747: Exploring the Arc Browser

Hah, I never knew that. Usually I just close the tab to reset its state. For what it’s worth, I can reset URLs on filevine.com with the icon click. But I don’t think there’s a way to keep updating the title when it’s pinned. Arc Max won’t even re-run its title shortener when you update the pinned URL. So still some inherent friction even if the URL reset bug is solved for you.

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Reasonable point. I run Arc on multiple machines, so syncing is important to me. However, for those who don’t need/want to - I understand your concern…
My understanding is that it is end to end encrypted.

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I find their reasoning for the mandatory sign-in a bit disturbing.

The Arc team said that the Chrome devs told them that only a small percentage of users opt to sync their bookmarks, so Arc decided to force everyone to do so to ensure that the feature gets used.

Given that, it seems odd that the last I checked their mobile apps weren’t close to feature parity and seemed kind of half-baked.


I’ve been asked about my browser a few times. If they’re interested in trying Arc, I let them know it requires an account. Literally “you probably wouldn’t like it because it requires an account” in one case, though that ultimately failed to scare them away. The heads up does them a favor if the account would be a dealbreaker, and lets any ensuing conversation focus on features/design.

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What was that short cut that let you “cmd tab” all the tabs? And I find that some of my tabs are missing. That’s the one thing I need to get used to when using Arc. Tabs don’t stay put.

Ctrl+tab should be the shortcut for that.

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I’m right where @MacSparky is… Trying Arc for the first time after hearing the episode, and finding there is a LOT to like. But as a long time user of Safari (on multiple devices), I have to figure out if this is just a “shiny new app,” or enough to be worth actually moving to Arc. Would love a good outline or video of pros/ cons comparing the 2.

I use tab groups quite a bit in Safari, and I like the organization of pinned folders, etc in Arc, especially being able to see full title more easily, and having “temporary” pages disappear after a bit.

I don’t feel like I’m really going to have an answer anytime soon. Especially after Apple announces new Safari features on Monday.


I never understood all the hyper around this browser so I look forward to listening to this episode.

E.g. Onboarding email (ugh) says you can automatically close tabs after 24 hours or even access your favorites and tabs in the sidebar. Yeah, you can do that in Safari.

The second time I downloaded Arc I had also instantly deleted it because I was required to sign up for an account.


Agreed. I understand the need for an account in order to sync your settings, but you can’t even try it out without creating an account. Seriously?
Deleted it immediately

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I’m definitely sticking with Safari with Firefox as my alternative browser where needed.

Same here, I’ve been using Arc Browser for more than a year now, and I love, love, love the fusion of tabs and favorites in the sidebar, and the spaces. When Safari introduced spaces I tried switching back to Safari, but – as mentioned in the podcast episode – the implementation is severely lacking and sub-par compared to Arc. I have moved all my workflows and KM scripts to Arc, and I’d probably pay a low monthly fee for using Arc Browser.

My top wish for Arc Browser is better Apple Script support, I wish it was easier to address a specific tab in a specific space in a specific window by tab name or something. Right now you can only address it numerically, re-ordering tabs and spaces breaks my KM scripts.


I feel you.

If I missed this in the thread above, my apologies in advance.

Those who have used both Brave and Arc, which do you consider to be better and why?

First, Arc is much better managing lots of tabs and workspaces for busy people. If you are comfortable not having a good ol bookmark manager in your browser (only archived and current tabs, cut and sliced any way you want) then it may be worth giving a try.

Second, the amount of small affordances in the browser is surprising, and they keep adding stuff every week (no doubt they have a strong development team being backed by VC), it goes far beyond being a Chromium wrapper.

As a drawback, I’m not very keen on the user interface, but then I neither specially like any Chromium based browser on macOS so that’s a tie.

Brave is much more private. AFAIK it’s still the only reasonably popular browser that returns a random fingerprint on EFF’s Cover Your Tracks. And unlike Arc it doesn’t force you to create a login to use it. Other than that it’s a pretty standard browser in terms of layout and features. It’s an excellent drop-in chromium replacement for Google’s spyware.

I like Arc for running web apps but strongly dislike it for general browsing. If you’re happy with the way Arc dictates your workflow and closes your tabs “for your own good” when you’re not looking, you may well disagree—it has plenty of fans who use it for everything.

Vivaldi is still the best for research and projects in my experience. It’s highly innovative and customizable with a lot of clever features, and it’s developed by a small bootstrapped team that afaik is committed to never taking VC money. It reminds me a bit of Obsidian.

I’ve tried both extensively, but I like the native feel of the interface in Arc (it feels native as it’s written in Swift). Brave is nice, too, but it doesn’t feel native at all. Things like drag and drop work as expected in Arc, and I like that it simplifies web browsing rather than having features staring at me all the time that I don’t use.

I run Arc on full screen, and it is perfect for focussed work once you turn off the sidebar and get used to the keyboard shortcuts.


Arc is good for managing a few bookmarks/tabs that are visited frequently. It is good or context switching. It is not my browser of choice as it does not play well with ProWriting Aid and mixing tabs and bookmarks hurts my head when I want multiple windows with multiple tabs of the same site for work.

Based on this thread, I gave Arc a try. The third time it threw a fit trying to launch Slack was one too many times for me. The sidebar for me was confusing and unpleasant. The initial prompt to open an account was off-putting and poorly explained. I’m sure it’s a nice browser, but Safari does fine 75% of the time, with Chrome acceptable the rest of the time.


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Hmm, Slack works fine here. It’s nice being logged in with different combinations of Slack access in each space. Having all instances available in the desktop app is too distracting for me.

Another little trick to make spaces better is to use an extension like StayFocusd in some of them. Because extensions have separate installations/configurations per space, you can block all personal websites 24/7 in your work area and block all work sites in your fun area.