4 Things to Test Internet Explorer for Mac

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It is the era of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera browsers. But we all know there was a time when Internet Explorer was the king and used on multiple OS. But today, you can only use Internet Explorer with the Windows operating system. With Apple covering so much of the market, what if we need to test IE for Mac? How will we do that?

There are many ways to perform the cross-browser compatibility test on IE for Macintosh machines. Moving forward in this article, you’ll find out those ways. Let’s focus entirely on Internet Explorer and study its history. Also, in this article, you will learn about things you should know if you are going to test Internet Explorer for Mac.

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History of Internet Explorer

In the year 1995, Microsoft licensed Mosaic to create IE version 1.0. It was the first time people encountered the first browser war between Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer. Before the release of Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator was ruling the browser world.

Three months after IE version 1.0, Microsoft launched version 2.0, which could be downloaded for free by every Microsoft user and commercial company. Following in the same footsteps, other companies also released their browser.

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From the year 1995 to 2013, Microsoft launched eleven versions of IE. Each came with new additional features. The below image shows the Internet Explorer usage data over the period. The dominance of IE can be seen.

history of internet explorer
Image source: Wikipedia

In the year 2004 came the Mozilla group browser Firefox. This browser gave its fair share of the competition. Then came Google Chrome. In 2008, Google launched Chrome for windows users, built using Safari’s same rendering engine and a faster JavaScript engine, V8.

During 2010–2011, while IE was still ruling the browser market. Chrome and Firefox emerged as strong competitors. At the beginning of 2011, the market share of IE was 44.03% (54.39% at the beginning of 2010), Firefox was at 29.36%, and Chrome was at 15.01%. But this stat didn’t last long.

Like any thriller movie, the browser market took a complete 180-degree turn at the beginning of 2013. You saw that a non-Internet Explorer browser topped the internet usage graph.

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Chrome was ruling the market with a 31.71% market share. And from here, the downfall of Internet Explorer started. The fall from 98% to 0.1% of users forced Microsoft to discontinue the services of Internet Explorer. It is no longer a default browser for Windows applications.

browser market share - statcounter
Image Source: Statcounter

While on the one hand, Internet Explorer was failing, Microsoft, on the other hand, introduced their new browser – Microsoft Edge. It looked like a necessary step with the rise in technology, new mobile browsers, and cross-platform web browsers. Edge is a cross-platform web browser created and maintained by Microsoft.

It was first released for windows 10 in 2015. For Android and iOS, it was launched in 2017, for macOS in 2019, and for Linux in 2020. Initially, it was built using browser engine EdgeHTML and javascript engine Chakra. Now they plan to re-built it to chromium-based using Blink and V8 engines. Worldwide, Edge is currently the 2nd top browser after Chrome for desktop users.

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Let us now consider what you should know if you will test Internet Explorer for Mac.

1. Is it still relevant to test IE for Mac?

I know many would ask this question, even Microsoft has now announced the retirement of Internet Explorer, yet we are trying to test IE for Mac.

Well, or not, it is still relevant. Internet Explorer has got a very loyal customer base. Yes, the market shares are relevantly low, but this cannot avoid the fact that it is still the most popular and recognizable browser globally.

Some users have used IE for over a decade and still use it as their default browser. If you choose not to optimize your website according to IE, then there is a high chance you might lose traffic from those customers.

Internet Explorer is a safe and secure platform. That is why many government and private sites rely on this oldie. Legacy companies still have some applications that need IE. Some health care and manufacturing companies have applications that use the browser. So you see, there is no way we can escape Internet Explorer and doubt its relevance.

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2. Why can users not test with Internet Explorer for Mac?

There was a well-known partnership between Microsoft and Apple. Internet Explorer as the default browser for Macintosh in 2000 was proof of this strong partnership. Microsoft even designed a separate engine for Mac machines.

After the first three beta versions of Internet Explorer for Macintosh, in January 1998, Internet Explorer version 4.0 was made the default browser for Macintosh. Internet Explorer was ruling the world at that time.

