Trying Arc Again

I’ve been trying the Arc browser from the aptly-named The Browser Company lately. I gave it a go in February, but it just didn’t stick for me and I opted to go with Vivaldi at that point. But Arc is quite intriguing to me so this week I decided to give it another go.

The difference this time around is that I’m not trying to fight against how Arc wants to be used. It’s a very opinionated browser and if you try to pick it up and use it like you use Chrome or Firefox, it will fight against you.

The biggest difference for me is that Arc doesn’t really have bookmarks. I’m a big bookmarks user, so trying to replicate that in Arc the first time I tried it was a big mistake. Instead Arc relies on Spaces and Pinned Tabs. Rather than having bookmarks, Arc just has a series of pinned tabs (arranged vertically on the left sidebar).

That takes some getting used to but after a time working with it that way, it begins to make more sense. Why close a tab only to reopen it later? Arc just pins your favourite sites in pinned tabs and when you click on one, it’s right there. You can even click deeper into the site and Arc makes it easy to return that pinned tab to the original URL later.

Arc also lets you organize your tabs into Spaces. You might have a “Frequent” Space with a series of your most used sites. Then a “Work” Space with the sites you use for work (say, Google Docs, Jira and Github). Another powerful feature is that you can have Profiles as well meaning that Spaces are independent of each other – you can be signed into your work Google account on one Space and your personal Google account on another. Nice.

For sites that you use a lot, like your email or Mastodon, you can pin those at the very top and they stay in place across all of your Spaces. That’s handy! A lot of Arc features are like that…handy.

Arc is Chromium-based so sites work fine in the browser and all your favourite extensions for Chrome work perfectly in Arc. I tried Orion from Kagi for a bit but the lack of official support from 1Password made that a non-starter for me. Arc, on the other hand, is fully blessed in 1Password meaning TouchID is fully supported and it works just like it does in other mainstream browsers.


  • Fast and compatible thanks to Chromium under the hood.
  • Visually polished.
  • Under active development with new releases often and a very open roadmap.
  • Works with all your favourite extensions like 1Password, uBlock Origin, etc.
  • Spaces and Profiles are powerful tools to manage different contexts like work vs. personal.


  • Still in beta so you need an invite and it might be buggy now and then.
  • Pinned tabs and UI is opinionated and requires some effort to adopt fully.
  • Sidebar takes some getting used to.

Would I recommend Arc? Sure. If you are looking for a different way of using a browser and are willing to invest some time and effort into adopting a different way of thinking about how a browser should work, then Arc is worth at least a look to see if it makes sense for you.

That said, if you are happy with how your browser works today, then maybe the effort to switch to Arc wouldn’t be worth your while.

James Koole @jameskoole