In-browser versus desktop apps

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by tbk, Jan 4, 2017.


Assuming they're roughly equivalent in functionality, do you prefer desktop apps or in-browser apps?

  1. Desktop application

    4 vote(s)
  2. In-browser

    0 vote(s)
  3. A mix / it depends (explain below)

    2 vote(s)
  1. tbk macrumors newbie

    Jun 18, 2011
    Do you prefer to use the standalone app or use just use the in-browser apps from third-party services?

    In my case, I'm thinking of third-party services like Wunderlist or Slack. I can get desktop notifications from either method of using the service, and have gotten used to having a tab for each pinned in my Safari, but am transitioning to using their standalone apps, and I'm curious about the impact that this will have on my energy use and browser speed.

    Do you have any preferences / strategies around how you access third-party apps?
  2. ardchoille50 macrumors 68020

    Feb 6, 2014
    For me, it depends on many things.

    First, it depends on how the app is designed. The best example here is Facebook. The Facebook iOS app is designed to register itself as a skype service, so the app runs in the background regardless of your Background App Refresh settings. So, for Facebook, if I'm going to run it in Safari on my iPhone, I may as well run it in Safari on macOS so that I have a consistent experience across devices.

    Secondly, it depends on whether or not the app includes advertisements from a third-party ad firm. It's much easier to use a content blocker to block ads in Safari than trying to setup the same thing system-wide across all devices.

    And, lastly, it would depend on whether or not I need notifications from the service. No notifications = in-browser use because it's easier for me.

    I am committed to iOS and macOS, no other operating systems used, so the above reasons may be non-issues for someone who uses just macOS.
  3. campyguy macrumors 68040

    Mar 21, 2014
    Portland / Seattle
    It depends, and I'm not keen on all of the tracking and cache/cookie/database interaction that a utility kept notifying me of. I have a fairly sandboxed routine. I don't use social accounts, my life is full enough and I own and run a small company…

    A personal and a "money" Standard User account (that's two accounts), and I use Safari only in that account; when I'm done, I clear the history and cookies - my login credentials are in 1Password and Keychain. The account I'm using now - I use Opera for these forums, Firefox for DSLReports (I dabble in telecom infrastructure), Chrome for Feedly, and Safari for junk - and I don't mix any of them, and I clear the history and cookies in Safari and keep my other browsers focused on the relevant web sites. I find that those browsers in my "surfing" account work perfectly - Opera and Firefox do a decent job of maintaining the look that I prefer, and Chrome syncs my junk Gmail address to my Feedly feed perfectly. An admin account gets used for, well, admin stuff.

    The "it depends" bit leads me to another app - Fluid (the $5 paid version) - that allows me to set up unique web sites with a login that's separate from everything else. An app for managing my mom's Netflix queue, another for Weather Underground (which I have a paid subscription) and another for WunderMap of the same area, another for Google Maps (using Chrome as the User Agent), and yet another for site-specific tide station data from NOAA - each with separate cookies and caches. I also use an old ATTWS Lumia 640 with a modded Win 10 ROM that runs Skype far better than my Mac - it was $25 at Walmart (thanks, SlickDeals!), and it gets more updates than our iPhones!

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