Apple has always allowed only one browser rendering-engine on the iOS platform – the one included by default. Both the native browser (Mobile Safari) and the browser embedded into apps (UIWebView) use this engine. In addition, any alternate browser on iOS, most notably Chrome for iOS, must use UIWebView and not their own engines.
Still, because Chrome for iOS and Mobile Safari are both closed applications, we had no way of actually measuring their performance. We were limited to measuring using UIWebView within Mobitest, and had to assume the other browsers are faster. Fortunately, technology is always improving…
I’ve been working with Manish Lachwani, the CTO of a new startup called Appurify. He and his team have created a platform for automated testing and measurement of black-box apps, on real mobile devices. More specifically, the platform enables some probing into the internals of select apps, such as Mobile Safari and Chrome for iOS, and even lets one simulate network speeds and cellular conditions. Using this technology, we can finally compare the actual performance of these three browsers.
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