What's the most secure browser for Mac?

Safari is the default browser on Apple devices. But what’s the most secure browser for Mac? How does Safari compare to other Mac-compatible browsers? In this article: a quick overview of the other browser options for Mac so you can make an informed choice.

Mac browsing safety

What’s the difference between security and privacy? Security mostly means threats to your personal data (sometimes via accounts to sites and apps, or via your WiFi or mobile connection). Things like viruses and malware would count as security risks. Privacy, on the other hand, deals with who can see your personal data (which could mean everything from photos to browsing and search history). Privacy and security sometimes overlap; restricting third-party cookies and trackers can improve both.

One of the reasons Macs are so popular is the operating system (macOS) itself is relatively secure, with a better track record of blocking malware and viruses. This gives any browser on Mac a security edge. But no browser is invulnerable.

Safari automatically blocks most ad pop-ups, and offers a number of options to manage cookies. But Safari doesn’t block ads or third-party trackers. To block this stuff in Safari, you’d need to download one (or more) browser extensions, which bring their own security and privacy risks.

For this reason, many Mac users opt to use a different browser than Safari—a browser with an ad blocker and other security features built-in. (Also note that, as a browser built specifically for Apple devices, Safari lacks the large library of extensions and customizations you’ll find on other browsers.)

Which browser is most secure for Mac?

So what are your options if you’re looking for a more secure browser for Mac? Here’s a quick rundown of the top choices.

Brave

The Brave browser blocks ads and trackers by default. It also blocks fingerprinting and phishing attempts, cross-site cookies, bounce tracking, and a variety of other methods that ad tech will use to track your movements online. And, by blocking all this bloat, the browser is much more performant: pages load up to 3x faster, and you save both device battery and mobile data. Brave is the best browser on the market for combining privacy, security, and speed.

Brave is independent of Big Tech companies, and makes it easy to get started: with one click, you can import extensions, bookmarks, even saved passwords from your old browser.

Brave doesn’t track your browsing or search data. And, unlike Safari, Brave has a built-in integration with Tor anonymous browsing.

Compared with Safari, Brave has all the safety features you want, and some you didn’t even know you needed.

Is Safari safer than Chrome?

Chrome has long been known for its speed, although it’s an open question about how fast it actually is. The bigger concern with Chrome is its security and privacy. Google tracks your browsing history in Chrome, as well as your search history in Google Search, YouTube,  Google Maps, and any other product they offer. Incognito mode doesn’t really improve security or privacy.

If you’re on a Mac and want to keep your data safe, Brave is a much better option than Chrome. If you don’t want to switch to Brave, you’d be better off sticking with Safari.

Is Safari safer than Firefox?

Firefox is a popular browser on both Mac and Windows. It has a big variety of add-ons, allowing you to really personalize your browsing experience. Firefox also makes regular updates, an important part of keeping a browser secure from new and emerging threats.

Firefox is also a popular alternative to Safari, and with good reason—it’s a safe, secure choice, particularly on work computers that might not allow other browsers. Firefox doesn’t offer the full protection of Brave Shields, but it is overall a safer alternative to Safari.

The best browser for Mac

Safari measures up fairly well against a cross-platform browser like Chrome. But it lacks the extra safety and privacy features of privacy-first browsers like Brave. Given Safari’s known shortcomings regarding newer web platform features, many users prefer to switch to a more secure browser. With Shields to block trackers and unwanted ads and an unparalleled emphasis placed on your security and privacy, Brave is the best choice for a secure browser for your Mac.

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