Orion
Frequently Asked Questions

What is Orion's goal?

We want Orion to become the best browser for Mac.



What is Orion based on?

Orion's rendering engine is WebKit and Orion shares much of the same technology used in Apple's Safari. This means Orion inherits all privacy improvements and performance optimizations that Apple (and other contributors) built into WebKit.



Why does Orion not use Chromium or Firefox browser frameworks like many other browsers?

Because WebKit is the fastest, most energy efficient browser rendering engine on macOS. And since we want to build the best browser on macOS, we use the best base.

Through independent tests over and over, it has been proven that WebKit has both best rendering performance and effect on battery life. Also, WebKit comes loaded with privacy-protecting features like Intelligent Tracking Protection.

This does come with a slight drawback - we have to build the rest of the browser from scratch. But hey, it also gives us the opportunity to innovate.



Why use Orion instead of Safari?

Let us first acknowledge all the efforts Apple put into making Safari great, truly one of the best browsers you could use on macOS. We are basing our decision to release Orion for Mac exactly because we believe that Apple is on the right track with macOS and that it has a bright future. We also think there is room to do certain things differently when a web browser is concerned.

First, there is very little Safari users can currently do to influence browser development and roadmap. On the other hand, we thrive on user feedback. We thrive on letting the users directly shape the product. We wanted a browser where each user will have a voice and a way to directly communicate with the team behind the product.

Second, there are the browser features. While Safari is great to begin with, we could never expect it to have certain features that we believe a modern browser should have (like a built-in adblocker, as ads have become today what browser pop-up windows were in 1990s).

And finally, extensions! Orion has native support for Chrome/Firefox extensions. With Orion you will be able to literally one-click install your favorite extensions, without their authors needing to change anything. Orion has been built with a foundation for native support for Web Extensions API and this makes for a huge difference in what you can do on the web with your own "user agent".



Why use Orion instead of Chrome, Firefox or other browsers based on Chromium/Firefox?

Orion has superior performance, memory use and battery efficiency thanks to lightweight design and use of WebKit.

Orion is also the first browser to have zero-phone-home policy, meaning it is the ultimate privacy-respecting browser. It also comes with a native blocker that blocks ads and trackers by default, ensuring websites are respecting the privacy of the Orion user.

Finally, Orion is, like Safari, built as a native Mac app. It uses native macOS components to ensure speed, familiar look & feel and deep integration with native system technologies.



How fast is Orion?

Orion is as fast or faster than Safari., because both use the same underlying rendering engine - WebKit.

On top of it, Orion comes with a native adblocker and is probably unrivaled in speed when browsing the web.

Orion is fast
We also pay special attention to UI responsiveness and stress-test Orion on an old 1.1GHz 4GB Macbook Air (aka "slowest Mac we could find"), making sure it stays the fastest browser around.



How does Orion respect my privacy?

Orion does not ‘phone home’ - that is, Orion does not have any built-in telemetry running by default. Zero. None. We rely on our community of users to tell us what we are doing good and what we can do better. Automatic updates and crash reports are opt-in. And we do not have any ads to serve you. Orion is truly and verifiably a privacy-respecting browser.

This is practically unheard of in the modern browser world. Major browsers (Safari, Chrome, Firefox, Brave...) periodically send requests "home", usually for benign reasons. For example to check for updates, A/B test configurations or in case of Brave to serve appropriate ads. These requests are a potential privacy issue as no matter what information is being sent, with each request sent "home" the browser company will get your IP address (and thus potentially your location) and can also fingerprint your browser. Depending on their business model and terms you accepted, this could be used in a way you would not expect.

Most modern browsers are sending not one, but hundreds such requests, transferring megabytes of data, usually without the user even knowing (you may have sometimes noticed slow browser start times because of this). Even if the browser code is open source, the code that listens and receives this data on company's servers isn't, so you have no way of knowing what is done with your data. Some browser companies openly admit to profiling their users, some deny it, but the only way you can be sure that your privacy is truly respected is if the browser sends exactly zero requests home. Zero requests - zero worries - full privacy guranteed.

Use Orion and move to a world with no browser telemetry.



How does Orion defend against online tracking?

Orion comes with a native ad and tracker blocker that blocks first-party and third-party scripts and requests by default. Most browsers do not block any content by default. Some come with tracker blocking. Orion blocks all trackers by default. To do this we use WebKit's Intelligent Tracking Protection (using machine learning, like Safari) in combination with the popular "Easy Privacy" list (using content blocking).

99% of browsers do not block ads by default. Some like Brave do, but are still letting some ads by default (such as Google ads). Orion blocks all ads by default. To do this we are using WebKit's native content blocking functionality (to ensure maximum speed and minimum impact to page rendering latency) in combination with the popular "Easy List" for ad blocking.

We designed Orion with the 'grandma test' in mind. We wanted a browser that you could install for your grandma and the web would just work. Orion would make her browsing experience fast and enjoyable, interface simple and clean and do all that out of the box, with default settings. Enjoy the web grandma!



How does Orion support Web Extensions?

Early in development we made a (faithful) decision to natively support Web Extensions API on top of WebKit. This is the same API shared by browsers like Chrome and Firefox and what makes their extension eco-system so powerful. We believe that users who want to use WebKit on macOS should also be able to tap into this same eco-system. So we decided to build it, painstakingly porting hundreds of APIs that were never meant to work with WebKit, one by one. Took us a few years but here we are!

At this time Orion supports about 70% of Web Extensions APIs and we are adding more support with each day.

We also built advanced features that allow you to control what each extension can do beyond what Chrome and Firefox have originally. For example, you can choose to allow an extension to run only on certain websites.



Wait, are you saying I can run uBlock Origin and other Chrome/Firefox extensions in Orion?!

Yes! Crying when you experience this for the first time is optional.

Orion Extensions



Does Orion have unique features?

Yes! This is one of the reasons we started building it in the first place. There are so many untapped opportunities for innovation in modern browsers. We are very excited to have a platform to build upon now. Here are just a few examples of what we already included.

Focus Mode allows the user to completely remove toolbars when browsing the web. Orion's Low Power Mode is similar to native iOS feature on phones and extends battery life on your laptop by reducing browser's power consumption up to 90%. And use the native Vertical Tabs if you prefer your tabs this way. And much more...



Can I transfer my Safari passwords to Orion?

We are working on this, you can expect to see this feature soon.



Is there an iOS version planned?

Yes, we are working on Orion for iOS. Coming soon.



Will Orion for iOS also support web extensions? :-)

Wait and see ;-)



Is Orion open-source?

Not yet, but we plan to. At this moment we want to focus all our resources on creating the best browser on macOS, a gigantic task at hand. You can still contribute as a beta tester through our Discord.



Will Orion support feature xyz?

You tell us! We are all ears and if enough people are for or we hear a compelling argument from just one person, then yes.



Who is behind Orion?

Orion is being built by Kagi company. Kagi's founder is Vladimir Prelovac, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and the tech-industry veteran. Kagi has secured $4M in initial funding.

Kagi's other product is an ad-free search engine, currently also in private beta.



© 2021 Kagi - Better Web for our Kids. All Rights Reserved. WebKit and the WebKit logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.