I traveled last week when Microsoft announced its first preview of the new Edge for Mac. But I'm back now, so I realized I'd give the new browser a spin. After all, the new Edge has already won me on Windows.
This release marks the second major platform for the new Edge: The first release was only available on Windows 10. But where Windows 10 users can currently choose between Canary and Dev channels, with their daily and weekly updates, respectively. Mac users only have to do with the Dev channel (weekly update). (Microsoft has not yet released any new Edge versions for Windows 7 or 8.1.)
On this note, the current version of the new Edge on Mac, as of this writing, is 18.104.22.168. What happens to map exactly to the Canarias building I use on Windows 10; that will change during this week when Canary updates every night, but it also temporarily provides a good way to compare how Edge looks and works across the two platforms.
Install and setup is easy: You download the new Edge from the Microsoft Edge Insider Preview site, and it is normally installed for a Mac app and automatically runs so you can get it up and configured. I like that it is automatically detected that I used the macOS Mojave's dark mode and configured it accordingly.
As is the case with Windows, the configuration is currently manual: You can sign in to your Microsoft account, which one day will be a necessity for most people, but right now it only syncs favorites, as it does in Windows 10 .
So you need to import your passwords, auto-fill data and browser history, if you like, from Chrome. And you have to download extensions manually. I recommend that you enable and use the Chrome Web Store now, and not the Microsoft store for compatibility reasons, to completely duplicate your Chrome setup. Don't forget to switch your search engine to Google; This setting is appropriately hidden in Privacy & Services> Address Bar.
With all that is done, the new Edge seems to work identically to the versions I have used in Windows. Passwords are automatically completed, my favorites are available, and the browser seems to be running and working properly.
But what I was most interested in was perhaps the new Edge's ability to handle web apps.
To test this, I visited two sites, Gmail and Twitter; The former is a regular website, while the latter is a Progressive Web App (PWA) that Chrome can install as an app.
Both worked as expected. With Gmail, I can "Pin to Finder" ("Pin to Desktop" in Windows) and then access it as a pseudo-macOS app by connecting it to the Dock and configuring it to open as a window (at the edge: // apps.
And with Twitter, the new Edge offers an address-based "Installer" prompt that also places Twitter in the edge: // apps.
It's a last oddity, unless you're used to Chrome on macOS, I guess: When you try to quit the new Edge normally, by typing CMD + Q, you are prompted to hold down the keys to complete the action. Other Mac apps do not, but Chrome does. And now the new Edge does.
I need to spend more time with it, but in the beginning blush sees the new Edge appear to work almost identical on macOS as it does on Windows. And it's a fine win for Microsoft and for all Mac users who want to minimize Google in their lives.
I will continue to experiment.