What’s the Best Browser for iPhone? 7 Apps Compared
Safari is the most-used browser on the iPhone because it’s the default browser. But being the official option, it’s quite barebones. It’s fast and integrated into iOS, but that’s about it. While iPhones have gotten bigger, the Safari interface has stayed the same.
What if you’re looking for something more modern with more features? We’ve got a list of the best browsers for iPhone.
Chrome is the most popular alternative to Safari on the iPhone. And there’s a good reason why: if you use Chrome on your Mac or PC, Chrome will sync your bookmarks, history, and open tabs. It might be worth switching to Chrome for that reason alone.
On iOS, Chrome comes with a bottom toolbar, data saver mode, voice control, and a couple of new gestures. For instance, you can swipe down to reload the page. After swiping down, you can swipe to the left to open a new tab or to the right to close the current tab. Chrome on iOS is full of little tricks like this.
If you’re using an iPhone XS Max or an iPhone Plus model, switching to Chrome will make it easier to navigate the web.
Download: Google Chrome (Free)
Firefox users on the desktop will find themselves at home with Firefox for iPhone. You’ll find the familiar user interface and tab management (with a quick shortcut for searching across open tabs). If you sign into Firefox Sync, all your tabs, bookmarks, and passwords from your Mac or PC become available on your iPhone.
As a bonus, Firefox has a couple of privacy features to guard your online activity. It blocks trackers by default, the Private mode stores zero browsing information, and you can lock Firefox using a passcode or Face ID.
Firefox on the iPhone doesn’t support add-ons. But it comes with a cool feature that iPhone X users will love: a dark mode. When enabled, not only will the UI switch to dark mode, but websites will flip too. All websites will now have a black background and white text, making browsing much easier on the eyes.
Download: Firefox (Free)
3. Firefox Focus
Think of Firefox Focus as a super-specialized mini version of Firefox. It’s a barebones app that focuses entirely on privacy. To that end, there’s no tab switching, bookmaking, or history features in the app.
You open the app, browse the web, open pages (but not in a new tab), and that’s basically it. The app disables ad tracking, analytic tracking, social tracking, and content tracking by default. You can see how many trackers Firefox has blocked by tapping on the shield icon. Hit the Trash button to erase your browsing history.
Download: Firefox Focus (Free)
4. Brave Browser
Brave is a fast and secure browser for iOS. It takes your privacy to the extreme by blocking all trackers and popups from your browser (including ads). This means that your browsing speed can be up to eight times faster, especially when opening news sites loaded with trackers.
But it’s not just Brave’s browsing that’s lightning-fast. The app itself is quick to navigate. It has a dedicated new tab button in the bottom toolbar and is one of the few apps on this list that has a scrollable tab bar at the top.
Download: Brave Browser (Free)
5. Aloha Browser
Aloha Browser is a feature-rich option. It comes with a built-in VPN, download manager, file browser, themes, and ad-blocking. With the free plan, you can’t choose the location of the VPN servers you connect to. But it’s quite fast, with unlimited data and a no-log policy.
Aloha Browser’s standout feature is background video playback. Start playing a YouTube video, go full screen, and then enable the Picture-in-Picture view. Now even if you exit the app, the audio will still play in the background. Aloha is one of the few apps on iPhone that brings this feature without having to shell out for YouTube Premium.
Download: Aloha Browser (Free, subscription available)
6. iCab Mobile
iCab Mobile is not for everyone. In fact, it’s for a specific kind of pro iPhone user. It’s a perfect fit for someone who has just switched from Android and is left aghast by the lack of customization in iOS browsers.
iCab Mobile is the only major iOS browser that supports extensions. They’re called modules and while they’re limited in number, they do add extra features to the browser that negate the need for opening a new page or an app. iCab Mobile also features a scrollable tab bar, tab organization, a fully featured download manager, and a night mode (for both the UI and web pages).
The best part about iCabMobile is that it’s modular. You can go into the settings and change the design, edit menus, and even define new gestures as shortcuts for frequently used actions.
Download: iCab Mobile ($2, premium version available)
7. Documents by Readdle
Unlike Android, iOS doesn’t have a download manager built-in. You can still download files, music, and videos, but the downloaded media won’t show in the default Music or Videos apps automatically. Alternatively, you can still download a song and play it in the same app or in VLC.
Due to the lack of an official feature, the App Store is flooded with shady download managers. They’re filled with ads and have bad user interfaces.
If you’re looking for a browser to download files from the web and an app where you can safely store and organize files, just use the free Documents app by Readdle. After you open the app, tap on the Globe icon to switch to the browser. Browse around and tap on a download link to save a file.
From the download manager, you can keep track of current downloads. Tap on the File button to view and organize downloaded files.
Download: Documents by Readdle (Free)
The Best iPhone Browser for You
If you’re looking for a fast and secure browser for iPhone from a reputable company, it’s best to go with Firefox. It comes with the essential tab management and privacy features you’d expect.
Aloha makes for a great secondary browser. You can use it for specific reasons, like when you need to use a VPN, want to download something, or to play a video in the background. If you feel limited by every other browser, give iCab Mobile a shot and customize it just the way you like it.
We looked at the best overall iOS browsers in this list. But there are more browsers designed to tackle specific issues. Check out our list of new alternatives to Safari and Chrome to discover iOS browsers that work entirely on gesture-based interfaces and ones that bring a search-first perspective to browsing the web.