Safari May Be Most Popular, But Experts Say MS Edge Most Useful Browser

There’s a lot to love about Microsoft’s offering

  • Apple’s Safari Browser now has more users than Microsoft Edge.
  • Experts say that Edge has new AI features worth checking out.
  • Safari might be a better choice for users worried about security.
Someone using Safari on a MacBook Air.

Unsplash / Mockup Photos

Apple is narrowly winning the browser battle for the hearts and clicks of users, but experts say that rival Microsoft Edge has features worth trying. 

Apple's Safari has retaken the lead over Microsoft Edge to become the world's second most popular desktop browser, according to StatCounter. Safari is used on 11.87 percent of desktop computers, 0.87 percent more than Edge, which comes in at 11 percent. 

"Edge is known for its speed and performance, making it a great choice for users who want a fast and reliable browsing experience," Piyush Tripathi, a software engineer for Square, told Lifewire in an email interview. "It also has a clean and modern interface that is easy to navigate, making it a great choice for users who are new to web browsing."

Browser Battles

Apple and Microsoft are locked in a ferocious competition for users. Last year, Edge beat Safari for second place by less than one percent margin, thanks to positive reviews.

"Safari is known for its security and privacy features, making it a good choice for users who are concerned about their online safety," Tripathi said. "It also has a lot of useful features, such as the ability to save and organize bookmarks and a built-in reader mode that makes it easier to read articles online."

Safari also has many tools that make it an excellent choice for users who want to customize their browsing experience, Tripathi added. For example, it has a built-in password manager that makes storing and managing passwords easy, and a solid set of extensions, such as AdBlock, that can enhance the browsing experience. 

"It also has tight integration with Apple's ecosystem, which is great for Mac and iPhone users," he added. 

Edge’s Edge

While Safari offers solid performance, Edge has new features that make it a great choice for users who want to stay up-to-date with the latest web technologies, Tripathi said. The browser has a built-in PDF reader that makes it easy to view and edit PDF files and a range of tools that work seamlessly with the Windows platform and make it easier to share content with others.

One area where Edge is winning over Safari is in the fast-growing field of artificial intelligence (AI). Microsoft recently announced that it's boosting its Edge features that rely on Bing search powered by AI. The browser's Bing feature will change from single-use search sessions to multi-session productivity experiences with chat history and persistent chats within Edge.

"Looking to the future, we can expect to see new browser enhancements, especially related to artificial intelligence, that will make it easier for users to browse the web," Tripathi said. "For example, we may see more advanced security features that make it easier to protect personal information online, as well as new AI-based tools that make it easier to collaborate and share content with others."

Someone cooking in a kitchen with a laptop open on the counter showing a recipe in Microsoft Edge.

Windows / Unsplash

The new Edge update adds several visual search features, including the ability to search using images. It also allows users to generate charts, graphs, and other visual answers as part of a search. Microsoft plans to expand its Image Creation Tool, enabling users to create images through chat prompts, to support more than 100 languages.

As part of the upgrade, Edge gets a sleeker look with rounded corners, organized containers, and semi-transparent visual elements. The browser will also soon support plugins. 

For example, if you're researching the latest restaurant for dinner in Bing chat, it will leverage OpenTable to help you find and book a reservation. Or, with Wolfram|Alpha, you can create powerful visualizations and get answers to complex science, math, and human-curated data-based questions directly from Bing chat. 

But the most interesting browser might not be available from Apple or Microsoft. Will Ward, the founder of Industry Arabic, pointed to Arc Browser, which he called "an impressive new browser built with Chromium that is entirely focused on customization and creating user-specific workspaces. It's only available on Apple devices for the moment, but the start-up browser company really sets the bar high for customization."

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