Google Chrome M1 and M2 Compatibility Explained

September 8, 2023 • Zachary Amos


Is Google Chrome M1 and M2 compatible? Does it work well with Macbooks and other Apple devices? These are important questions to ask if you’re making the leap to an Apple computer. 

Chrome is one of the most popular web browsers in the world. It’s robust, customizable and frequently updated. It doesn’t perform the same on all devices, though. Now that Apple has transitioned to their own in-house chips for Macs, many people are wondering if Google Chrome is optimized for the M1 and M2 chips. 

How has Google updated Chrome for M1 and M2 Macs? Is Chrome or Safari the best browser for Apple devices?

Is Google Chrome M1 Compatible?

Google Chrome is compatible with M1 Mac devices. A Chrome M1 update was released back in 2020 to optimize the browser for the first of Apple’s new line of CPUs. 

Initially, Chrome M1 support was a bit weak with Chrome underperforming compared to Safari. In fact, the first version of Chrome for the M1 chip reportedly made many Macbooks crash! After this 2020 update, though, Chrome performs well on M1 macbooks. 

The main difference moving forward will be a quick selection screen in the Chrome installer for Mac. Now users have to select whether they are using a “Mac with Intel chip” or a “Mac with Apple chip”. Most new Macs from 2020 onward have Apple chips. 

Google even has an installation guide for network administrators setting up Chrome on a fleet of business Mac devices. So, when it comes to M1 Macs at least, Google has Chrome running smoothly with consistent updates and support. 

Is Google Chrome M2 Compatible?

Chrome M1 compatibility is solid, but what about M2 compatibility? In June 2023, Apple announced the new M2 chip, the next generation of its in-house processors. The first devices to include the M2 chip are now on the market, including a completely refreshed Macbook Air. 

How does Google Chrome perform on the M2 chip? Much like with the M1 chip, it had a rocky start. At launch, Safari was noticeably more power-efficient than Chrome on the M2 Macbooks. Google updated its Energy Saver Mode feature in Chrome to address the issue, though. The result was improved energy efficiency on M2 chips that actually improved the battery life of Macbooks. 

As a result of these updates, many Mac users continue to choose Chrome over Safari, the default browser on Macs. This is especially true for people who use a combination of devices that aren’t all made by Apple (and thus aren’t all compatible with Safari). 

Using Chrome on Other Mac and Apple Devices

Google Chrome isn’t designed specifically for Apple devices, but it is compatible with virtually all of them. With Chrome M1 and M2 support remaining steady, this will likely remain the case for the foreseeable future. In fact, Chrome is one of the most popular apps in the App Store. 

Why use Chrome on Apple devices, though? Many users wonder why anyone bothers to switch to Chrome when Apple devices already have a good browser built in – Safari. For some people, it’s a matter of familiarity. 

Users who are new to Apple may already have a lot of bookmarks saved in Chrome and know their way around the browser well. In this case, it’s often more convenient to stick to Chrome and go through the process of downloading it on Apple devices. 

What Browser Should You Use on Mac?

Google might offer Chrome M1 and M2 compatibility, but is it actually the best browser for Macs? Not always. Most users won’t notice slight performance differences from one browser to another. So, at the end of the day, the best browser for Mac is whichever one you are already comfortable using. 

However, for those looking for the best performance, there are a few things to consider. When the M1 Macs first launched, speed tests showed Safari had a significant edge over Chrome. As the built-in default browser on Macs, Safari will always be better optimized out of the box. 

After Google’s optimization updates to Chrome for the M1 and M2 Macs, the speed gap between Chrome and Safari is negligible. The main advantage of Chrome is cross compatibility with other operating systems. Since it is available on non-Apple devices, sync is much more accessible. 

From this perspective, Safari is really only ideal for those who only use Apple devices. It doesn’t run on non-Apple operating systems like Windows and Android. So, if you use any non-Apple devices, it might be a good idea to go with Google Chrome. Otherwise, both leading browsers offer comparable speed and performance. 

Chrome Compatibility On Mac

Google released Chrome M1 and M2 optimizations to update the browser for Apple’s new processors. These updates make Chrome a leading browser choice for Mac users. While Safari is usually faster out of the box, Chrome is more accessible and easier to use with non-Apple devices. If you’re using an M1 or M2 Mac, either Chrome or Safari will run great on it.