Are there any browsers in the Mac App Store?

The only browser I could find on the Mac App Store is Maxthon Browser. It is powered by WebKit, so I assume that if there are any other browsers on the Mac App Store, they’re also powered by WebKit? It is unfortunate that there doesn’t appear to be many notable browsers in the Mac App Store. All of them need to be downloaded from an external source outside of the Mac App Store. Why is that the case? Should I install Maxthon Browser?


Any particular reason you’re confining your choice to the Mac App Store? What are you trying to get out of an alternative browser, since that probably has bearing on which one folks would recommend?

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I would imagine that most browser makers aren’t going to want to jump through all of Apple’s sandboxing hoops. It’s the sort of application that really doesn’t lend itself to App Store deployment.

Although you’ll note that Maxthon isn’t limited to Webkit - it also supports Trident. I’m not sure why you’d want to use Trident, but…it doesn’t seem to be a “Webkit only” restriction on the part of Apple.

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Edge, Chrome, Brave, Firefox … all work fine on macOS. They respect macOS security. On many sites, Edge and Chrome outperform Safari, in my experience. None are available in the App Store – but why would that matter?

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It’s an interesting observation. To me, the absence of nearly every browser from the Mac App Store suggests hardly anyone locks down their computer to where they need to find a browser from there. Browser competition for market share is stiff enough that we’d see more in there if they could gain from it.

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Alternatively, the overlap between people who lock down their Mac to App Store apps only and people who want alternatives to Safari isn’t very big.

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I would be inclined to agree, except that I’ve seen stuff about sandboxing guidelines preventing the installation of plugins, extensions, etc. in some circumstances.

A browser like Chrome or Firefox that was subject to the whim of an app store reviewer as to whether the extension galleries and such violated the TOS for the App Store might determine that it was more trouble than it was worth.

Incidentally, Maxthon isn’t the only one. I just popped in there, and there are probably a dozen or so that I saw before I stopped scrolling. Many of them are privacy-focused (“browse anonymously” sort of thing), but there definitely are browsers in there. Just not the Big Browsers.

I do find it fascinating that Maxthon touts “perfect performance”. Maybe Apple should acqui-hire the Maxthon team so Safari won’t need any more optimizations - they could just fold in the Maxthon code and achieve browser perfection. :wink:

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I’m guessing browsers don’t want to give up their self-updating mechanisms for the Mac App Store’s update process. Plus app review is probably too slow for them too.

Those are some of the first reasons that come to mind.

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As far as I’m concerned, the Trident version is only for Windows and Windows Phone

I don’t even think that the Windows version uses Trident anymore. I think it is Chromium.

I was purely curious. I wish that the Mac App Store was more populated.

Apple would like to differ. :sweat_smile:


Then again, Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge are Chromium browsers. That probably explains why they’re faster than Safari (although Chromium is a fork of WebKit).

Why does the Mac App Store exist?

Maxthon is the only notable one though.

Why would the update process be a downside?

At least one of the purposes is to make Mac software more discoverable. You could argue that not being in the MAS means Chrome and Firefox are less discoverable, but I think it’s almost beyond question that Chrome, Firefox, etc. don’t need more discoverability.

The MAS is great if you’re looking for an MP3 tagger, for example. You have no idea what’s good, so the MAS gives you a list of software, lots of reviews to dig through, and lets you do the purchasing from Apple (with some implied guarantee of quality) rather than punching your credit card number into a website that looks like it was designed in 2002.

Not so much necessary for the world’s leading web browsers.

This is just one person’s experience, but I’d honestly never heard of it before you mentioned it. I don’t think there are any truly notable browsers in the MAS.

You’re a browser manufacturer, who wants to do something like keep your browser up-to-date all the time. This can be done in a way that’s transparent to the end user (no intervention, no key clicks) - and it can be argued that this is potentially a benefit to users as updates contain bug fixes, etc. that might impact their security / privacy online.

Going into the app store breaks that functionality, and requires the user to manually do updates every time you release a new version.

Plus, “app review” means that you could be stuck in limbo for a few days to a week while Apple tries to figure out whether or not they want to let your new version through - and you’re subject to random new (or existing!) features getting your app rejected.

Quite literally, devs get notices that say “this feature doesn’t meet Apple’s guidelines” - and it’s a feature that’s sometimes existed for years.

