New data shows just two browsers with over a billion users

Enlarge / Safari on a Mac, showing the Google Chrome website.

Samuel Axone

Apple’s Safari web browser has over a billion users, according to an estimate by Atlas VPN. Only one other browser has over a billion users, and that’s Google’s Chrome. But at nearly 3.4 billion, Chrome still leaves Safari in the dust.

It’s important to note that these numbers include mobile users, not just desktop users. It’s likely that Safari’s status as the default browser for iPhone and iPad plays a much bigger role than its use on Mac.

Still, that’s impressive considering Safari is the only major web browser not available on Android, which is the world’s most popular mobile operating system, or Windows, the most popular desktop operating system.

Atlas VPN wrote this on their blog to explain how they arrived at the number:

Statistics are based on GlobalStats browser market share percentage, which was then converted to numbers using Internet World Stats Internet Users Metric to retrieve exact numbers.

According to the data, Chrome has around 3,378,967,819 users, while Safari has 1,006,232,879. In a very distant third place is Microsoft’s Edge, at 212,695,363. Firefox is hot on the heels of Edge in fourth. with 179,084,244.

The blog post claims that Edge just overtook Firefox for third place in the past year.

Meanwhile, Chrome dominated for a long time after supplanting Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. If the news was just that Chrome is the biggest browser, it wouldn’t even be worth reporting – these days, Chrome is the web, to some extent. And it’s worth noting that the latest versions of the third-party browser, Edge, are built on Google’s Chromium.

Apple used to have larger ambitions with Safari, as there was once a Windows version of the browser. But Apple discontinued development of this version in June 2010. Technically, you can still run Safari on Windows 10 or 11, but that wouldn’t be the best idea security-wise.

And while Safari is the default web browser on iOS, it’s possible to install and use third-party browsers on the iPhone and iPad. Since 2020, it is possible to set something other than Safari as the default browser.

That said, the difference between Safari and a third-party browser on the iPhone is profound. Alternative browsers like Chrome or Firefox still use Safari’s core technologies under the hood; they simply allow users to use bookmarks and other additional features found in those browsers on other platforms.

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