Orion is a browser for macOS that supports Firefox and Chrome extensions

Orion is a new web browser for macOS that has entered public beta testing. Kagi’s app uses Apple’s Webkit engine and includes many customization options.

Because it is based on the same engine as Safari, Orion has native support for Apple Silicon such as the M1 processor.

Orion Browser for macOS – an overview

ad blocker

Orion comes with a built-in ad blocker and tracker blocker, which the company claims blocks 90% of ads. It uses the EasyList and EasyPrivacy filter lists. The developers recommend using uBlock Origin for full protection and disabling the internal ad blocker on the Settings > Websites > Content Blocking page.

Orion browser ad blocker


This is where it gets interesting, Orion supports Firefox add-ons and Chrome extensions. It even has a small curated library of recommended add-ons for you to install.

Orion manages add-ons

Or you can go directly to the Chrome Web Store or Firefox’s AMO to install the extension of your choice.

Install the Orion Chrome extension

That’s the app’s selling point, in my opinion.

Install the Firefox add-on for the Orion browser

The Manage window lists all the add-ons you have installed and also labels them as Firefox or Chrome so you know which version of the plugin you are using.

orion add-on settings

Vertical Tabs

Orion has a vertical tree tab view that you can switch to by pressing Ctrl Command V. It hides the tab bar. In the vertical tab panel, you can drag and drop tabs to reorganize them, switch between tabs, and close them. You can resize the side panel as needed to show just the icons or the icons and the title.

orion vertical tabs

tab groups

The app supports tab groups, but it’s not what it sounds like. Click the window button to the left of the address bar and you can rename the group. Create a new one and you’ll see that it actually creates a new window. Be sure to name the group if you want it to sync.

synchronization and other functions

Orion syncs your settings and saves them to your iCloud Drive. This makes for a good backup. The browser also supports keychain for passwords, focus mode, and a power saving mode that can come in handy when your MacBook’s battery is running low.

Orion browser settings

The browser supports blocking autoplay videos, just like Safari. You can set Orion to keep other windows on top and watch video in picture-in-picture mode.


The announcement article states that the browser has no telemetry. The Orion browser does not share crash reports with the company by default, but it has an option to send those reports if you allow it. It’s an opt-in feature, which is always nice to look at.

Kagi Quest

Kagi founder Vladimir Prelovac has announced the availability of a new search engine called Kagi. Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, the company promises a privacy-friendly experience free of ads and trackers.

orion search engine settings

The free version allows limited usage (number of searches), while the paid version offers unlimited usage. The service requires you to sign up for an account before using it. You can try a demo of Kagi Search on its website.

I’ve been using Orion sparingly for the past few weeks during the closed beta period. But I haven’t used the Kagi search engine, so I can’t comment on the quality of the web search. The privacy policy appears to be good, which is a promising sign.

Kagi Search Engine Privacy Policy

Orion+ browser

Kagi has announced that it will also offer a premium version of its browser called Orion+. It doesn’t offer any special features per se, it’s just a way to contribute to the project and get a few perks like: B. Contacting the development team and influencing the development of the product. The announcement states that a Linux version of the browser is in the pipeline.

And now for the cons, the Orion browser is not open source but states that there are plans to make the source code available in the future. I think this might be the biggest hurdle for the browser to attract users.

The toolbar customization panel is a bit buggy. I couldn’t drop icons in the overflow window because the browser minimized it when I clicked an icon in the toolbar. I don’t like the tab groups either, Vivaldi’s implementation of it is so much better.

The Orion browser’s extension support is good, but not great. I’ve used the browser with about a dozen extensions including Bitwarden, Dark Reader, Simple Translate, SponsorBlock, OneTab, etc.

I only had problems with the following extensions:

Auto Tab Discard – Shortcut not available in tab context menu. I had to use the add-on’s button instead.
Behind! – Didn’t work at all.
Group Speed ​​Dial – The New Tab page was not rendering correctly, but the Options page was working.
Undo Closed Tab – The add-on’s right-click menu didn’t show the list of closed tabs.

If a Firefox add-on isn’t working properly, try the Chrome version and vice versa. Overall, the experience with the extensions is mixed, but that’s to be expected since the browser is still in beta.

Download the Orion browser from the official website.

Is it worth using the Orion browser?

Yes, I’d say it’s worth trying just for uBlock Origin, which you can’t do with Safari. Orion is also pretty good in terms of battery life, and that’s not surprising since it uses the Webkit engine, which is well-optimized for MacBooks.

But if you’re a Firefox or Brave/Vivaldi/Edge/Chrome/Opera user who relies on a lot of extensions, you might have to forego a few add-ons to switch to Orion.

Have you tried the Orion browser?


We take a closer look at the Orion browser for macOS

Product Name

We take a closer look at the Orion browser for macOS


Orion Browser for macOS is now available in public beta. It supports Firefox and Chrome extensions.




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