For many, the default mobile browser that happens to be on their phones is more than good enough. Chrome on Android and Safari on iOS work very well, after all, and many people do not even know everything about the features those two or other mobile browsers can offer them.
In this article, we will explore some of the reasons why you may want to stick with the default mobile browsers as well as some of the features you may find elsewhere. Because this post is aimed at beginners, it will not be as in-depth as some of you may hope.
Even so, we hope that you will gain a better understanding of what different mobile browsers can offer you and perhaps conduct additional research from here.
What do Chrome and Safari really offer you?
The built-in browsers of Android and iOS – Chrome and Safari, respectively – are more than good enough for day-to-day web browsing. First and foremost, they are included in the operating system and integrate exceptionally well with your system account.
On Android, Chrome syncs up everything to your Google account, allowing you to easily switch between devices and retain everything you have done on that browser. So if you use Chrome on the desktop, for instance, then you will have instant access to your personal items.
This includes obvious things like bookmarks but also background items like browsing history and even passwords. Google’s Smart Lock works great in most parts of Android and Chrome is a particularly good example so you will never need to enter your login credentials twice.
The same things apply on the iOS side of things. The built-in Safari browser works wonders, especially if you are also using other Apple products such as a Mac. The browser itself is extremely fast and responsive, and any web links are automatically directed to Safari, making it the go-to choice for iOS.
Of course, there are always some restrictions or features you may be missing by using either browser. If you have an Android and a Mac, for instance, you may feel compelled to use Chrome on your Mac despite Safari being a great desktop browser.
If you own an iPhone but run Windows on your desktop, then you will be missing out on sync features because Safari does not exist on Microsoft’s platform. Compromises have to be made, especially if you are a casual user who is unlikely to jailbreak or root their device in order to circumvent the restrictions set out by Apple and Google.
What can other mobile browsers offer?
This is where things start to get interesting. The app stores of both Android and iOS feature dozens of great mobile browsers which sometimes offer fundamentally different experiences than Chrome and Safari.
Security is an important thing to note. Chrome and Safari are both controlled entirely by Google and Apple, respectively, but that does not mean they are the most secure offerings. Other, more customizable browsers will allow you to configure settings not found in either of these two browsers.
Customizability is another thing. If you do not like the look or feel of Safari and Chrome, then you will be able to have access to more customizable browsers. For instance, you may want a browser optimized for one-handed use, or a browser with an entirely different theme.
What are some of the third-party options?
A quick search on iTunes and Google Play will reveal dozens of different browsers. Most of the top offerings are safe bets, which means you should at least install some and try them out before settling.
For instance, Endless Browser on iOS is focused on anonymity and privacy. Some of its features including auto-blocking popups and other items which might affect security and privacy. The same goes for Brave Browser and Onion Browser, with the latter being the best option for the Tor network on iOS too.
And while Apple allows system-wide ad-blocking apps on iTunes, Google forbids it. So if you are on a non-rooted device on Android, you will either have to get a system-wide ad-blocking app outside Google Play (and usually pay for it) or use a third-party browser instead.
A few months ago, Google made the unfortunate choice of blocking Google Sync features on all third-party browsers, removing the appeal of many alternatives and essentially forcing a lot of people to use Chrome again.
Of course, that does not mean there is no other reason to use a third-party browser.
A popular option, for instance, is to use Firefox. The reason is that you can use Firefox on your desktop as well and the mobile browser will sync with the desktop version, exactly as it happens with the two Chrome versions.
The options on both platforms are quite varied so you will most certainly find something you enjoy. Do you mostly use your browser to read articles? Then Flynx may be your best bet. Do you want something that looks like Chrome but comes with a default ad-blocker? Then Brave Browser may do the trick.
If you are wondering what other mobile browsers exist besides Safari and Chrome or if those two are simply insufficient for you, then you should start searching for third-party offerings right away.
Both iOS and Android have some fantastic third-party mobile browsers which are well worth the try. While you will have to deal with some inconveniences, like being unable to use a third-party browser as the default one on iOS, you will gain access to other features not found in the integrated browsers.