Chrome 48 for iOS brings massive speed and stability improvements

Version 48 of the Chrome browser was released today. While this release doesn't deserve much fanfare for its desktop operating system incarnations, it's a whole 'nother story in iOS. The new version uses the same rendering engine as recent versions of Safari on iOS, and that's kind of a big deal.

With the updated engine, Chrome on iOS gets a massive speed boost (sometimes an order of magnitude faster, as demonstrated by the Octane JavaScript benchmark), and it should crash a lot less often. Google estimates that crashes will be reduced 70% , due to browser and renderer process separation.

Background tab management is improved, too. The company says users will see 25% fewer page reloads when switching to an old tab. Other improvements include smoother and more responsive scrolling, and the ability to search bookmarks directly in iOS' Spotlight.

If you're wondering why the situation was so bad before today, here's a quick history lesson. Back in the day, if you were an iOS developer and wanted to make a browser app, you were pretty limited in your choices. Apple never allowed third-party browser rendering engines on iOS (and possibly never will), so developers had to wrap their browsers around Safari's rendering engine. This meant integrating with Apple's UIWebView API, which became outdated around iOS 4.3 when the much-improved Nitro rendering engine was released.

The problem is that Nitro initally wasn't available to third-party developers at all. Even when Apple opened it up with iOS 8's release (under the WKWebView API), it still had some integration limitations that made it difficult for Google to use it as Chrome's engine. Since then, Google has worked with Apple to improve the situation, and the fruits of that labor are now on offer to the world.

iOS users looking to try the new version can hit the iTunes store to install or update Chrome.

Comments closed
    • brucethemoose
    • 4 years ago

    Jailbreakers have had Nitro in 3rd party browsers since iOS 4.3:

    [url<]http://moreinfo.thebigboss.org/moreinfo/depiction.php?file=nitrousDp[/url<] In other words, Chrome's Nitro integration was more about negotiating with Apple than overcoming technical obstacles.

    • maxxcool
    • 4 years ago

    Good timing since Safari is Ralph-nadering atm …

    • xeridea
    • 4 years ago

    TL:DR
    Apple policy is never allow third party web rendering engines, you are forced to use theirs (this seems silly)

    API to tie into theirs was outdated several years ago when they revamped it but didn’t have any API access to it

    They finally let third party apps use the current engine.

    If you don’t want to live inside Apples narrowminded view of the world and what is good for consumers, use Android or Win10. Chrome rendering engines are always better than garbage Safari anyway. Out of all the Apple users I know, not one of them uses Safari due to it being crap.

      • Deanjo
      • 4 years ago

      [quote<] Out of all the Apple users I know, not one of them uses Safari due to it being crap.[/quote<] So you must not know any or have ever used it. Safari is hands down the best browser on OS X and iOS. The others are not even close in terms of stability or speed.

        • xeridea
        • 4 years ago

        Most everyone at my office (web dev), uses a Mac, and they all say they have had issues with it, so they use Chrome instead. I have used it in the past for testing purposes, and have had issues with it.

          • End User
          • 4 years ago

          At work I use Chrome and Chrome Canary with my work Google account primarily because I can run two different browsers that are in sync with the same account (works great in conjunction with Spaces).

          On my personal Macs and iOS devices Safari is my go to (Flash-less) browser. Safari under OS X uses less power and I like the integration with iOS.

          • Deanjo
          • 4 years ago

          Oh man if they are using Chrome on a Mac there is something seriously wrong with your friends. Do you think Google would pay a billion dollars just to become the default search engine in Safari if everyone just used chrome on OS X / iOS?

          Safari is nearly twice as fast as Chrome in OS X and uses a lot less power. Wanna kill your mac battery life fast on a Mac….. the just fire up Chrome.

          [url<]http://blog.getbatterybox.com/which-browser-is-the-most-energy-efficient-chrome-vs-safari-vs-firefox/[/url<]

      • derFunkenstein
      • 4 years ago

      Safari is the only browser on my phone or my wife’s. It’s plenty fine for our uses.

        • brucethemoose
        • 4 years ago

        Again, that’s because you don’t have any other option on iOS.

          • DancinJack
          • 4 years ago

          Huh? Sure he does, Safari just works better on iOS than Chrome.

            • brucethemoose
            • 4 years ago

            It’s not really Chrome though, underneath it’s just a Safari with a Chrome UI.

            I haven’t used Chrome much, but subjectively, Firefox, Dolphin, and (back when I used it) Mammoth feel just as good as Safari when I use Nitrous.

      • Shadin
      • 4 years ago

      Safari is fine, and is hands down the best for battery life on iOS. When I first got an iPad I had a really negative opinion about Safari just from posts like this, but it turned out to be my favorite of the three for mobile.

        • brucethemoose
        • 4 years ago

        That’s because every 3rd-party iOS browser (except for Chrome 48 as of today) is just a reskinned Safari with an older rendering engine.

      • UberGerbil
      • 4 years ago

      [url<]https://www.netmarketshare.com/browser-market-share.aspx?qprid=2&qpcustomd=1[/url<]

      • UnfriendlyFire
      • 4 years ago

      Apple doesn’t allow access for “security reasons”.

      Although if you can’t trust Google with not uploading malware into your ecosystem (other than the user info collecting thing, but Apple also does that), then you have some major trust problems.

    • atari030
    • 4 years ago

    I use Firefox on iOS. And no, I don’t consider myself eccentric…maybe just ‘particular’ 🙂

      • maxxcool
      • 4 years ago

      Particular .. Or Peculiar .. 😉 (sorry the fruit was low)

        • atari030
        • 4 years ago

        (laugh) I’ll take either description with no shame. I don’t use it just to be different….I actually like it better. I prefer its interface….and since it uses the same rendering engine as Safari there’s no speed disadvantage. Safari with a different coat of paint.

          • brucethemoose
          • 4 years ago

          It’s only the same if you jailbreak though. Without nitrous, it uses an old Safari rendering engine.

    • tipoo
    • 4 years ago

    I hope they similarly work with their third party keyboard makers…

    I loved Swiftkey on Android. On iOS there’s still a lot wrong with it and it seems to be API/permission related. It doesn’t have a permanent spot in RAM like the first party one, so when it’s evicted it sometimes waits a few seconds to reload, and the first party one may try to claw its way back in that time (on non-password fields). And where are long press numbers and symbols?

    The prediction also never seemed to get as godly good as on Android.

      • DancinJack
      • 4 years ago

      Yeah, it’s not great. At all.

      I really wish Google would release Google Keyboard on iOS. I like it a lot better than Swiftkey.

        • sweatshopking
        • 4 years ago

        WORDFLOW ON IOS. COME ON GUYS.

      • morphine
      • 4 years ago

      I have a single problem with it, which is very, very annoying. Half the time it doesn’t come up. And I don’t mean “it doesn’t come up for typing passwords or URLs, where it’s not supposed to.” I’m saying that half the times I go to write a message, it doesn’t show up.

        • DancinJack
        • 4 years ago

        I’ve also experienced this. It’s just so inconsistent.

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