Safari vs. Google Chrome: Which browser is better for iOS?

 

Having a good mobile Internet browser on your smartphone is a must. Some browsers have more features and work better for some people versus the stock Internet browsers that come with your phone. For iPhone owners, Safari is the primary browser and there is no way of changing the default settings so that internet links sent via text or links in apps can open in another browser.

Despite this somewhat annoying restriction, you can still download a different browser for viewing your favorite Web sites. I personally prefer Google Chrome over Safari.

For starters, Google Chrome syncs with your desktop bookmarks if you have Google Chrome on your personal computer. This is my favorite feature – the ability to access my laptop’s Internet bookmarks anywhere I am.

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Chrome’s ability to sync bookmarks saves you the time and hassle of having to add all your favorites on your mobile browser. Also, if you add more bookmarks on your computer after installing the mobile Chrome browser, those bookmarks will automatically sync to Chrome on your phone (See above picture).

Another feature I like about mobile Chrome is that pages seem to load faster in the Chrome browser than they do in the Safari browser. Nothing is more annoying when you need to look up something quick on the go and the page takes forever to load, which I had happen when I used to solely use Safari. There are still certain pages that take forever to load in Chrome, but those are just large Web sites that lack a mobile version.

The one feature I do prefer in Safari is there are more sharing options for Web sites. Chrome’s sharing options are limited to Google+, E-mail, Facebook, and Twitter.

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With Safari, I have the additional options of text messaging someone the link of a Web site, adding bookmarks directly on one of my home screens for faster access, etc. (See above picture for Safari’s Web site sharing options and actions.) Being able to easily share a link of a news article or Web site with a friend is important to me.

Despite the limited sharing options of Chrome, it is still the better Internet browser on the iPhone, in my opinion. Speed and access to bookmarks anywhere you go are must have features for a good mobile browser.

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iOS 6: The best thing to come to the iPhone

In Wednesday’s post, I briefly mentioned iOS 6, the newest operating system on the iPhone. Well, after updating to iOS 6 Wednesday night and exploring the changes since, I thought I would review iOS 6 for those of you who have just updated to it, haven’t gotten around to updating to it yet, or for others who are debating getting an iPhone.

First of all, if you have an iPhone 4s, iPhone 4, or an iPhone 3GS, and haven’t updated to iOS 6 yet, I recommend you do it through iTunes on your computer. The update is fairly quick on the computer versus the slower speeds one may encounter by trying to update directly on their phone via a Wi-Fi network. All you have to do is make sure you update your iTunes to the latest version, restart your computer, hook up your phone adapter to your USB port to sync your phone and it will start the update process. The update shouldn’t take longer than 10-15 minutes.

The first new feature I had heard about and checked out right away was the new Facebook integration. Right in your settings below Twitter will be the new Facebook settings option. From there, you can choose to have your Facebook events and birthdays integrated through your regular calendar app. Your Facebook friends’ birthdays will now appear in your notifications bar and within your calendar app, so you never forget a birthday.

The Facebook photo integration is one of the best new features, in my opinion. Before I bought my iPhone, I had an Android phone from the Samsung Galaxy line. It would let me upload my pictures directly from the picture itself. When I got my iPhone, I saw that I no longer had that option and was disappointed. Now, you can take a picture, go to the picture you want to upload, and upload that picture directly to Facebook from the options button. This is a feature that has probably been long-awaited on the iPhone. Another handy feature of the new Facebook integration is the new option to post a status directly from the pull-down notifications bar. You can also now send a tweet directly from the notifications bar.

 

This is the new options menu for photos, which now includes the option to upload photos directly to Facebook, instead of having to open the Facebook app and upload photos.

 

Another significant change in iOS 6 is the major improvements to Siri. Siri now can do a lot more things than she used to be able to do, including giving you sports scores, telling you who are the main actors in a movie, giving you movie showtimes and movie reviews, opening apps for you, and more. She also will post statuses to Facebook for you and send tweets to Twitter. Siri is still in the Beta stage, so she may not post what you want on the first try, as I have discovered. It took me three tries for her to accurately write what I wanted her to post on my Facebook. It helps if you speak slowly and loudly to ensure that she will correctly interpret what you want posted on hopefully the first try. Regardless, I find it pretty cool that Siri can now post Facebook statuses. She’s becoming a much better virtual assistant.

 

Siri now will give you reviews of a movie you are interested in seeing, which is very handy if you would rather not dig through your IMDb or Flixster apps to see if a movie is worth watching.