But this partnership lasted for only five years, from 1998 to 2003. It ended when Apple launched its in-house browser – “Safari.” The conjectures were that Apple was not happy with how Microsoft handled the Macintosh. The updates on Mac OS were delayed, and reportedly, there were some lacks too.

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Windows users would have any feature that would take around a year or more to be introduced to the Mac users. Apple was not happy with this discriminated behavior. Microsoft escaped the liability by stating that developing features per Mac OS was a complex task.

As a result of all these, Apple not only removed Internet explorer from their system but from their application store as well. But this created a mess for developers. They used IE, and a new browser(Safari) was introduced.

Now cross-browser compatibility issue was standing in front of them. This gave rise to “How” we can test Internet Explorer for Mac.

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3. How can you test Internet Explorer for Mac?

How we can perform the cross-browser compatibility test on Mac for your website would be the next thing you should know once it is considered a challenging task to perform. But not anymore! Technology has developed, and now we have solutions for the most complex problems.

Online Testing Platforms

Choosing online web testing platforms is the most familiar, convenient, and cost-efficient option. Testing platforms like LambdaTest provide all these features. Yes! Cloud-based emulators and simulators can also be good options. But we also know how heavy they could be in our pockets.

This online platform allows users to test on Internet Explorer browsers across various real browsers and operating system combinations. It also gives them real-time access to run the browser of their choice right from their local machines.

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You can use the secure tunnel between your localhost and LambdaTest to create a natural environment hosted on the cloud. You can test web pages on the same.

While testing, if you encounter any bug, you can directly report it from the platform to any bug management tools; it is just one click away.

Mark my words, it is the easiest way to test the compatibility of your website across all versions of IE. Log in to LambdaTest, select the virtual machine, and run your test.

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4. What are the other ways of testing Internet Explorer for Mac?

Here are a few ways through which you can test IE for Mac.

1. Virtual Machines

A virtual machine is a virtual setup that allows users to operate on different operating systems within the same machine. A VM has its CPU, memory, and disk to store the data.

Your computer parts are physical and tangible, while VMs can be imagined as virtual or software-like computers that exist only as codes in the system. To test IE on Mac, users can install windows virtually on their Mac system. Parallel desktop is the most popular VM on Mac.

azure microsoft
Image source: Azure Microsoft

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2. Download the virtual setup from Microsoft directly

Microsoft provides a simple and convenient way to test the IE or Edge on your Macintosh. Just click on the link, and fill in your preferred browser, operating system, and virtual machine on which you would like to perform the test.

Once you have filled all the requirements, it will download a zip file to your Mac system. To unzip this file, you will need software for macOS. Also, remember that within 90 days, the downloaded machine will expire.

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3. WineBottler

winebottler
Image source: WineBottler

WineBottler is a free-of-cost application that helps run Windows-based programs on a Mac machine. To use Winebottler, there is no need to install any emulator, simulator, or virtualizer. With the help of the windows-compatibility subsystem provided by the open-source tool- Wine, it is possible to run Windows-based programs directly on your Macintosh.

The user must download the software file in windows format, the .exe format, and run the application on Winebottler. Winebottler will convert the windows application to a Mac-based application that users can use like any other Mac application.

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Conclusion

I agree that the services of Internet Explorer have been discontinued, yet it has left a significant mark on the world, and hence its cross-browser testing cannot be left behind. There are many users whose loyalty still goes to this browser.

There was a time when Apple discarded all the ties with Internet Explorer, but because of the market value that IE holds, testing IE became necessary for everyone. We have shared very efficient and easy ways to test Internet Explorer on your Macintosh if you are a Mac user. Let us know your views on testing Internet Explorer on a Mac machine. Also, do not forget to share your valuable feedback. We will be thrilled to hear from you.

Author Bio: Vixit Raj is a part of the Product Growth and Marketing division in LambdaTest: The Cross-Browser Web App Testing Platform. Vixit’s interest in the latest technology advancements, coding, and testing fascinates him to learn more about these things. An E&C  educational background and his engineering life experiences have greatly influenced him, contributing to his jack of all trades and master of none trait.