Still using Safari on iPhone? These Google Chrome upgrades might change your mind

Google Chrome logo displayed on an iPhone X screen
(Image credit: Shutterstock / BigTunaOnline)

Apple’s Safari browser has come a long way since its Mac OS X Panther debut in 2003, but a slew of incoming Chrome upgrades suggest Google’s browser could still be the better option for iPhone users in 2023.

In the coming months, Google will update Chrome on iOS with better integration for Google apps including Maps, Calendar, Translate and Lens. These upgrades will “help you quickly get more done from your browser,” the tech giant says.

For instance, you’ll soon be given the option to summon a mini Google Maps view when highlighting address text on web pages, saving you the trouble of switching from Chrome to Google Maps proper if you’re after some directions in a hurry.

In a similar vein, when tapping a date listed on a Chrome web page, the “Add to Google Calendar” option will trigger a new creation panel where key details have automatically been filled out based on contextual information trawled from the page itself. In other words, you won’t have to manually type out the specifics of a calendar appointment – though you will, of course, have the option to amend any incorrect details.

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For translation tasks, highlighting foreign text will soon present a Google Translate option in the copy toolbar that – surprise! – translates that text into your chosen language without you having to navigate away from Chrome. You’ll also be able to hear the translation, as you can in Google Translate proper.

And lastly, the Chrome search bar will soon include a Google Lens option that lets you "use your camera to search with new pictures you take and existing images in your camera roll." At present, Google Lens functionality is reserved for the Google Search app on iOS.

All four of these incoming Chrome upgrades will be welcomed by iPhone owners who already use Google apps regularly, but Google will also be hoping that they catch the eyes of those who currently prefer Apple’s equivalent apps.

That said, Apple is mounting its own challenge to keep iPhone users firmly embedded within its own app ecosystem. iOS 17, for instance, will introduce several Apple Maps upgrades that better integrate Apple’s in-house navigational software with the iPhone itself. 

A 2022 study by Atlas VPN also found that Safari now boasts almost 20% of all internet users worldwide, and although that figure doesn’t come close to Chrome’s 64% market share, it’s clear that Google has a job on its hands if it hopes to remain the go-to browser provider for the 1 billion-plus iPhone users around the world.

Axel Metz
Senior Staff Writer

Axel is a London-based Senior Staff Writer at TechRadar, reporting on everything from the latest Apple developments to newest movies as part of the site's daily news output. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion. 

Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned an NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme.