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Firefox vs. Safari: Which Browser Is Better?

Firefox vs. Safari: Which Browser Is Better?

Key Points

  • Firefox is available on almost every platform, while Safari is limited to Apple devices.
  • Safari has a seamless and intuitive design, especially on Apple devices.
  • Firefox prioritizes privacy and security with features like total cookie protection and blocking third-party tracking cookies.
  • Both Firefox and Safari have similar features and can be synced across devices, but Safari is more tightly integrated into Apple’s ecosystem.
  • Firefox has a much larger selection of extensions compared to Safari.

Chrome may be the most popular internet browser on the planet, but it’s not the only option. Firefox vs. Safari pits two of the better alternatives against one another to see which comes out on top. Each brings something unique to the tablet, and you will find plenty of common ground between the browsers. There are some important differences, however.

Firefox vs. Safari: Side-by-Side Comparison

FirefoxSafari
DeveloperMozillaApple
ReleasedNovember 9, 2004January 7, 2003
Operating SystemsWindows, Linux, macOS, Android, iOSmacOS, iOS, iPadOS
LicenseMPL 2.0Freeware, GNU LGPL

Safari vs. Firefox: What’s the Difference?

Before we get into what’s different with these web browsers, we’re going to briefly discuss what’s the same. Both browsers are available for PCs and mobile devices and are designed with security in mind. Those methods vary by device to a degree, but the developers are respected, and the software well-received.

Safari is slightly older than Firefox, and both web browsers receive frequent updates. They are lightweight, speedy, and free to use, but that’s where the similarities end. 

Compatibility

The biggest difference between Firefox vs. Safari in our browser battle is compatibility. It’s an area where Firefox is a clear winner, and it’s not particularly close. Mozilla’s popular web browser is available on almost every platform you can imagine, while Apple keeps Safari a little closer to home.

If you want to try Safari, you’ll need to own an Apple-branded device. A MacBook or desktop system can run the PC version of Safari, and there’s a mobile port for iPhones and iPads. Want to run Safari on a PC with Windows? You can, but you’ll need to download an antiquated version. Apple stopped making the browser for Windows PCs in 2012 after a five-year run.

In comparison, you can run Firefox on any of Apple’s computers or PCs that run Windows. It’s also available for Linux-based builds, where it’s often included as a default browser. You can use the Firefox browser on an iPhone or Android smartphone as well.

User Interface

All web browsers have a similar set of features whether you use Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Edge. The design and where things are located varies wildly, especially between Apple and Mozilla. The experience differs by platform, but on desktops, Safari is hard to beat.

Apple is known for incorporating that “Apple vibe” into their products, whether it’s a charger, earbuds, or software. The first time you fire up Safari on an iMac or MacBook Air, you’ll appreciate the browser’s seamless style. Everything is easy to access, and those color-coded dots come in handy. Firefox can feel a little plain by comparison, but it is just as simple to use.

Things are a little more even with the company’s mobile browsers, although Apple still stands out. Even the customization menu has the familiar toggles and is incredibly intuitive to use. Firefox’s mobile browser is easy on the eyes, and you can make it more like Safari by moving the address bar.

Overall, design is a matter of preference if you’re on a device that uses Apple’s operating system. If you are considering a browser for Windows, Linux, or Android, you’ll get used to Firefox’s design.

Brave vs Firefox
Firefox can seem a little plain by comparison, but it is just as simple to use as Safari.

Privacy

Keeping your identity and personal details safe is important online, whether you’re browsing the web or shopping online. The latter is something millions of people do each day and a reason why web security is big business. Both Safari and Firefox can keep you safe online, but only one browser was designed with privacy in mind.

From total cookie protection to the ability to block crypto mining scripts, Firefox can do a little bit of everything. It blocks third-party tracking cookies by default, along with social trackers. Under the hood, is where you can really dig into things and turn up security to include fingerprinters’ and other areas of concern.

Safari was designed for privacy, but Apple has improved that aspect with every release of its browser. While it doesn’t have quite as many bells and whistles as Firefox, it covers all the “key” areas. Both are easy to navigate, but Firefox is easier for beginners who may not understand specific settings. Firefox has the edge over Safari with security and privacy, but it’s much closer than it was in previous years.

Features

On the surface, internet browsers seem like simple pieces of software. You can type a web address into the search bar to head out on the net and bookmark pages to set favorites. With Firefox vs. Safari, we found that the browsers have a nearly identical set of features.

If you want to open a dozen tabs, you can do that with both browsers. There is also a Privacy mode for discreet browsing, themes, and a variety of tools to customize your experience. You can sync both browsers across multiple devices, although you’re limited with Apple due to compatibility.

That’s a negative if you own devices on multiple operating systems, but Apple has an answer for that. Their browser is tightly integrated into their devices, which makes syncing and saving in their ecosystem a breeze. We consider this a draw as web browsers have very similar features, including extensions.

Extensions

One of the best ways to extend the capabilities of any web browser is through extensions. It’s something Chrome users love, and a feature you can find on all the best web browsers. The open-source nature of Firefox has made it a popular option for developers, which means there are loads of great extensions.

Firefox’s extensions are broken down into more than a dozen categories. There are simple extensions that handle media along with ones for news, shopping, and social media. There are almost 5,000 extensions in the social media and communication category alone, and even more that deal with appearance.

Safari also has its fair share of extensions. You can find add-ons that deal with security, social media, and appearance on their browser. Apple’s selection of extensions pales in comparison to Mozilla’s, however. You can find most of the popular options that are available on Firefox or Chrome, but Apple keeps a much tighter lid on things than its competitors.

Apps on an iPhone home screen
Safari has add-ons for security, social media, and appearance.

Firefox vs. Safari: 7 Must-Know Facts

  • You can’t use Safari on a PC running Windows or Linux, but you can use Firefox on PCs, Macs, and Linux machines.
  • Safari and Firefox have a nearly identical set of features.
  • Firefox has the edge over Safari when it comes to security and privacy.
  • Firefox was among the first major browsers to introduce tabbed browsing.
  • Apple’s Safari is the second most popular browser in the world.
  • The original code name for Firefox was Phoenix.
  • Safari first appeared in the Mac OS X Panther update in 2003.

Firefox vs. Safari: Which One is Better?

For anyone using a PC running Windows or Linux, Firefox is the best choice for obvious reasons. You can’t use Safari on those platforms. It’s also the best browser for anyone using an Android smartphone. While you may expect Safari to be the best choice for anyone with an Apple device, that isn’t the case at all.

Safari has some nifty features that only work with Apple’s devices. That’s a huge bonus and something you’ll appreciate, although many Mac users have Chrome or Firefox installed on their machines or mobile devices. Both of these browsers are excellent choices and safe to use online. With that in mind, you are only as safe as the latest update and still need to use proper security settings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Safari more popular than Chrome?

No, Chrome has a considerably larger market share, although that doesn’t mean Mac users don’t prefer Safari.

Is Firefox free to download?

Firefox is completely free to download and use.

What is the most popular search engine for a browser?

Google is by far the most popular search engine in use today, regardless of the browser.

Can you make Firefox look more like the Safari browser?

Yes, through themes and extensions, but it’s impossible to replicate the look and vibe of Apple’s browser.

Is Firefox faster than Safari?

In some tests, it has shown faster loading times, although Safari can handle some tasks more quickly.

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