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Microsoft Edge on iOS, Android about to get more features faster than ever

Microsoft Edge on Android
Microsoft Edge on Android (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft is working to unify the codebase across all platforms.
  • Right now, Edge is split across different codebases and versions on different operating systems.
  • The unification could see the Android and iOS versions of Edge come closer to parity with the more up-to-date Windows version.

Microsoft plans to unify the codebases of Microsoft Edge across multiple operating systems. Right now, Edge apps on mobile platforms are based on different codebases than the desktop version. As a result of this, you see things like Edge on Android being based on version 77 while Edge on desktop is based on Edge 89. Microsoft aims to fix this, and to improve the efficiency of Edge's development across platforms, by unifying Edge codebases across platforms.

Not sharing a codebase creates redundancy of effort. For example, when Microsoft built the Collections feature for Edge, the feature was built for Edge desktop. Microsoft then had to recreate the feature to bring it over to mobile devices.

By unifying codebases on different versions of Edge, Microsoft can more easily share features across desktop and mobile versions of Edge. The unification also improves the engineering process.

Microsoft discusses unifying the codebases across the different versions of Edge in a video from Ignite 2021. The video was flagged up by Reddit user SumitDh (via Neowin).

Microsoft will release preview versions of Edge on iOS and Android with new codebases. Microsoft explains that it has worked on this process for the past year and that we'll see public beta versions "in the coming months."

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).

10 Comments
  • This was why I stopped using Microsoft Edge on my Android phone. The Chromium version it used was too far behind the one Google uses for it's Chrome browser, resulting in a slower, more vulnerable experience. I really like Edge and would like to continue using it on mobile, because on desktop it simply kicks butt.
  • Yes, I agree completely. It took them way too long, but I'm glad they're finally addressing this.
  • Personally I didn't ever find the Android version to be so far behind as to really affect my experience, but your point is fair enough. The good news is we'll have a more unified experience going forward. That, and, as you say, desktop Edge is pretty awesome. (It's even good as a PDF app now - used to be crap.)
  • Compared to e.g. Samsung Internet, scrolling has noticeably more lag, which is my major peeve. Battery drain is also bigger in my experience.
  • Samsung have no Desktop browser. Personally I'd only use Edge, Chrome, Firefox for this reason.
  • I've not seen this personally. Edge for Android works well and has a modern UX.
  • In this modern era, code unification should have been implemented from inception. Not as an afterthought. For a software giant like Microsoft.
  • This might tell us something about how abrupt the decision to move to Chromium was. There's a tradeoff between ditching a platform in order to build something better for the future, and whatever you're left with in the interim. That being said in terms of the long term I don't think there's a question they made the right choice.
  • True, but it's not like they decided to do all these different versions at once, using different codebases. They initially had legacy Edge (which was written specifically for Windows 10) , and then decided to do mobile versions, which couldn't really use the same codebases. It was only when they embraced Chromium that it made sense to make it more universal. Not only for mobile, but older versions of Windows and even Linux.
  • Yes but, Edge or mobile is a lot older product than Edge or desktop. It predates Edge Chromium.