Google beefs up Chrome browser security for Mac and iOS devices


Google Safe Browsing update in Chrome for macOS and iOS
These security updates come to macOS and iOS users first and to Android users later in the month.
Photo: Google

Privacy-preserving URL protection and beefed-up password protection are coming to Google Safe Browsing for the popular Chrome browser for macOS and iOS, Google said Thursday. The Chrome security update comes to Macs, iPhones and iPads first. Android devices will see them later in March.

Chrome security update: Google Safe Browsing beefed up for macOS and iOS

Despite the advantages of using Apple’s Safari browser, Chrome remains popular with many Mac and iPhone users. Google Safe Browsing in Chrome protects against phishing, malware, unwanted software and more. It shows more than 3 million user warnings daily for potential threats, Google said.

But the new Chrome security update might increase that number, according to a pair of blog posts from Google (general news and technical details).

Until now, Safe Browsing’s standard protection mode worked from a list of known malicious websites stored on a user’s device. Now, with the Chrome security update, it will check sites against Google’s server-side list in real time.

That change should block 25% more phishing attempts, according to Google. And it helps spot brand-new threats plus those that exist only briefly. Many dangerous websites pop up for less than 10 minutes, the company noted.

Encryption and other methods added

Google Safe Browsing threat site check in Chrome for macOS and iOS
This schematic shows the updated threat-site checking process.
Photo: Google

The update uses privacy-enhancing methods like encryption to make sure no one, including Google, knows what websites you go to.

“While this does require some additional horsepower from the browser, we’ve worked to make sure your experience remains smooth and speedy,” the company said.

And while the Chrome security update relates to Safe Browsing’s Standard protection, you can jack it up by turning on Enhanced Protection. That uses artificial intelligence to protect against malicious Chrome extensions, Google said.

Password Checkup updated, too

Google added that Password Checkup on iOS also recently received an update. In addition to calling your attention to compromised passwords, it can now flag weak and reused passwords. (iCloud Keychain offers a similar function.)

The user gets an alert when entering a bad password. Or they can check passwords any time in Chrome Settings > Safety Check.

For much more detail on the Chrome security update and how the changes work, read Google’s technical blog post.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.