Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Apple M1 MacBook Air

Google Chrome launches for Apple Silicon

It’s not just Safari that takes advantage of Apple’s new hardware, as Google launches its browser for the M1.

Well that was fast. With Apple’s new computers launching this week and reviews up right on time, developers are getting into gear and releasing apps that can take advantage of that power, leveraging the hardware and relying less on Apple’s Rosetta 2 conversion system for apps not made for Apple Silicon.

Take Adobe, which has a version of Photoshop for the M1 MacBook Air and MacBook Pro sitting in a “beta apps” section of its Creative Cloud, even though the Creative Cloud launcher needs Apple’s Rosetta 2 emulation system to run.

It’s a bit of a crazy world, but Photoshop M1 does run very quickly, taking advantage of the fast instructions from the new Apple Silicon hardware, and it’s not the only app to do so.

Adobe Photoshop Beta for Apple M1

Google now has a version of Chrome available for the M1 Macs, meaning it’s not just Apple’s Safari browser that can talk to the new chips, but also Google’s browser.

While Safari has improved greatly and feels more minimalist to your big screen web browsing experience in Big Sur, there’s one thing it still lacks that Chrome users might be used to: profiles.

Specifically, Safari can’t allow you to set different bookmarks and passwords for different users in the same installation, while Chrome can. For folks dealing with working from home, using a Chrome profile for home and a Chrome profile at work can provide a much needed disconnect, keeping working internet sessions disconnected from the stuff you normally use in your home and personal life, among other things.

As to whether the M1 version of Chrome is going to be more battery efficient than the Rosetta emulated version, we’re not sure, but a version of the browser made for the new chip has to be better than an emulated one, so we’d argue there should be some gains there, even if they’re small.

However that also means if you’re downloading Chrome to a new machine, you have two options now:

If you have one of the new Apple M1-based Macs, you’re now choosing the download option “Mac with Apple chip”, while if you have one of the Intel models with a Core processor, it’s “Mac with Intel chip”, because there is a difference. Over on the Intel Core-powered Macs, the first option won’t work, while on the new M1 Macs, both will, but the second is built for the new chip.

Alternatively, you can keep on using whichever browser you want, because thanks to how strong Rosetta’s emulation is in macOS Big Sur, there aren’t really any limitations at all, it seems.

Google Chrome download selection for Intel and Apple Silicon
Want to download Chrome to a Mac? You have two options.
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