Owners of Apple’s newest Mac mini, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air can now download a version of Google’s Chrome browser that is compiled specifically for the M1 chip, rather than requiring the use of the Intel version through the Rosetta emulation layer. Using native M1 code provides the fastest experience possible, so it’s nice that Google released this update quickly.
Google first launched its Chrome browser in 2008, citing a need for a faster, more stable platform for web apps and modern web content. Google Chrome was also claimed to provide better security. In 2009, a beta version of Chrome was made available for Mac OS X, with the full release coming in 2010. Chrome is currently the most popular computer browser and for good reason. On Windows systems, it competes against Mozilla’s Firefox, which doesn’t have the brand awareness of Google, and Microsoft’s Edge, a relative newcomer that didn’t get off to a great start.
Google announced the availability of the M1 version of Chrome for the new Mac mini, MacBook Pro, and MacBook Air via a tweet. The download button was quickly removed due to an unforeseen problem, but the issue was quickly corrected and the M1 version is currently available again. After clicking the download button on the Chrome website, a choice is provided ‘Mac with Intel chip’ or ‘Mac with Apple chip.’ Google notes that the Intel chip is most common and refers to the M1 chip as ‘Apple chip,’ which is accurate, although most Mac owners are more likely to recognize it as the M1 chip or Apple Silicon. Google also suggests that the type of processor used in a Mac can be checked by clicking the Apple menu in the upper left corner of the display and clicking ‘About This Mac.’
Having the option to download a native version of Chrome may be confusing for many Mac owners. The pre-installed Apple Safari browser is far more popular than Google Chrome on a Mac. It has slightly better speed while displaying websites and running web apps virtually the same as Chrome. Safari integrates better with macOS and other Apple products, such as the iPhone. For most users, there is no need for Google Chrome. It’s just another browser and one that doesn’t quite fit with Apple’s way of doing things.
However, Google Chrome has a definite advantage for those that use a MacBook or Mac desktop with an Android smartphone. The automatic syncing of bookmarks, passwords, shipping addresses, and payment methods that iPhone users enjoy when using Safari on a Mac flip in favor of Chrome when using an Android phone. Google Chrome is Google Chrome wherever it’s used. Log in and suddenly all of the phone bookmarks are there and website logins are auto-filled. Another great reason to download Chrome on a Mac is for those developing or publishing to the internet. It’s important to double-check that content appears correctly when viewed in different browsers. Since Google Chrome is the number one web browser, it simply must be used for testing. Now that Chrome has an M1-tailored version, Google has made its alternative to Safari more inviting for new Mac owners.