As part of my never-ending quest to exercise more control over my online life I switched from Safari to Firefox for daily browsing– Mac, iPhone, iPad. Actually, I switched to Firefox on the Mac a month or so ago, but only made the jump to Firefox on iOS last week with the latest update.
Why? Privacy and security.
Back to the why.
For the Mac, the change to Firefox was based upon a sweet spot combo of privacy and speed. Good gawd, Firefox on the Mac is fast– visibly faster on most websites, including mine, than Safari, and definitely faster than Google Chrome or Opera (which I use from time to time, thanks to the built-in VPN– virtual private network.
Firefox developer Mozilla can see the future is about privacy and both Google’s Chrome and Apple’s Safari just don’t do enough. Google’s business model is advertising and tracking. Apple makes a few billion dollars in profits each year by putting Google’s search engine as default, so I consider the Mac maker somewhat complicit in all the tracking and privacy issues these days.
Not only is Firefox on Mac very fast, it manages memory better, uses less RAM, and can open dozens of websites in tabs without a hiccup. I’m old school and open many tabs and I hate it that Safari can’t handle the load. Firefox has a Private Browsing mode that forgets your browsing history. It uses an advanced version of the tracking protection in Safari to advertisers from following you across different websites. And, of course, Firefox has a large library of extensions and add-ons.
For the iPhone and iPad I use two Firefox browsers. Firefox for iOS– the newest version has similar built-in privacy functions to the Mac version. And, Firefox Focus which is a stripped down, ultra simple, very fast browser that features always-on privacy features, including ad blocking. The best part is a single Erase button near the top which erases the browsing history with a single tap.
Now, between Safari on Mac and iOS vs. Chrome on Mac or iOS, I would go with Safari because Apple’s business model varies from Google’s tracking model. What bothers me about Safari is Apple’s continued use of Google as the default search engine. Yes, we can easily change the default to Bing or DuckDuckGo or something else– but what else is there? Apple needs to get out of bed with Google.
That’s why I switched from Safari to Firefox.