I mean…if you’re Chrome or Firefox, why on earth would you subject yourself to that? And how many Mac users sit down, say “I’d like a different web browser”, open up the Mac app store, and say “darn, Chrome and Firefox must not be available for Mac”?

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Weird. Inexperienced, non-techy users should be getting their software from the App Store. And the most common browsers should be represented there. “Getting software here is safe”.

Most of its notability comes from China.

Both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are in the iOS/iPadOS App Store.

Exactly! The App Store should be a distribution center for applications. Update all your applications in one place, simply just click a button to install an applications, read reviews, seamless experience, etc.

That’s a valid opinion. I would suggest, however, that “inexperienced, non-techy users” should probably just be using the browser that’s built into the operating system. :slight_smile:

Apple has a pretty good suite of default apps, all things considered.

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Like iWork and iLife? Both suites are awesome compared to their competitors.

That would explain why I’ve never heard of it. :smiley:

Because they’re forced to be there. Not because they want to be there. Everything I’ve said above still applies. But further, iOS Chrome ISN’T Chrome. It’s Webkit, with some Chrome packaging around it.

So it’s not even remotely an apples-to-apples comparison.

And it is that for the applications that qualify for the app store, if the developers are willing to (a) accept Apple’s restrictions, and (b) revenue share with Apple to the tune of 15-30%.

Obviously browsers wouldn’t be subject to the latter, but the former is a Big Deal. And certain Mac apps that do very cool things could never be in the MAS, given current sandboxing restrictions.

Basically, Apple never intended the App Store to be the “end all, be all” of Mac apps. They’ve knowingly set up rules that exclude many apps, and they’ve designed their security model in such a way that apps like Chrome / Firefox couldn’t just submit their existing browser to the MAS - they’d have to re-write significant parts of it.

Given that Chrome basically owns the browser market usage-wise, why would they jump through those hoops when they don’t need to?

Chrome and Firefox aren’t in the MAS because they’ve almost certainly considered the benefits / drawbacks, and decided there were more drawbacks than benefits. As opposed to iOS, where the only alternative is “don’t have a Chrome / Firefox browser on the iPhone / iPad at all”.

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Yes, but:

  • Google Docs is optimized for Chrome, as other stuff is. (Google Drive is faster, two weeks before I started Chrome just to search for something in the history.)
  • I think starting another browser is easy, even for non-techies
  • Other huge FOSS projects (LibreOffice, Darktable,…) IMHO should also be available in the App Store.

Okay…but are inexperienced, non-techy users using Google Drive in massive numbers? And do those users not know how to install Chrome, such that being in the app store is important?

Keep in mind that Google Docs / Drive / etc. are almost certainly optimized for current Chrome, which means that the auto-updates built into the browser - which flat-out wouldn’t work with the app store’s restrictions - are important. Having dealt with a number of inexperienced / non-techy type users, software updates are something that almost never seems to get done. I would argue that Chrome and Firefox’s current iteration is probably a better user experience, overall, than a sandboxed version would be.

But ultimately, there’s nothing preventing the average user from installing whatever browser they want, and it’s not onerous in any way. I think Google even prompts various places in their services (Gmail, Drive, etc.) for the user to try Chrome - and links them to it.

And unless there’s some weird rule I’m missing, there’s nothing preventing LibreOffice, Darktable, Chrome, Firefox, etc. from submitting their apps to the MAS. The fact that they haven’t done so would seem to indicate that they don’t see the value in becoming compliant with Apple’s sandboxing restrictions and submitting to Apple’s approval process.

If you’d like those apps included in the MAS, maybe pop on over to wherever their devs hang out and ask them why they’ve chosen not to submit it there?

(ETA: There is a LibreOffice on the MAS. https://apps.apple.com/app/libreoffice-vanilla/id921923693)

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By “non-techy” I mean “average user, able to install something, easily tricked into installing from weird sources”. Like…80% of the people out there.

If I look at my company, people are “techy” enough to use a computer. But it’s amazing how many times spoofing emails were successful, weird email attachments were opened, etc. Getting somebody to install something weird is one of the biggest security problems out there. Ok, not on macOS, but still.

Oddly enough, macOS and the App Store’s focus on trying to make things more secure (the reason for your “not on macOS” qualifier) is a big part of why not all apps can even be in the MAS, and likely one of the reasons Chrome doesn’t seem to want to be there. :slight_smile:

:smiley: Software from Google…certainly not the trust worthiest source. :smiley: