You Can Test the Unified Microsoft Edge Codebase on Android

Posted on April 16, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Edge, Mobile, Android with 10 Comments

Microsoft quietly launched a version of Edge Canary on Android, giving enthusiasts their first peek at the promised unified codebase.

As you may recall, Microsoft revealed in early March that it was planning to bring all versions of its Edge browser—across desktop and mobile—to a single codebase. Because of anti-competitive limitations imposed by Apple, the iOS version of Edge will need to use Apple’s WebKit-based renderer, however.) The idea is to help make Edge development more efficient, and to allow Microsoft to ship new features on each supported platform at the same time, or at least more quickly.

There’s no official announcement, but a user on Reddit noticed that Microsoft just posted its first-ever version of Edge Canary to the Google Play Store. And while the store listing says nothing about the codebase, this version of the browser matches the version of Edge Canary on desktop, and it offers a few subtle UI changes when compared to the normal version of Edge on Android.

I’ve made this my default browser on Android so I can test it, but I don’t see any major performance differences or whatever yet.

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Comments (10)

10 responses to “You Can Test the Unified Microsoft Edge Codebase on Android”

  1. kherm

    The big news here is that this version of edge includes edge://flags which means you can finally force dark mode for web content on mobile!

  2. ariana2016

    It seems that the adblocker does not exist in this version!

    • dftf

      In reply to ariana2016:

      The "Tracking Prevention" feature exists in the newer one, so setting that to "Strict" might help, but no, the new one does-away with the ad-blocker.

      I'd suggest instead using Brave, Vivaldi or Opera (Opera, not Opera Mini: they're not the same thing).

      • ianhead

        In reply to dftf:

        I'm finding the "strict" setting surprisingly effective on most sites at wiping out almost every ad, with some notable exceptions... Edge Canary says it's blocking zero trackers on (seriously?)

  3. ruivo

    For some reason it crashes on load now, after I set up my MS account...

  4. winner

    From a posting on TheVerge:

    Posted on IEEE dot org, document #9374407:

    From a privacy perspective desktop version of Microsoft Edge is much more worrisome than the other desktop browsers studied. Edge sends the hardware UUID of the device to Microsoft, a strong and enduring identifier that cannot be easily changed or deleted and can also be used to link different apps running on the same device. In addition to the search autocomplete functionality (which can be disabled by users) that shares details of web pages visited, Edge trans- mits web page information to servers that appear unrelated to search autocomplete.

    I wonder if the mobile version is doing this as well?

    • ghostrider

      In reply to Winner:

      Edge is collecting just as much user data as Chrome - if not more, just as MS collect so much data from Win10. I've no idea why some people think MS are more trustworthy - they're not.

  5. gcalli

    At least Edge canary doesn't overheat my device.

    Normal Edge of late, after previous updates, overheats after prolonged use.

    • dftf

      In reply to gcalli:

      Try making sure you have the "Sleeping Tabs" feature turned-on: that will remove resources from any tab you've not used in a while, so they consume virtually no CPU or GPU. (And yes, there is an exclusions list, you any tab you want to play audio in the background can be set never to sleep).

      Otherwise try right-clicking an empty area on the titlebar and choose "Browser task manager" and see if that can help reveal which website is causing the excessive CPU use.

  6. dftf

    Paul: "There’s no official announcement [...]"

    Maybe not in the form of a public press-release, no, but it was announced in an employee post on the Edge Insider Forum:

    As the "Canary" branch is essentially the alpha/daily one, I guess it makes-sense to only announce it here, rather than as a public release, given you don't want most-people on the most-unstable version going?