I’m trying out Firefox 6 as a replacement for Safari 5.1 on Mac OS X Lion today.
The first thing that I love about the new Firefox is that it rocks Safari in responsiveness and memory usage.
Visiting big sites with loads of images and video launch with a bam! on Firefox as opposed to the laggy wimper on the new Safari. Also, the sites that I regularly login to and keep open like Gmail and WordPress.com don’t suffer the constant loading problem on Firefox 6 that has plagued Safari since its inception.
As you can see from the screenshot above, you can see that Firefox also uses less memory. For this comparison, I loaded six tabs on both browsers with the same sites that I normally load during my browsing sessions. Safari and Safari Web Content use a combined total of 748.7 MB while Firefox and Firefox Plugin Process use a combined total of 512.6 MB for a difference of 236.1 MB! I have documented Safari’s web hogging status previously here.
Having seen no glitches or problems so far today, I will keep rolling with Firefox for awhile.
If you haven’t downloaded the latest version of Firefox, you can find it here.
I have noticed on my MacBook 5,1 with 4 GB of RAM that Safari gets sluggish in full screen mode with twelve tabs open. I also noticed that Safari 5.1, which ships with Mac OS X Lion, spins two processes: Safari (currently using 294 MB RAM and 6.2% of CPU utilization) and Safari Web Content (currently using 1.33 GB RAM and 41% of CPU utilization). If I drop out of full screen mode, the RAM allocation remains the same, but the CPU utilization drops to about 1.4% and 8% respectively. Now, I am back into full screen mode, but I have not yet seen the spike in CPU utilization. I currently have three Safari Extensions installed: AdBlock, Awesome Screenshot, and Click to Flash. I also have the latest version of Adobe Flash installed, but I do not have any active Flash content loaded.
I searched online to see if anyone else is having similar issues. I found a thread started by scryedz on the Apple Support Communities, who began the discussion by writing:
Hi everyone! Safari become very lag when I open a new tab or pages, and when I checked Activity Monitor, the one that made my mac lag is Safari Web Content, it can eats 80-90% of CPU.However, it only happened if I open new tab/pages. I never experienced lag with other browser such as Firefox before. Anyone ever experienced this? Any suggestion or solution will be appreciated. Thanks.
via Safari Web Content high CPU usage: Apple Support Communities.
Following the thread, it sounds like others are experiencing Safari’s resource hogging and system sluggishness. Some suggestions to fix the problem include deleting Safari’s cache files manually (~User/Library/Cache/com.Apple.Safari) and uninstalling all Safari Extensions.
Hopefully, Apple will address this problem more assertively with a software update to Safari.
If you don’t religiously follow MacUpdate.com or refresh Apple’s Software Update once a day, you may have missed some of the recent software updates for Mac OS X and iPhone/iPad:
Remember to backup your files (manually or with a backup solution like Apple’s Time Machine), and then apply updates. It is also good practice to repair your disk permissions on Mac OS X after updates are completed with Disk Utility (located in /Applications/Utilities).