on our list, with Firefox barely outperforming Chrome just for the battery. Personally, I think it's an important deciding factor, seeing as one of the major strengths of OS X is the great timing of the battery it offers. Otherwise, Firefox offers a really robust feature set with one of the best tabs available on any browser. Fast page rendering and additional gallery to say the least impressive. Firefox also shines in download management, where its native download manager eliminates the need for any third-party solution that you yourself will stick to in both Safari and Chrome.
The browser also supports all standard features such as bookmark management, private browsing, Web module management, a capable editing console, spell checking and site-based security configurations, to name a few. Since available for different platforms, you can also create a Mozilla account and use it on all your devices for a smooth browsing experience.
License: MPL 2.0
Download link: Firefox
3. Google Chrome
For me, Google Chrome is a bittersweet experience on OS X. Before praising Chrome for anything, let me clarify that it really kills your battery on a Macbook, and this is one of its biggest pitfalls. To put things in perspective, a one-hour Google Hangout in Safari with video drains about 20% of the battery while keeping the internal temperature rather stable. The same in Chrome will drain almost 60% of the battery with temperatures approaching 80 C, driving the Macbook fan crazy. In the long run, this could seriously damage your hardware, so be warned.
This usage scenario, however, doesn't mean that Chrome is all bad news on OS X. If you are really invested in Google Apps (like me), you will never find a smoother experience on any other web browser. Chrome has one of the strongest extension galleries that can improve and greatly improve the utility of your web browser. Complete it all with the plethora of Chrome apps available and you have a good deal at hand. Also, if you're a web developer, Chrome's inspection console and developer tools offer the most detailed page analysis of all the browsers I've tried. The additional ability to access Chrome with your Google Account on various platforms makes using Chrome a breeze. Then there are also the blocked tabs; something I miss a lot in Safari despite having favored overall.
The bottom line for Chrome, use it. Give it a try and make your own decision. Just don't do too much multimedia consumption on this browser, or you'll kill the battery faster than you can say battery itself.
License: BSD (Chromium executable)
Download link: Google Chrome
Maxthon all about cloud browsing. Confused? This browser is cross-platform service basically allows a uniform browsing experience on all your devices, be it Android, iPhone, iPad, Windows PC or Mac / Linux, etc. You can register for a Maxthon account and bring all your browsing with you, from open tabs to favorites and passwords. The thing that sets Maxthon apart from its cloud service, which allows you to easily send text, images, URLs and tabs from one device to another. Likewise, cloud sharing makes it possible to share all of this with friends. Another stellar feature of Maxthon is drag & drop and support for unique gestures, where, for example, you can select a word or phrase and drag it onto the URL bar to start a quick search in the default search engine. Gestures allow you to quickly perform actions such as updating, previous tab, next tab, etc. Using the mouse or trackpad.
In addition to a good amount of extensions available (although nothing comparable to Chrome), you also have built-in Flash support, which makes it a viable choice especially for OS X where native Safari simply abandons the protocol. The best thing is the clean interface of Maxthon and you have a good competitor that doesn't kill the battery as much as Chrome does.
Maxthon for OS X available on the Mac App Store and the only browser on our list that can be obtained in this way. A classic version also available through the official website, if the App Store does not work for some reason.
Engine: Blink, Trident
Download link: Maxthon Official | Mac App Store
Opera made a name for itself later in the day because of the quick experience of fast browsing and quick tabs, but that has become a thing of history since other browsers have achieved quite well. Today, Opera does not bring anything new to the table, but it does the job and does it well. The pages load quickly, the minimalist interface, has support for the extension (even if the number of extensions is quite limited) and the browser itself is safe. If you use Opera on your phone or tablet, you'd prefer this on your Mac as it offers synchronization of everything from tabs to favorites and passwords. Regular counting all l: search bar, download management, spell checking, private browsing, configurations by site and everything.
A distinctive feature of Opera is an embedded RSS reader of sorts, which allows you to keep up with the latest events in topics of your interest. The quick access area in the upper right corner of the screen (right next to the URL bar) is also quite rich and allows you to enter whatever you consider most important for your work (or free time, we are not judging ).
Download link: Opera Official
If you liked the look of the Microsoft Edge browser that came with Windows 10, why it's worth doing. Transparency really adds a clean touch to the entire browsing experience, offering a clutter-free display on the web. Well, Yandex distributes it with steroids for OS X. If the graphic aspect is your first priority, there is practically no other browser that can hold a candle on Yandex. With its elegant appearance and the extremely minimalist URL bar at the bottom of the page (yes, unconventional, but really interesting), you can only see the website and nothing else, providing the simplest browsing experience.
However, this does not mean that Yandex lacks functionality. The best part of this browser that controls and other elements only appear when they are needed, so if you were to move the mouse cursor to the top of the page, for example, you will see all the usual faded toolbars and menus. New tabs are arranged neatly at the bottom of the page. In fact, browsing with Yandex generally gives the impression of using and interacting with an app rather than a website, and it makes sense, given how Yandex exists in all its splendor even for the main mobile platforms.
I highly recommend trying Yandex. If pure navigation is what you are looking for, there is simply no competition.
Download link: Yandex Browser
OmniWeb difficult to recommend to anyone, unless you are using OS X Mountain Lion or older, where it works really well. The browser reports the reliable name of the Omni Group, but the project has been interrupted and therefore will not work well with Mavericks or El Capitan. However, if you're rocking an old Mac that has difficulty managing the recent browsers we've talked about above (and frankly, Safari was a problem with those versions), you can definitely get OmniWeb out for a spin. The biggest thing about OmniWeb that you will notice the first time the obsolete interface, but normal that is not the modern operating system. The browser works perfectly, but you will feel the obsolete almost everywhere. Even the full regular feature count here, with the only thing missing is a private browsing mode.
In a nutshell, if you're rocking OS X 10.9 Mavericks or higher on your Mac, look at the others on our list (despite OmniWeb officially supporting new versions). If you're using an older Mac with Mountain Lion or not, OmniWeb is a good choice.
License: proprietary, LGPL
Download link: Official OmniWeb
Do you think you have a recommendation that we should have included here? Leave us a comment below.