Let me start with the obvious. Nothing improves without change. We may be set in our ways, use our apps for certain jobs, but we need to be willing to try other apps, different methods, or, as Steve Jobs probably said more than once, “Think Different™.” Here’s a think different approach to browsers– Mac, iPhone, iPad.
There are few browsers available that I have not tried and I have favorites. Safari is very good. Fast, stable, just the right blend of features, and add-ons like ad blockers and extensions. I’ve used Chrome, keep it around, but have grown tired of being tracked by Google. The new Firefox seems to be the fastest browser you can use, and Mozilla has a newfound respect for privacy. I dropped Opera last week.
Through all these brand names and also-rans, I’ve begun using a new browser on Mac, iPhone, and iPad. It’s called Brave and was recommended to me to try by Wil at Mac360. What great new features does Brave have to make you use it over Safari, Firefox, or Chrome?
That’s the point. Brave is not about more features; it’s about less features, or, even better– the right features. Check out the startup page and you’ll see where the focus lies.
Brave is all about privacy and security. Yes, it’s fast. Yes, it handles URL bookmarks. Yes, there’s a very good version for iPhone and iPad, too.
What you get in Brave is a strong focus on privacy and security. An ad blocker and tracker blocker is built into Brave. It even counts how many trackers and ads it blocks. Brave lets you force HTTPS (secure access to websites). It even counts up the time saved by blocking all that tracker and ad rubbish so you can see how much of your life you get back by not waiting for slow webpages to load in a browser tab.
All that built-in blocking also means fewer opportunities for malware. Brave has a Shield setting which you can control on a per-site or global basis.
There isn’t much to be blocked on Boomer, but you could save an average of about five seconds per webpage download so the time savings adds up quickly.
Brave Preferences on the Mac are more extensive than Brave on iOS. General Settings include startup page options, bookmark sync, and new tab options. The Search engine list is built-in and ranges from Amazon to YouTube, with 18 in between, and keyboard shortcuts to use an engine other than the default (you choose).
You get options for Extensions and Plugins, too, and many are built-in– 1Password or LastPass for username and passwords, for example. There’s even a new method to help publishers– whose ads are blocked– with built-in micro-payments (I haven’t tried that yet).
Security? Oh, yeah!
Unlike most browsers, Brave gets rid of all the collected information– caches, cookies, history, et al– when you quit the browser.
Brave on macOS is a different experience than Brave on iPhone and iPad. How so? Fewer preferences and settings but just as much privacy and security. I’ve been using it full time on my iPhone for a week and, frankly, the experience is faster and easier and more reassuring.
Allow me to end with a few axioms. Choice is good. Nothing improves without change. The browser wars are not over. Brave is worthy of a try.