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Microsoft Edge takes on Chrome and Safari with official release for Apple M1 Macs

Microsoft Edge for Mac
(Image credit: Future)

Microsoft has released a new version of its Edge browser that finally adds supports Apple Silicon-powered MacBook devices.

The company first started testing the M1-optimized browser back in December, just days after recompiling its Office 365 suite to run natively on Apple’s new devices. 

The updated browser is available to download now from Microsoft’s website, with MacBook users now given the option to Edge for “Mac with Apple Chip.” That means Edge runs natively on Apple Silicon and doesn’t have to be translated through Rosetta 2 on M1 Macs, such as the latest MacBook Pro and MacBook Air

This will be welcome news for M1 Mac owners keen to switch to Microsoft’s browser. While Rosetta enabled Edge to run, emulation almost always results in a drop-off in performance due to the fact that computing resources must be set aside for translation. 

9to5Mac reports that the M1-optimized Microsoft Edge browser feels “just as fast as Chrome.” Given the performance drain that Google’s browser tends to have on some MacBook devices, the release could see some users switch to Microsoft’s Chromium-based browser instead. 

As well as being built with the M1 chip’s ARM architecture in mind, Microsoft says that the new Edge browser is “tailored for macOS”, allowing users to “browse seamlessly with experiences exclusive to Mac, like easy access to tabs, video controls and more, all within your Touch Bar.”

Microsoft is one of the last browser makers to recompile its software for M1 Macs, with rival browsers Google Chrome and Firefox already recompiled to run on Arm-based M1 chips.

The arrival of Edge on M1 Macs comes amid reports that the legacy version of the Microsoft Edge web browser will be removed from Windows 10 when it is updated later this year.