We’ve seen the results of a whole bunch of benchmarks measuring M2 Mac speeds in the latest MacBook Air and MacBook Pro models. We can now add web browsing speed into the mix – for all that’s worth.
For one thing, browsing the web is probably the most frequent activity on a Mac. On the other hand, the speed of the browser itself pales in comparison to your connection speed and the speed of the web server on the other end. There is also a third real-life factor…
Namely, the other applications your Mac is running at the time. You will only see the fastest speeds your machine can achieve when only the browser is open. If you have a lot of other apps open, doing things in the background, you’ll see considerably slower speeds. But with those things noted, let’s see how the chips compare.
Apple’s WebKit team designed Speedometer as a way to simulate user interactions with websites and web applications to measure browser responsiveness. macworld spotted Basecamp founder David Heinemeier Hanson Tweeter own results, using the Apple Speedometer 2.0 tool.
Apple’s chip team continues to embarrass everyone in the company. Just recorded a clean 400 on the 2.0 speedometer test for the M2 Air. That’s 33% faster than what the M1 (and A15) can do. 2.5 times faster than a 4.2 GHz Intel i7 iMac. Bananas.
The site then decided to run its own tests, which included cross-browser comparisons. He tested the following chips using equivalent model MacBook Pro machines:
On each, he tested the latest versions of:
- Safari Technology Overview
Here is what he found, first for the different chips:
When I tested Safari 15.6, I saw an 18% increase in M2 over M1. That’s just over half of what Heinemeier Hanson tweeted, but he compares the M2 to an M1 score that isn’t listed. As I pointed out earlier, a 33% increase would mean the M1 posted a score of 300.
Our results are an average of three trials, and while I didn’t score an exact 400 for the M2, I did average just above, and one of the trials actually scored of 408. Our tests also revealed an 11% increase in the M2 over the M1 Pro.
There was a smaller difference when using Chrome 104. The M1 and M1 Pro scores were nearly identical at 308 and 309, and the M2 topped out at 339.
This apparently shows that Chrome – which Google always likes to claim to be the fastest browser – can’t keep up with Safari on Apple Silicon. However, as macworld Roman Loyola notes that we need to remember that Speedometer is an Apple-designed tool, and therefore Safari can be optimized for the browsing activities that the tool simulates.
That doesn’t mean Apple is doing anything nefarious. It just means that the company has its own ideas and data about the most commonly used browsing features, and it designs Safari to optimize those activities and Speedometer to measure them.
Finally, Safari Technology Preview. This is the last public beta of the upcoming browser release, and it reached an average score of 420, with a high of 425.
If you’re trying to decide between the MacBook Air M1 and M2, we’ve prepared a video explaining the differences. This covers design, ports, keyboard, trackpad, screen, camera, performance, and SSD.
If you want to measure your own computer’s browser speed, you can do so here. Remember, however, to quit all other applications – or not, if you want to see the actual speed! If you do actual testing of Mac M2 speeds, post your results in the comments.
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