Cross Browser Testing (Mac)

by on 26th July 2007 with 6 Comments

Many web professionals use Apple’s OSX for design and despite what you may think, it’s not difficult to test your website in the big three browsers – Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari. This article talks you through how to easily test your site and gain access to these browsers on a Mac.


Safari Browser Testing

Let’s start with the easiest one. Safari is the browser bundled with Apple’s OSX operating system. It recently became available for Windows as well. Both copies can be downloaded from Apple.

Testing on Safari for Mac is exactly the same as testing Safari for Windows – they are built on the same engine, and your website will look the same on both. The only difference may be the variation in fonts, as some are available on OSX but not Windows and vice versa. The best way to test this is to look at your site in another Windows browser such as Internet Explorer (see below).


Firefox Browser Testing

Again, this is fairly straight forward. Firefox is freely available for both Windows and Mac. Testing on one is more or less the same as testing on the other. Some controls (i.e. form submit buttons, search fields etc) may look slightly different on Mac or Windows versions.

It is also worth testing your website on Camino – a Mac browser based on Firefox.

Internet Explorer (IE)

Internet Explorer Browser Testing

We’ve left the trickiest until last. Microsoft no longer make IE for Mac, so you need to find a way to run Windows on your Mac to test in this browser. You have two options. The first is to use Apple’s Boot Camp to install a copy of Windows on your Intel Mac – you boot into that to test your website in XP/Vista. The problem with this is that it requires you to reboot your machine every time you want to test your site… not ideal!

The second option is to use Parallels Desktop, which allows you to run a virtual copy of Windows inside OSX. This is easier, as you can simply run IE alongside all your Mac development applications and make changes as you test. It’s the only piece of software in this article which isn’t free, but well worth the money for the time it saves.

Have fun ensuring that your website looks good in each browser, and when you’ve finished remember to submit your site to us!

Comments & Discussion


  • steve

    hi.. I think there are definite
    differences between mac and PC versions of Safari.

    If you look at the site im building in the pc version the form that is under “Quick Mortgage Quote” appears, but on the mac version of safari it doesn’t. Its missing.

    My friend has a mac so i will test this on his mac as well and let you know

  • http://www. Sean|Orbell

    For any Mac users who are running on Intel, there is a FREE program, that allows you to test your site with IE browsers 5, 6, and 7! This is helping me very much as I’m a current full time student using a Mac in a PC Environment, with not enough money for Parallels.

    Here is the link for the site, just make sure you have an Intel Mac and you should be good to go!

  • Andrew Jhonson

    To rescue the web designers from this aching job of testing browser compatibility in different browsers there are few websites which offer this service. On these websites you can check the compatibility of your website in all desired browsers. You can find these websites at

  • Pingback: Cross Browser Testing (PC) | Design Shack()

  • Chris

    Your assumption about Safari rendering the same in Mac as it does in Windows is absolutely wrong. I’ve seen many sites where the markup and CSS DO NOT look in the same in Safari for Windows and for Safari Mac. I’m talking basic markup and CSS, no hacks or tricks. Something to consider when you make blanket statements like this.

  • Vas

    @chris, the same applies to Firefox


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