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Is Safari the Internet Explorer of the Mac? Twitter weighs in

In response to a call for feedback, some on Twitter have dubbed Apple’s Safari the “new Internet Explorer,” leaving those involved with the ecosystem frustrated at claims that it is the worst of all the current web browsers.

The criticism came flooding in after the Safari and WebKit team sent out a call for feedback on Twitter. Many responded with claims of bugs that are several years old and a lack of support on Apple’s part.

Everyone in my mentions saying Safari is the worst, it’s the new IE… Can you point to specific bugs & missing support that frustrate you, inhibit you making websites/apps. Bonus points for links to tickets.

Specifics we can fix. Vague hate is honestly super counterproductive.

— Jen Simmons (@jensimmons) February 8, 2022

This led Jen Simmons, Apple evangelist and developer advocate on the Web Developer Experience team for Safari and WebKit, to respond that the judgments made against Safari were “counterproductive,” as users were not detailing specifics in their complaints. Simmons offered them the opportunity to contact her if they have a link to bugs.webkit.org or a Feedback number from Apple’s Feedback Assistant so their browser issues can be further diagnosed. This response has overall been met much better than the initial call to action.

Lack of user support has been an issue for Safari users for many years, with some top complaints being frequent bugs, inconsistent user experience, and website compatibility. Despite a redesign of Safari 15 being announced at WWDC 2021, the changes left users dissatisfied, and Apple reverted Safari back to a previous version. This is likely why bugs that are years old still exist on the browser.

Notably, Statista claims that 14.52% of users run Safari iPhone, while 1.3% of users run Safari 15.1 for desktop and 1.22% of users run Safari 14.1 for desktop. This can be indicative of a shift from the desktop to the smartphone as the primary device for many people. Brands are extending more focus to mobile devices, and users see this, but are not satisfied because they still use their computers and laptops.

In comparison, the once-popular Internet Explorer that ruled the 1990s and 2000s is now infamous for its security vulnerabilities and frequent malware threats. The browser is now in its end-of-life stage, with plans for complete discontinuation as of June 15, 2022. Microsoft Edge now serves as Microsoft’s primary browser, which comes default on new Windows devices.

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