Updated Google's attempt to launch its Arm port of Chrome for Apple Silicon Macs got off to a rocky start after it was forced to pull the browser over stability concerns.
"Earlier today we updated our Chrome download page to include a new version of Chrome optimized for new macOS devices featuring an Apple processor," Googler Craig wrote on the Chrome support pages. "We've discovered that the version of Chrome made available for download today may crash unexpectedly."
At the time of writing, the macOS ARM64 port of the browser remains unavailable. Folks now face two options: use the standard x86_64 version, which will run happily on their Arm Mac via the Rosetta 2 emulation layer, or if they managed to download the Apple Silicon port, use a workaround that involves giving Chrome access to the Mac's Bluetooth radio.
The emulated version shouldn't prove unbearably slow. Benchmarks of Apple's latest in binary translation tech shows Rosetta2 is roughly 20 per cent slower than the native equivalents. Given this is a fairly brisk chip to begin with, performance is roughly comparable to what you'd get with a well-specced last-generation Mac.
Still, this episode is more than a touch embarrassing for Google, particularly given the pains made by Apple to ease the switch to Apple Silicon. These included a nearly six-months head start, as well as access to Arm-powered Developer Transition Kit machines, to iron out any kinks.
Released earlier this week, Chrome 87 comes with several performance enhancements, as well as changes designed to improve user security. Included is a fix for the NAT Slipstream attack identified last month by hacker Samy Kamkar, plus new tab prioritisation tech, which Google claims will reduce CPU utilisation by up to five times, reduce RAM usage, and extend battery life by up to 1.25 hours.
We've asked Google when it will re-upload the Apple Silicon port of Chrome, and will update this post should we hear back. ®
Updated to add
Google has now emitted what it says is a fixed build of the Apple Arm port of Chrome.