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Guide: Microsoft Edge vs Safari: Which Browser is best for iOS
Safari is an excellent web browser on iOS. It is tailor-made for the iPhone and iPad, supports ad blocking, and integrates well into the Apple ecosystem. And that alone makes Safari quite formidable in the eyes of its competitors. So, what does Microsoft Edge have? up his sleeve to even think of going neck-and-neck with this beast of a browser?
Apple imposes its WebKit rendering engine on all third-party browsers. Thus, it is practically impossible to gain performance advantage over Safari. So in order to excel, Microsoft Edge really has to offer a lot to stand a chance against Safari. So what’s up? Well, you are going to find out.
Note: iOS closely weaves Safari into the system so you can’t delete it or download it again. On the other hand, you can download and install Microsoft Edge from the App Store, clocking in about 150MB.
User interface and navigation
Both web browsers feature sharp user interfaces, albeit with a slightly different aesthetic. It all depends on what you prefer – Safari’s slightly rounded curves to Edge’s hard edges (no pun intended).
The navigation buttons are conveniently located at the bottom of the screen in both browsers, with finely positioned tab switchers for easy access to switching between tabs.
When it comes to accessing your bookmarks, reading list, and history, Safari offers the ability to get there with a simple tap on the book-shaped icon right next to the tab switch. Oddly, Edge puts it in the top right corner of the screen, which can cause problems when surfing with one hand. Which is a bit weird considering Microsoft could always put it a bit lower.
This is where things get interesting – Edge also has a dedicated browser menu. And instead of relying solely on the tab switcher like in Safari, it offers a super easy way to open both new and InPrivate tabs. Also, the ability to bookmark sites, add pages to the Reading List, and access the Settings panel takes little effort compared to Apple’s browser.back to menu ↑
iOS natively supports ad blocking on Safari, which is a long way from what Google does with Chrome on Android. However, you’ll need to download a third-party content blocker separately – although there are many in the App Store, the whole procedure can be quite confusing.
Furthermore, Apple has many limited ad blockers for third-party browsers in the App Store. That means you have to rely on various solutions to stop ads in browsers such as Chrome for iOS. But not with Edge.
Microsoft has been smart enough to get around Apple’s restrictions by integrating ad-blocking functionality directly into the browser itself. And it is none other than Adblock Plus, one of the best ad blockers in town.
No more messing around with third parties as you just need to make a short visit to the Edge settings screen to block ads. The browser also allows you to whitelist your favorite sites, which is handy feature have around.back to menu ↑
Are you competing for dark mode to get to Safari? Reversing the color scheme on iOS is an option, although it doesn’t work as expected and usually results in terrible artifacts. Not to mention that you have to pass system-wide color inversion to boot.
However, with Edge, you can expect a full-fledged dark theme that you can easily switch to whenever you want. It looks like Microsoft has really gone a step further by applying the theme evenly across every nook and cranny of the browser. Well done!
Note: To enable the dark theme in Edge, go to the Settings screen and tap Dark under Theme. And to clarify: the themes Standard and Light offered are almost the same.back to menu ↑
Manage browsing data
Have you accidentally browsed through something personal on a normal tab? Or are you having specific problems with a site due to an outdated web cache? In Safari, you have to scroll through various menus in the Settings app. The poor implementation will distract you from your browsing experience.
But with Edge, you have everything built right into the browser itself. A quick visit to the Settings panel from the Edge menu should allow you to delete your browsing data in a jiffy.back to menu ↑
Transfer vs Continue on PC
Safari is pretty great if you have a Mac as you can easily continue your browsing activity on the big screen with Handoff. But that feature does not work outside of Apple’s ecosystem.
If you use a PC, Edge has the upper hand. It includes a built-in Continue on PC feature which enables seamless continuation on PC. And to make it even better, you can do that with a simple tap on the Continue on PC icon featured directly in the user interface itself.
That’s not to say you can’t continue browsing on PC via Safari – download the Continue on PC app from the App Store and you can do that from just about any web browser. Edge doesn’t need such additions, though, which is a definite boon.back to menu ↑
Supported platforms and devices
While you can easily sync your browsing history and personal information with other Apple devices, Edge is at the forefront due to the large number of platforms it supports.
Safari only works on macOS and iOS. In comparison, Edge supports Windows 10, iOS and Android. If you want that extra convenience of logging in and continuing to browse from just about anywhere, Edge has the most chances to make that possible. After all, you can find a Windows 10 or Android device pretty much anywhere, right?
Now only if Edge also supports macOS. That would have made the decision much easier.back to menu ↑
Available search engines
Safari offers three search engines by default: Google, Bing, and Yahoo, the first of which is the default. Compare that to Edge, which at first glance only offers Bing, but you can also find Google under Other on the Set up search engine screen.
Both browsers do not feature any built-in way to manually add new search engines. Safari is the default browser on iOS, which means privacy-focused engines such as DuckDuckGo are more likely to be integrated.
In short, Safari supports more search engines and uses Google to instantly generate superior search results.back to menu ↑
Loading sites in desktop mode
Hate restrictive mobile websites? Both browsers feature the ability to load a desktop version of a site. But what if you always want to?
While Safari doesn’t offer any options, Microsoft Edge lets you configure the default user agent to make that happen easily. If you’re using an iPad or iPad Pro, this functionality should be very useful on a larger scale mobile screen.back to menu ↑
Scanning QR codes
QR codes are everywhere. Scan one and you can visit the websites encoded in those codes. Safari requires you to use the Camera app for the actual scanning. With Edge, you can do that right in the browser itself.
Do you see that QR code icon in the search bar of the new tab? Just tap it and you will gain access to a built-in QR scanner. Pretty nice of Microsoft for this small, yet handy feature, just a tap away.back to menu ↑
So, who wins?
It depends. If you’re already deep in the Apple ecosystem, you would naturally find Safari more useful. Syncing things between devices is vital for a seamless experience, and it makes sense to stick with supported devices.
However, Microsoft has really run into multiple Safari weaknesses – a dedicated dark mode, the ability to directly manage browsing data, and better navigation through the user interface is no laughing matter. Already using Edge on a PC or Android? Then consider giving it a try – you can finish up fall in love.
The next up: Also wondering how Microsoft Edge keeps its feet next to the behemoth Chrome on Android? Click on the link below to read all about it.back to menu ↑
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