A web developer's perspective on the Arc Browser

April 3, 2024

For the last couple of month I’ve been using Arc as my primarily web browser. I’ve come to a couple of conclusions on why I should, or shouldn’t continue using Arc as my main browser. In this review I’ll be sharing my thoughts about what I absolutely like and dislike about Arc.


Websites feel like native apps

The extra window height that Arc provides, makes websites kind of feel like apps, rather than pages. Over the last two months I’ve really gotten used to it, and opening Google Chrome almost feels like accidentally opening Internet Explorer back in the day.

Vertical tab organization

One of Arc’s most controversial features is the vertical tab organization. It almost took me over a month to get used to it, and grasp its benefits. But the main benefit for me is actually knowing which browser tabs I have opened.

No matter the amount of tabs I have opened or research that I’m doing, I can see the full context of a website at a first glance. This way I can decide much faster whether I want to close a tab by myself, or for how long I want to leave it open until it closes automatically.

Overall user experience

There’s a lot to be said about the design decisions that have been made in Arc. Some of them are bold, yes, but they’re also very well thought out. Most of Arc’s features are very minimalistic, and they don’t feel like they’re in the way of my browsing experience. Quite often they even improve the quality of life as an end-user.

One of the things I like the most is the “Little Arc” feature. Whenever I open a link in an app such as Mail, it spins up a minimal version of Arc incredibly fast. It kind of feels like how Apple would’ve done it.

At first I took it “Little Arc” granted, but on a second thought, it makes opening an external link way less cumbersome and faster.

Browsing experience

One of the things that stuck with me is that I close way more tabs than I did in Google Chrome. I still don’t know if it’s because of the vertical tab organization, or because of the minimalist vision that Arc tries to impose on me.

Truth be told, my Arc set-up feels more clean and organized than it ever was, because I’m no longer carrying a massive list of bookmarks around.

Yes, I still keep a couple of bookmarks. However, I almost exclusively use them for food recipes, tutorials or websites that I come back to on a regular basis. My favorite bookmarking tool of choice is Raindrop.io, and it works near seamlessly with Arc.

What I like the most about Arc


I love the fact that I can create different “spaces” in Arc. For example, I have a “personal Arc” space, a “hobby Arc” space and a “work Arc” space. This way I can keep my tabs organized and separated. Tabs from my personal life being mixed with work-related tabs was a hassle on a daily basis.

Keyboard shortcuts

Arc has some of the best keyboard shortcuts I’ve ever seen in a web browser. Especially cmd+l and cmd+t.

Arc has truly outdone themselves with these shortcut implementations. They work just as you’d expect them to, and they’re incredibly well integrated into the browser.

However, my all-time favorite is hiding the entire tab sidebar with a simple cmd+s shortcut. Viewing websites “fullscreen” without the browser chrome and without the intrusive native macOS fullscreen-mode is amazing. I use this all the time, and can’t live without it.

I only wish that Arc would add more features to cmd+t, such as a calculator, similar to what Raycast and Google Chrome are doing.

Picture-in-Picture mode

Easily my number 1 feature that I like the most. I consume a lot of media while working or browsing the web. The built-in PiP mode for podcasts, YouTube, Spotify and other major websites is a top-tier feature. The only thing that’s missing is adding support for more websites.

It’s almost odd to say, but I enjoy using Arc equally as much as browsing the web on my iPad. Arc’s PiP mode plays a big role in that.

What I don’t like

  • Let’s talk about AI for second. I really don’t like the AI features that Arc has. I don’t know, I just feel like Arc doesn’t need it, in order to be a “modern browser alternative”. 5 second previews, Tidy tabs, Ask on Page,… I have them all enabled, but most of the time I find them more annoying than useful. I plan on disabling them since they’re more intrusive than useful, and they don’t feel as minimalist. I’d much rather visit ChatGPT’s website, than using a built-in knockoff.
  • As a web developer I often need to check the full URL of a website. I can’t do that in Arc. I can only see the domain name, and that’s it. Yes, there’s a developer mode, but I don’t like how it looks. I wish Arc would implement a more seamless way of showing the full URL, without breaking the immersion of using a minimalist browser.
  • Using the emoji shortcut in Arc is a pain. I often use emojis in my writing, and I’ve gotten used to using the cmd+ctrl+space shortcut in Google Chrome. However, in Arc it doesn’t work, or at the very least, it doesn’t work as reliably. I often have to switch to Google Chrome to insert an emoji, and then switch back to Arc.
  • Unfortunately there is still no iPad app. I often use my iPad to browse the web, and I want to open links from my Arc tabs on my iPad, and the other way around. Right now I’ve kind of addressed this by downloading the iPhone app on my iPad, but yeah. It’s far from ideal.


Arc is an amazing Browser, and they have gotten a lot of things right. I’ve been using it as my primary browser for the last couple of months, and I don’t see myself switching back to Google Chrome anytime soon yet.

However, the only thing that I miss from time to time is seeing the full URL of a website. Yes, there’s a shortcut, and it looks great. But I wish it was more seamless, and more integrated into the minimalist vision that Arc wants to be.