 

Another change worth mentioning that I have found handy is the new “Do Not Disturb” option in settings right above the notifications settings. Probably most of you leave your phone on at night after you make sure that it is turned on silent. But that still doesn’t stop your phone from lighting up in the middle of the night due to notifications. If you are like me, you have been almost asleep but you sense a light in the room and look over to see your phone lit up. You reach for your phone, wondering if someone texted you, when you should just be going to sleep and not worrying about your phone until you wake up.

You can now set “quiet hours” during which you do not want to be disturbed, such as from 1 a.m. until 9 a.m. Your phone will then not light up to notify you of any calls, missed texts or other notifications during that time. Also, if you are afraid of missing an important call from a family member, just make sure you have people whose calls you cannot afford to miss listed as favorites in your contacts. Then all you need to do is select the “Allow Calls From” option and set it for “Favorites.”

 

Thanks to the new “Do Not Disturb” option, I will no longer be bothered by my phone lighting up in the middle of the night, even if I forgot to put my phone on silent.

 

There are many more new changes in iOS 6, but the last important one I will highlight is the new “Reply With Message” option. We have probably all been in a situation where someone calls but we don’t have the time to talk and may have either let the call go to voicemail or declined the call. Now you can be more polite about it with the option to respond to the call with a simple text such as, “I’m busy right now, but I’ll call you back later.” You can also set a reminder right on the incoming call to remind yourself to actually call that person back, instead of forgetting to call them back.

 

These are the three default messages I have created to reply to an incoming call with if I am busy at the moment

For the list of the rest of the new iOS 6 features, go to http://www.apple.com/ios/whats-new/. If you have downloaded iOS 6, what are your favorite features? Where do you think there could still be room for improvement in the next iOS? Feel free to leave your comments!

The iPhone 4s vs. the iPhone 5: Is there going to be much difference?

The iPhone 5 in all its glory.

 

A lot of you may have already heard that the iPhone 5 will be officially released this Friday. As an owner of the previous iPhone model, the iPhone 4s, I wanted to compare the specs between the two phones to see how much better the iPhone 5 is actually.

I have had my iPhone 4s since about June and have loved its functionality ever since. It is the perfect size and has all the specifications I could want, from a very high-quality 8MP camera to Siri, my handy virtual assistant. When it comes to size, the iPhone 5 will be bigger than the iPhone 4s. It has a 4 inch screen versus the iPhone 4s’s 3.5 inch screen, which gives the home screen an extra row for app icons. I find the 3.5 inch screen to be the perfect size, and find the screen of a lot of Android phones, like the Samsung Galaxy SIII’s 4.8 inch screen, to be too large for a phone.

Another big difference is the size of the charger with the iPhone 5. It has a much smaller connector as opposed to the 30-pin connector on the iPhone 4s and iPhone 4. This becomes a problem with those of us who have iPhone charging accessories, such as battery packs and alarm clocks. I bought a digital alarm clock that gives me the option to charge my iPhone, which comes in handy when I just want to charge it faster and don’t need to use an outlet. Because of the new connector size to charge to the iPhone 5, alarm clocks like mine will become obsolete.

Other significant changes include an A6 chip versus the A5 chip in the iPhone 4s, which means the iPhone 5 will have faster processing speeds. The 4G LTE capability will be a greatly needed improvement for many in LTE-capable areas, but unfortunately makes no difference in my area with my Sprint carrier, along with many other suburb and rural areas.

Let’s look at the iOS 6, which was just released today and I will be updating to tonight. A lot of other new improvements to iOS 6 which will all be on the iPhone 5,  can easily be put on older models like the iPhone 4s, iPhone 4, and iPhone 3GS, thanks to the iPhone’s ability to easily update to the newest operating system. So Siri’s advanced capabilities will be available on older iPhone models, along with the many other new features, including Facebook integration, turn-by-turn navigation with spoken directions, improvements to Safari, and many more changes. To see all of the changes in the update, you can go to http://www.apple.com/ios/whats-new/. To see a review of iOS 6, go to http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9231379/Apple_iOS_6_review_A_worthwhile_upgrade?taxonomyId=77.

So, if you are debating whether to wait for your two-year upgrade eligibility to buy a newer iPhone or will be a first time iPhone owner who is unsure about the expensive cost of $199, I would recommend either waiting until the iPhone 5’s price gets lowered next year or buy the iPhone 4s, which will only be $99 on contract. But if you are eligible for an upgrade soon or really want to get your hands on the new, shiny iPhone, by all means go for it and enjoy! To discover all the other changes found in the iPhone 5, go to http://www.apple.com/iphone/compare-iphones/.

See the official iPhone 5 trailer below to learn about all the new changes.