7 Compromises Google Made, To Put Chrome on iPhone and iPad

Google Chrome for iPhone and iPad is here. But as you all know by now, it is not the complete Chrome experience on iOS. There are many compromises (platform limitations, as Google calls it)  that Google had to make to bring Chrome to iOS. Let’s take a look at 7 of them.

7 Compromises Google Made To Put Chrome on iPhone and iPad

1. V8 Engine

Google Chrome uses V8 Javascript engine to render Javascript from webpages. However, iOS doesn’t currently allow 3rd party HTML or JavaScript rendering engines. Chrome has to use the built-in WebKit engine ( UIWebView in this case) to display web pages.

2. Nitro JavaScript Engine

Since Apple’s policies won’t allow Chrome to use it’s own V8 Javascript engine, next option for speed, is Nitro JavaScript engine used by Safari on iOS. However, Apple’s policies won’t let Google use this either! So, Google had to compromise on Speed again.

3.  Its Incognito* and not just Incognito

Did you notice a * (star) next to Incognito on your iPad or iPhone? That’s because Google can not give you the real Incognito browsing experience on iOS. Here is how Google explains it.

As with the traditional desktop Incognito mode, cookies and cache are still fully separated. History is not kept, passwords are not remembered, and omnibox search suggestions are disabled. The only difference is that because of platform limitations, the HTML5 local storage is shared between regular and Incognito* tabs. This means that sites using HTML5 local storage can store files on your device and persists even after closing all Incognito* tabs.

Incognito* provides users with the best Incognito mode possible given platform limitations.

4. No Automatic Updates

Automatic updates is one of the key features of Google Chrome. Google couldn’t bring this to iOS because Apple does not support this feature.

iOS notifies you when there are updates available by displaying a number badge on the App Store icon and you’ll have to manually update the app. Chrome will also display an in-app notification when it detects a new version is available.

Now, Android also does not have automatic update by default. However, you have an option to enable this, like any other app.If you set this on for Chrome, it will be updated automatically whenever there is a new version available.

5. Control Cookies for Individual Websites

Again, platform limitations. Platform limitations only allow global cookie settings for non-Safari browsers. Chrome for Android provides an option to clear data stored by individual websites from settings.

6. Shortcuts To Individual Websites from Apps Screen

iOS does not permit any non-Safari browser to create home screen shortcuts. So, this is also not available for you on Chrome for iPhone and iPad.

7. You Can’t Make Chrome Default Browser on iOS

Safari is the default browser on iOS, and this setting can’t be changed by any other browser.If you wish to visit one of these links in Chrome you’ll need to copy and paste the web address to Chrome’s address bar, or use one of these two alternatives.

Do you know any other limitation that Chrome on iOS has? Drop me a comment!

In Category: Google Chrome


Dinsan made Google Chrome his default browser within hours of its release. He fell in love with Chromebooks from the day he first touched one and is currently obsessed with Chromecasts.

Show 9 Comments
  • Maldar 05/07/2012, 1:18 am

    I think the last one is the most irritating thing. It just made chrome much less usable. on mobile devices, you are clicking on links from everywhere, not just start within the browser.

  • Matt 09/07/2012, 7:52 pm

    I re-jailbroke my phone when I heard about chrome for iPhone, specifically to circumvent issue #7, and set Chrome as my default browser. Overall though, I haven’t really noticed much of a difference between Chrome and Safari in terms of performance or compatibility- other than Chrome has a few more things to tweak.

  • Nøff 12/07/2012, 6:29 pm

    Chrome without javascript?
    Would be like having a car without a engine.
    Nice to look at though..

  • madnow 22/07/2012, 6:23 pm

    Using incognito mode does not protect privacy very well. I was looking at a private website incognito, pressed the home button and put the iPad away. My wife took the iPad, opened Chrome and was right where I left it, on that private site. Not cool Chrome!

  • gary rintoul 05/12/2012, 3:52 am

    unable to load java/javascript or any of these type of things via chrome or safari
    for example – when booking cinema tickets you normally get a seat plan to pick from. but this is java app so wont show on iphone – real annoying

  • heather 07/07/2013, 8:14 pm

    i’m actually glad that auto-update is disable. i hate it when updates are unknowingly using bandwidth. especially for mobile devices where your internet connection is varying and sometimes costly.

  • Cal 10/09/2013, 9:37 am

    Can someone please tell me how Apple is able to get away with preventing anything other than Safari from being the default browser in iOS, considering Microsoft was pursued relentlessly by the authorities for simply making IE the default browser in Windows?

    • D 22/09/2013, 6:36 pm

      My take away from all of this isn’t that Chrome has limitations, its that the limitations – LOTS – are driven by Apple. Bluntly, I think I made a mistake buying the iPad and should have stuck with Android: Apples relentless, pointless pursuit of proprietary platform dev is a long, slow death for them IMHO. Time to ditch the iPad on Craig’s list.

  • Model12 17/09/2013, 8:56 pm

    Numbers 1/2 and 7 can be fixed via jailbreak tweaks. I think 6 can as well.

    What apparently can’t be fixed (in v. 29 and other recent versions) is the disappearing tab/toolbar (supposedly will be made an option in v. 30) and the lack of a search box when searching on Google’s own site.

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