747: Exploring the Arc Browser


Incredibly timely with this episode. I’ve been thinking about giving it a shot. As a long time Safari fan who has tried Chrome, Firefox, and Brave extensively, I’m excited to hear your takes. Queueing this up for tonight :slight_smile:


Using Arc (desktop) since March 2023 and never looked back. Solved my problem with too many open tabs. Features like split view, the command bar, spaces (which sync with iOS and other Macs) and ctrl-tab are awesome. First browser, I would pay for if required. Wish they would have a Mac-like iPad app.

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Set up F3 (I used Keyboard Maestro for this) to switch to the last active tab and F4 (system-wide shortcut using BTT) to bring up Arc’s command center.

Makes working with Arc a bit quicker/easier.


Guys, that was a fun episode to listen to. Thank you!
One point of clarification - re: Spaces & Profiles. A better description is Profiles in Arc are the same as in Google Chrome. What is unique, is Spaces. A Profile can have multiple Spaces associated with it. Once you create a Space, you can choose to assign a specific Profile to the Space. So a Profile can have multiple Spaces. You can manage your Profiles in Arc settings.


Auto-archiving tabs was quite healthy for me on desktop. I’ve since enabled one-day tabs on iPhone and iPad Safari.

In case anyone uses Arc and Raycast, the Raycast extension is very good with a custom menubar thingy which makes it very easy to switch Arc spaces.

What’s especially convenient about profiles, and the fact they can be individually assigned to spaces, is that they keep cookies separate; so, for example, if you have multiple M365 accounts you need to be logged in for work, multiple Amazon accounts, etc., you can keep them entirely separate using profiles.


Just what David was talking about…

Good episode, I’m giving Arc a fair shot but the lack an iPad app is hurting for continuity.

Any chance of comparing more against Arc? Orion, Sigma, Beam? Some are WebKit based instead of Chromium and would keep some of that sweet battery sipping goodness of Safari.


This episode has inspired me to try Arc as my main browser, after having it on my system unused for quite a while. A couple roadblocks, that perhaps people have suggestions for:

  • I use a web app that has sidebars on the left and right, so horizontal space is at a premium for me. This results in a cramped setup with the Arc tabs on the left. Is there a way to move tabs to the top? I switch tabs frequently, so keep them in view. Also, although I’m a heavy users of keyboard shortcuts for other things, I tend to use the trackpad for switching between tabs, so having them all the way over on the left results in a lot of cursor travel just to switch tabs (this is also why I keep my Dock hidden at the bottom, and don’t put it on the left or right).

  • Is there a way to hide the thin bezel that is around the browser window? It’s pretty, but I find it distracting.

I’ll keep digging through the settings, but didn’t find answers in a quick look.

EDIT: - and a third question or hunt for suggestions: my most common workflow with a browser is to load the web app that I use, go to a search box in the web app, and search for and then load a particular project. For this reason, I have the web app set as the default page for new tabs, so I’m ready to open a new tab and search the app. But Arc doesn’t seem to have a traditional concept of tabs, so I’m struggling to think of how to rework my workflow to fit into the Arc model.

I’m a big fan of walled-garden workspaces, and Arc certainly scratches that particular itch. I’m in the process of migrating my “intentional web” from Safari and Firefox to Arc, where I have workspaces set up for the various areas of research / interest that I want or need to focus on. So far, so good.

I’ll continue to use Safari and Firefox for administrative tasks, shopping, diversions/distractions, etc., but Arc is where I plan to focus on thinking and learning.

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So I downloaded and fired up Arc. And the first thing it wanted me to do was create an account.

Wait what?

I need an account to use a browser?

Nope. Already deleted.

(Note this is my choice, it may not be yours. And that’s ok.)


Can’t move tabs to the top, but can hide the sidebar (with autohide on hover) .

Regarding keyboard shortcuts, there are plenty and pretty much all of them can be customized to your liking. Also cmd-t will open their version of the command palete that can also be used as a tab switcher. So it’s really nice to work with keyboard shortcuts.

Nope. Its bezel works a a way to identify wich Space you’re on, specially when using the hidden sidebar.

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Agreed. Something doesn’t sit right with me about this. Free BUT sign up for account,

Also, for me - I hate the sidebar. It’s always in the way. :man_shrugging:t2:

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To add another one to your list, Vivaldi is an excellent power-user chromium browser. While Arc is extremely an opinionated browser with its own innovative but rigid workflow you’re likely to either love or hate, Vivaldi is extremely customizable and feature-rich, designed so you can shape your own workflow with it.

To use the imperfect analogy of markdown apps, Arc is a bit like iA Writer or Paper, and Vivaldi is more like Obsidian.

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CMD-S will hide/show the side bar. When you hide the sidebar it also hides the “thin bezel” when full screen.

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Like it, or hate it, the account is for the purpose of securely syncing browser settings. It will sync everything but Profiles. You can turn the syncing feature off.

@AppleGuy When you use CMD-S to hide the sidebar, it will “auto-show” when you move your cursor to the left edge of the browser.

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Thanks. But securely syncing them with what?

As if I were to use Arc I would use it on one Mac. Which would seem not to require syncing. So why wouldn’t this be an option to enable syncing and not the first thing I’m prompted to do?

That is, only prompt to create an account when a user enables syncing.

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Thank you to @Dan for the reply. I’m working to assimilate myself to the “Arc Way”, if that’s a thing. I like seeing the sidebar, so I’ve scrunched it as far left as I can get it.

But I think my project management system (a web app) just doesn’t play nice with Arc. For example, I’ve read that if you drag a site above the horizontal line in the sidebar to add it to favorites, and the site updates as you browse, you can reset the favorite to its original address by clicking its icon. This doesn’t work for my project management system, even though different parts of it have different URLs (for example, filveine.com/tasks is the task page). Clicking the icon does nothing. And a separate issue — at times the page title in the sidebar doesn’t reflect the actual page I’m on.

I’m going to keep at it, as I’d really like this to work, since I like much about the browser. But these paper cuts make things frustrating.

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