5 Apps That Are Better on the Desktop Than in Your Browser

Many of us use browser tabs to run our most frequented apps: media players, instant messengers, office suites, and more. But while this often means we can take our favorite services anywhere without installing anything, the web version of an app is not necessarily better. Here are five programs that are just as good—or better—in their desktop incarnations.

For a start, each application mentioned here reduces the pressure on your web browser, which is probably already taking up significant system resources (we have some tips on tab management for you here).

Using a desktop app also means you can manage its notifications as part of your Windows or macOS settings, rather than messing around with the same options in your web browser. It’s easier to manage your distraction-free Do Not Disturb mode, for example, when you’re running programs installed outside of your web browser.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of apps that are as good or better on desktop, but it should give you a place to start.


Spotify via David Nield

You can run Spotify on the web well enough, but if you download the desktop app for Windows or macOS, you’re getting a more sophisticated and stable experience overall. Some of the differences between the two aren’t immediately obvious, but they’re there: You can stream music at a higher quality in the desktop program for example, and that applies whether you’re a paying Spotify Premium subscriber or not.

One of the major advantages of the desktop app for Premium users is the ability to save music locally so you can listen to it offline. There are smaller benefits too, including easier management of playlists and the queue (you can select multiple tracks at once in the desktop app, but not on the web). The desktop Spotify app also has support for sending audio to Chromecast devices and is compatible with a wider range of keyboard shortcuts.


Slack via David Nield

If you’re used to Slack living in your web browser for the purposes of company communications, you might want to consider installing the desktop app for Windows or macOS instead. A lot of the features are the same across the web and desktop, and you are going to be able to seamlessly sync your channels and messages across both platforms—so you won’t miss out on any important updates if you make the switch.