Better Together: Why Testing on Macs is Critical to Complete Your Testing Strategy

Are you testing your web app on Mac OS as well as Safari? Or does your testing strategy only look at your app’s behavior and performance on Chrome/PC?

If you answered yes to the latter, you wouldn’t be alone in thinking it’s a Microsoft Windows world and everyone else is just living in it. After all, Windows has around 76% of the desktop usage share, with Windows 10 alone representing a whopping 40% of that. Comparatively, Mac OS users comprise 15% of all desktop computer usage. However, it has continued to gain market share over the years. 

Apple performs better in the smartphone market, where the iPhone boasts a 42% market share. You might assume this translates to more Safari users, but Chrome still reigns supreme, even on iOS and Mac OS. Currently, Chrome has a 65% market share while Safari is a distant second place at 19%.

Still, neglecting any portion of your user base risks creating blind spots in your application strategy. If these gaps persist, they could put the brakes on your organization’s future success and growth.

Blind spot number one: Potential buyers and decision makers

It’s easy to see why testing your apps on Mac OS and Safari might seem unnecessary. But you’d be wrong to ignore a key user demographic: buyers and decision makers.

While the number of Mac users has increased by more than 5% since 2016, it still represents a small piece of the pie. However, this piece carries a lot of power when it comes to purchasing decisions. Here are some notable demographics for Mac users:

  • 67% of Mac users have a four-year college degree, compared to 54% of PC users.

  • Mac users are 22% more likely to be between the ages of 18 and 34, while 22% of PC users are ages 35-49.

  • 43% of Mac users say they are early adopters of technology.

Mac adoption is expected to continue on this upward trend. According to a recent survey of 1,500 IT and information security professionals, 65% of organizations that use PCs predominantly will increase their Mac device count in the next 12 months, while 74% of Mac-based organizations will increase theirs.

The biggest factor influencing buying decisions at these organizations? Security, specifically the perceived superiority of Macs over PCs in this area. In fact, 77% of organizations that use both Mac and non-Mac devices believe Macs are the most secure devices. With the recent uptick in cybersecurity incidents, particularly ransomware attacks, it makes sense that security would be a priority for any company.

If your app doesn’t satisfy these potentially influential, purse-string-holding Mac users, then your organization may not meet its sales and growth objectives.

Blind spot number two: The rise of SaaS

The adoption of SaaS applications is growing across all business sizes and industries. From 2018-2019, SaaS app usage increased by 30% year over year, and the overall spend per company on SaaS products was up by 50%. 

More SaaS usage could lead to more Mac usage. This is because SaaS apps and Macs share similar design principles, namely speed, ease of use, consistent performance, and a pleasing user experience. 

As SaaS apps increasingly dominate business tech stacks and user experience drives many purchasing decisions, Macs will continue to gain prominence among developers and business owners whose buying criteria is the same as Apple’s motto: “It just works.”

Blind spot number three: User experience gaps

With today’s virtual smorgasbord of Web apps to choose from, users have the luxury of pickiness and selection. They also have access to more platforms than ever for vocalizing their complaints and demands around user experience.

User experience differences exist even in the same browser, depending on which operating system you’re using. Chrome has several known functional and performance differences on Windows vs. Mac. Perhaps most notoriously, Chrome is a known memory hog on Mac OS, although Chrome has recently made efforts towards fixing this issue.

Interactions between operating systems and browsers may also differ across platforms, particularly for web app functionality that crosses from the browser into the OS. For example, Macs and PCs may each handle file uploads and downloads differently.

Blind spot number four: Data privacy and information security

The rise in cyber-attacks leading to data breaches has alarm bells sounding for companies of all sizes and across all sectors. Legislators around the world are intervening on behalf of their constituents and have passed several high-profile data privacy laws in the last few years, including the GDPR in Europe and the CCPA in California. These laws come with steep financial penalties for violators, not to mention a wealth of rules and fine print to keep track of.

Companies like Apple and Google have already implemented changes in their platforms and software to abide by these laws as well as enhance user privacy and security. Apple, for example, has removed the usage of third-party cookies in newer versions of Safari. Google also announced that it will end the use of third-party cookies in Chrome by the end of 2023, rolling out the first changes last April.

For sites that don’t rely on user tracking and online advertising, privacy and security features likely won't affect your site’s performance or user experience. However, testing in a Mac/Safari environment can help you see any potential effects these changes could have on your web applications.

Conclusion

Creating a best-in-class web app that stands above the rest can boil down to whether your users have a smooth, bug-free, and secure experience regardless of operating system or browser. Building a complete testing strategy that incorporates Mac/Chrome and Mac/Safari environments in addition to PC/Chrome scenarios will help you spot any performance, behavior, and security differences before they reach your users. You’ll also ensure that you’re reaching all potential buyers and subsequently contributing to the growth of the business.






 


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