Just a few years ago, no one expected Microsoft Edge to go to the Mac. Yet here we are. Microsoft abandoned the old EdgeHTML engine that powered Edge on Windows 10 for so long and adopted Chromium instead. And that made it relatively easy to publish Microsoft Edge to Apple’s desktop operating system.
The move to Chromium has made Microsoft Edge a great browser in every way. It is widely compatible with almost all websites, supports a ton of extensions, comes with a multitude of privacy-related features, and more.
But perhaps the most exciting is the fact that you can synchronize and access your browsing data on all major desktop and mobile platforms.
Microsoft Edge isn’t just another Chromium niche browser – it has a rapidly growing user base, and Microsoft is committed to improving it. Regular updates of functionality and security across Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox are therefore pretty much standard.
If you’re ready to try Microsoft Edge on the Mac, this guide should help you set it up.
Installing Microsoft Edge Chromium on Mac
Go to the Microsoft Edge download page using any browser installed, such as Safari, on your Mac. The site will automatically detect the correct operating system – click the Download button for macOS to recover the Microsoft Edge installation package.
The download is around 150 MB (may vary with the following versions). Once done, head to the Downloads folder on your Mac, then double-click the downloaded file.
On the Microsoft Edge installer that appears, click Continue.
Then just follow the on-screen instructions to install the web browser.
In the last step of the installation process, click Move to Trash to get rid of the installation package – it’s unnecessary and helps you free up space on your Mac. Finally, click Close to exit the Microsoft Edge installer.
After the installation procedure, Microsoft Edge Chromium will launch automatically on your Mac. If not, go to your Mac’s Launchpad and click the Microsoft Edge icon to launch it.
The browser should welcome you with a start screen – click on Start.
It will then attempt to guide you through three steps to help you configure your browser: import data from Chrome, select a new tab page layout, and sign in with a Microsoft account.
You have more control over all of these actions once you are in the actual web browser, so skip these steps to access the main browser area.
New tab layout
The Microsoft Edge Chromium tabs contain a lot of things. There is a search bar at the top of the screen, a shortcut area (or quick links) and a news feed which you can access by scrolling down. If you like the default layout, don’t hesitate to stick with it.
But if you want to change that, start by clicking on the cog icon in the upper right corner of the screen.
You will then see three different layouts – Focused, Inspirational (which is the default) and Informational.
Inspirational and Informational will display a background image (which updates daily) and a news feed. Information can be very distracting because it puts the news at the center of your attention. Inspiration is less so since the flow is out of sight normal.
Focused, on the other hand, gets rid of the background and emphasizes the shortcuts and the search bar – you can always scroll down to access the news feed.
If you want to turn off news for one of the layouts or if you want to create your layout, select Custom.
You can then select Content disabled to completely disable the news feed. Also deactivate or activate the quick links and the background of the tabs using the buttons provided.
Customize the appearance
In addition to changing the tab layout, you can further customize the appearance of Microsoft Edge by accessing the Microsoft Edge Settings panel. To do this, open the Edge menu (click the three-dot icon in the upper right corner of the screen), then click Settings.
Once you are in the Browser Settings screen, switch to the Appearance side tab. You can then make a multitude of modifications, by changing the font and font size used, adding a Home button to the user interface, hiding the Favorites and Collections buttons, etc.
You can also activate a dark theme or match it to the system color palette on your Mac – select Dark or System Default using the menu next to Theme. In addition, you can also use this workaround to display web pages in dark mode.
Import browser data
Microsoft Edge Chromium allows you to easily import navigation data from Chrome, Safari or Firefox. This greatly facilitates the process of changing browsers. Start by going to Edge Settings> Profiles> Import browser data.
You will then come across a pop-up window in which you can choose the browser to import your data. Once you have selected the data forms you want to import, click Import.
Then use the Favorites and History options in the Edge menu to view your imported favorites and history. You can access other forms of data (passwords, payment information, etc.) through the Profile section of the Settings screen.
Since Chrome is also based on the Chromium engine, Microsoft Edge offers more import options (such as the ability to select the exact browser profile to get your data). See this walkthrough for more details.
Synchronize your data
Microsoft Edge Chromium allows you to synchronize your browsing data to and from other devices – iPhone, iPad, Android and Windows. It also helps you to store your data securely on Microsoft servers.
Start by heading to Edge Settings> Profiles. Click Connect, and then insert your Microsoft account credentials when prompted. If you don’t have a Microsoft account, you can create one for free – it’s worth it.
On the Synchronize your profile context page that appears, click Personalize.
You can then specify the exact forms of navigation data you want to synchronize – Favorites, Settings, etc. When you’re done, click Confirm.
Note: At the time of writing, Microsoft Edge does not yet support synchronization of history, open tabs, extensions, and collections with other devices.
To manage your Microsoft Edge Sync settings later, go to Edge Settings> Sync.
Microsoft Edge sports support for a decent and growing library of extensions. Start by going to the Microsoft Edge Addons store. You can then either search for the extensions you want to install, or filter them by category – Productivity, Accessibility, Social, etc.
If you see an extension you like, click Get, then click Add Extension.
After installing an extension, you can access it by clicking on its icon to the right of the Microsoft Edge address bar.
To manage your extensions, open the Edge menu and click Extensions. You can then deactivate, activate or delete any extension. You can also access the Microsoft Edge Addons store via this screen itself.
Microsoft Edge even lets you install extensions from other Chromium-based browser stores, including the Chrome Web Store. For more information, see this walkthrough.
Default search engine
Bing is the default search engine for searches in the address bar in Microsoft Edge Chromium. But you can immediately change it to Google or Yahoo. Start by heading to Edge Settings> Privacy & Services> Address Bar.
Click the drop-down menu next to “Search engine used in the address bar”, then select Google or Yahoo.
You can also set other search engines (such as DuckDuckGo) to default, and even point the new tab page to another search engine. But the process is a bit complicated.
Prevention of follow-up
Forget about installing third-party content blocking extensions. Microsoft Edge comes with its own built-in tracking prevention module that makes preserving your privacy a breeze.
Start by going to Edge Settings> Privacy & Services. Select an appropriate follow-up prevention level – Basic, Balanced (default setting) or Strict.
Basic blocks the fewest trackers but keeps malicious scripts at bay. A balanced level prevents third-party scripts from following you and stops personalized ads. And Strict blocks almost all trackers and ads, but can break certain sites in the process.
It’s best to put Microsoft Edge Chromium to the test before making it the default browser on your Mac. But if you want to get right to the point, here’s how to do it.
Go to Apple menu> System Preferences> General. Use the drop-down menu next to the default web browser and select Microsoft Edge.
This should make Microsoft Edge your Mac’s default browser, so any links you click will automatically open through it.
Living on the edge
You are now ready to use Microsoft Edge Chromium on your Mac. The browser has many other options and features – progressive web applications, InPrivate navigation mode, etc. Don’t be afraid to try them. You can always reset the browser if you get it wrong.
Also, keep in mind that Microsoft Edge receives regular updates that improve browser security and performance. Although it usually updates automatically, it’s always best to confirm it periodically – go to Edge Edge> About Microsoft Edge to do so.
Is Microsoft Edge Chromium not your cup of tea? Here’s how to remove it completely from your Mac.
Last updated April 26, 2020