Google says that the new version of Chrome for iOS — version 48.0.2564.87, if you’ve curious — is “significantly faster and more stable” than previous versions. With this new update, Chrome for iOS has switched from using UIWebView to the WKWebView rendering engine. Perhaps the biggest perk with the switch to WKWebView is improved stability, as Google says that the new Chrome crashes a whopping 70 percent less than the old version.
Also included in the Chrome for iOS v48 update is redesigned icons on the New Tab page that’ll let you more easily access your most frequented sites, and Spotlight integration that’ll let you search your Chrome bookmarks using Spotlight functionality. To access Spotlight, pull down from any home screen or swipe right from your first home screen.
So yeah, today’s Chrome for iOS update is a biggie. With the switch to WKWebView, Chrome’s performance should be similar to Safari’s, and you should encounter crashes far less frequently. The bad news for Chrome for iOS users is that they still can’t make Chrome their default browser on iOS, so you’ll likely still be kicked to Safari from time to time. It remains to be seen when or if Apple will ever let iOS users change their default apps, but for now, at least Chrome users can enjoy a browser that’s similar in performance to Apple’s default app.