Apple’s Chrome for Macs M1 was released, a specially developed version of the browser for Apple Silicon, the day after Google had to withdraw its first attempt at stability issues. Attempts to download Chrome now bring two different options: you can have Chrome for Mac with an Intel chip or Chrome for Mac with an Apple chip.
The native app promises performance improvements, rather than relying on Apple’s Rosetta 2 emulation as the Intel x86 version would require. Apple has made some big claims about Rosetta’s features – including suggestions that emulated apps can actually run faster on M1-based Macs than on Intel versions – but the company’s clear hope is that native software will become the norm.
The Google Chrome team went ahead in this process, silently launching a native M1 version of the browser yesterday. Quickly detected by Chrome users, it ended in an aborted launch after reports of unexpected failures in M1-based models such as the new MacBook Air, MacBook Pro 13 and Mac mini. The Chrome team promised a second try today, and it has already been launched.
Those who have one of the newer Macs and use Chrome, shouldn’t see much in the way of differences other than speed. Both versions will benefit from Google’s latest improvements in performance and memory usage, Chrome 87 being released earlier this week with some significant promises.
Chrome’s CPU usage could be reduced by a fifth, said the Google team at the time, while battery usage could see an improvement of 1.25 hours. Chrome Desktop starts faster and loads pages faster, Google promised, while new actions have been added along with improvements to how tabs can be managed.
The challenge, of course, is Safari. The Apple browser has the advantage that its developers are at home with the designers of Apple Silicon itself, and the Cupertino company was not shy about promising performance and memory usage advantages when Mac owners keep the software developed in-house.