Safari is Apple’s default web browser for both the iOS and OS X. The Mac version of Safari is a great browser with an almost complete feature set. It continues to be my main browser, even while keeping a watchful eye on other competitors like Chrome and Firefox. While Safari on the iOS is still a good browser, its simplistic nature gets in the way at times.
Apple designed Safari for the iOS to be simple and easy to use, but sometimes a simple browser can get in the way. When one wants to save a file, view the full webpage by default or switch between tabs easily, mobile Safari becomes hard to use instead of easy. If Apple can solve these problems, it will greatly improve the browsing on the iOS. Until then, there are alternatives which can help.
After trying out many different browser alternatives for the iOS, one became a clear winner. Mercury stands out among the the web browsers in the App Store as the best alternative to Safari. Many of these browsers either look horrible or are buggy and slow, but Mercury is fast, looks good and is bug free (mostly). Some of the key features include:
- Download Files: Mercury can download images, but it can also download files off the Internet. These files can then be opened in other apps, email, or downloaded to Dropbox.
- User Agent: With User Agent, Mercury can tell websites it is a different browser. Options include Safari for iPad, Safari for Mac, Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. Since Mercury can pretend it is a desktop browser, websites will serve up a desktop version of websites instead of mobile ones. Mobile sites are nice, but most lack features that are key to the site.
- Tab browsing: Mercury has a tab bar on both the iPad version and the iPhone version. While the Safari tab interface is nice on the iPad, the iPhone’s version is slow and hard to use. Tabs are also easily switched to using a slide and hold gesture.
- Gestures: Mercury has multiple gesture options making it faster to use than Safari in a full screen environment.
- Ad Block: Mercury comes with an ad blocking plugin. By removing ads, Mercury can speed up page downloads, making the content you want access load faster.
While Safari for iOS is a good browser, it lacks features needed to make it great. Mercury improves the browser experience with several great features, while still keeping Safari’s simple easy to use look and feel. One can’t change the default browser for the iOS to Mercury, but there is a bookmark that can send URLs from Safari to Mercury when it is needed. Mercury and Safari, when used together, creates a great browsing experience for mobile users. Best of all, Mercury is free and available in the App Store.
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