Microsoft once had the web browser market mostly to itself, but is struggling with Edge in Windows 10. However, Edge for iPhone could boost its use by helping Windows users feel at home.
You may wonder why anyone would want another browser on their iPhone or iPad because both have a great browser in Safari.
Apple’s browser works well on iOS devices and it is the natural choice if you also have an Apple Mac, but Windows PC usage is massive and a large number of iPhone and iPad owners use a PC. For them, there are advantages to using Edge on an iOS device instead of Safari.
The first time Edge is run, you are prompted to sign in to your Microsoft account. The same username and password as Outlook.com, OneDrive.com, Xbox Live and so on is used.
Two factor authentication (2FA) is required for syncing certain settings between Edge on the iOS device and your other devices and Windows PCs. You should have 2FA set up already for security purposes and if you haven’t, go and do it, it’s worth it. See Secure your Microsoft account with two factor authentication.
Continue browsing on a PC
If you have a PC running Windows 10 Fall Creator’s Update you can start browsing the web on the iPhone using Edge and continue on the computer using Edge. Tapping the middle icon on the toolbar at the bottom of the screen displays a list of your PCs.
Tap a PC and if Edge is open, it instantly opens the same page as on the iPhone. If Edge is not running, a notification appears on the PC's screen and in Action Center. Clicking it opens the web page in Edge.
This feature works brilliantly and almost instantaneously with the Fall Creator’s Update. It does not work with older versions of Windows though.
New tab news feed
Edge supports multiple tabs for browsing and it can display the latest news stories taken from MSN News when a new tab is opened. This is quite good and it saves you having to go to a news website.
The iPhone and iPad have an Apple News app of course, but it is good to have more than one source of news.
Use voice searches
The new tab page shows a search box which uses Bing as the search engine by default, but there is an option in the app's settings to switch to Google if you prefer it.
Tap the microphone in the new tab page search box and you can speak your search query. It is easy to use and saves you having to type the search term. The results appear from the selected search engine.
At the right side of the search box on the new tab page are two icons, a microphone and a square thing. Tap the square thing and it fires up the iPhone or iPad camera and you can point it at a QR code to read it.
This is useful if you often need to read QR codes.
The icon in the top right corner of Edge opens the Hub. This contains your Favourites (website bookmarks), Reading list (web articles you saved for reading later), and the browsing history. There is an identical feature in Safari and Edge works in the same way.
The favourites store the website icon as well as the URL and the favourites list looks good. However, I could not find a way to create folders to organise them or sorting options.
The Hub contents should be synced with Edge on the computer, but I could not get this feature to work. The favourites and Reading list remained separate on the PC and iPhone.
These could be because of bugs or unfinished features that will be fixed in an update. Let’s hope so.
All browsers have a private browsing mode and Edge calls it InPrivate. Tap the tabs icon in the toolbar at the bottom of the screen and the tabs screen appears. This shows thumbnail images of the tabs that are open.
The tab page has tabs itself and There is Tabs (regular tabs) and InPrivate (private browsing tabs). New tabs can be created on either the Tabs or InPrivate tabs and you can easily switch from one to another. The thumbnails of the tabs look good.
Will you switch to Edge?
Edge is a good browser that has all the features that most people need. If you are a Windows 10 user then Edge is better than Safari because of the continue browsing feature and syncing of settings (when the bugs are ironed out).
So much for the features, what about its browsing capabilities? Apple forces alternative browsers to use the Safari browser engine, so basically Edge is Safari, but with a different interface and features. It is therefore as good as Safari at rendering web pages. You should not notice any differences.
If you want a cross-platform web browser, there is always Chrome. It dominates on desktop computers and there are iPhone and iPad versions that sync settings and bookmarks. Edge has some stiff competition.
- Written by Roland Waddilove
- Published: 01 December 2017