With a dozen or so very capable Mac browsers from which to choose, why should a Mac user choose iCab?
While I don’t want to denigrate the efforts of iCab’s developers, I can’t think of a single good reason to use this aging Mac (and Windows) browser. If you really want to think different, iCab is a good choice. If you want page rendering speed, or a load of modern browser features, keep looking.
Thinking Different Doesn’t Mean Better
iCab has been around in one form or another since 1998. Shocking, no? Over the past three years, Mac360 has received about 100 visits from iCab Mac users, so, to say it’s not a popular browser is an understatement.
iCab has plenty of basic features that don’t compete.
This may be the ultimate think different browser. Ad banner filtering is built-in, including a control-click and block setting for images and ads. There’s also a full screen kiosk mode which can be limited to viewing only specific pages.
iCab stores web pages in a .zip file for later viewing. Pages can also be downloaded and saved automatically for offline reading. The link manager is also unique, letting you view links (bookmarks) in a left column, which, when clicked, displays the web page in the right column.
Unlike Safari, Firefox, SeaMonkey, or Chrome, iCab doesn’t have any extensions. That’s a feature.
Preferences abound, though, ranging from bookmarks to downloads, from cookies to security, caches, auto complete controls, and more. Do browser users use all those arcane features?
iCab does have some standard browser features, too. Web pages can be opened in new windows or in tabs, just like other browsers.
There are versions of iCab for Macs, Windows PCs, and iCab Mobile for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad—so it presents an alternative browser to Safari on Apple’s iDevices.
In an age of very fast, highly capable web browsers, iCab comes with a few strange issues.
First, it’s not very fast.
Safari and Chrome are the speed demons. Firefox is decent. iCab isn’t even that fast at loading and displaying web pages. All other popular browsers are free.
iCab comes in as shareware. Or, rather, it’s nagware. The shareware reminder box will not pop up after you pay the $20 fee.
A handful of iCab’s limited features are certainly different than mainstream browsers, however, for heavy or casual usage, this browser is mostly an acquired taste. You have to really hate Safari, Firefox, or Chrome to want to use iCab.
If a browser could ask, “Why me?” I would be hard pressed to come up with a good answer for iCab.