Google has highlighted six new features coming to release M103 of its Chrome for iOS web browser. Perhaps conscious of Apple’s reputation for tight security, the biggest changes involve anti-malware credentials, but the changes encompass everything from translation to password auto-fill.
Google says it will “bring even more innovation to Chrome on iOS in the coming weeks.” But for now, here are the new features coming to your iPhone soon:
- Enhanced Safe Browsing, a Chrome feature designed to thwart malware and phishing attacks, comes to iOS for the first time. This will alert iPhone users of dangerous web pages, and warn them if entered credentials have been compromised in a data breach.
- You’ll be able to set Google Password Manager as the autofill provider for creating and entering website logins and passwords. Google says this will also work for logins for other iOS apps.
- Online discovery: Google says it is making it “easier to browse content, start a new Search or easily get back to your most frequently visited sites.” There’s no further detail on that, or even a screenshot so you can see what it looks like.
- You can browse websites in your preferred language, thanks to translation powered by on-device machine learning.
- Chrome Actions: There are pre-written actions for a range of common functions, such as “Clear Browsing Data” or “Set Chrome as Default Browser.” Start typing the action name, or something similar to the action name, into the address bar and Chrome will suggest it as a quick-access command. Google says Chrome will also know to predict when an action could be useful.
- Redesign of the three-dot menu. Google hasn’t offered any screenshots of the new design, but says it will “make it easier to find features you’re looking for.” The vertical order of actions has been adjusted to bring commonly used actions to the top of the list, and certain actions are highlighted so they’re easier to spot. 9to5Google describes the new menu as having “a colorful carousel providing quick access to Bookmarks, History, Reading List, Passwords, Downloads, Recent Tabs, and Settings.”
Historically it’s been difficult for makers of rival browsers to capture a significant share of the iPhone user base, given the preferential treatment Apple has given its own Safari software. Safari is pre-installed and set as the default browser out of the box; Chrome and its ilk require multiple user steps to reach the same status. (Learn how to make Chrome the default on your iPhone in our tutorial.)
Before the launch of iOS 14 in 2020, in fact, iPhone owners could not set anything other than Safari as the default browser no matter how hard they tried. Apple has made a certain amount of progress in this area, and competition regulators around the globe will be watching closely to make sure it doesn’t slack off.
Google told us today that the version of M103 with the new features “will be available to users in the coming days.” An earlier version of M103 started rolling out earlier this week–Chrome for iOS 103.0.5060.54 hit the App Store on June 21–but that update doesn’t yet include the features listed above.