Browsers

Update your browser to the latest version.

By Tech Editor Jonathan Weinberg for Spring Chicken

Have you noticed how sometimes web pages you are viewing on your computer or tablet may not look right with items missing, fiddly toolbars or weird text?

There could be many reasons causing this but one important thing to rule out from the start is whether these problems are being caused by an old outdated internet browser.

Your internet browser is the software program your computer uses to display website pages on your screen.

The three main internet browsers, sometimes also known as web browsers, are Internet Explorer, Safari and Chrome. All are free for anyone to download and use although Internet Explorer only works on a PC.

So if you own a PC, it is very likely you will be using Internet Explorer. It is installed by default on every new PC sold.

As well as giving viewing difficulties, old outdated versions of internet browsers also carry other risks – especially security ones. They can put you at risk of viruses, identity theft, spam messages or other programs that could compromise the safety of your files and information.

If you have internet security software installed, such as popular ones made by the likes of Norton, McAfee and Trend, you don’t need to overly worry, as this offers users a high level of security protection.

But it is still important to update your internet browser manually every once in a while. Or to check that your computer or tablet is doing it for you automatically.

So how do you do this?

Below are instructions for the three most common browsers along with safe links to download new versions of them. Beware, some links you will find in search engines advertising browser upgrades may be false and designed to download files to your computer that could do it harm. We have included the best links for you.

PC – Internet Explorer

The latest version of IE is number 11. It only works with the newest Windows 7 operating system available on the latest PC computers. If you have a Windows XP computer, the newest IE browser you can use is Internet Explorer 8. For Windows Vista it will be Internet Explorer 9. Both of these should work well for most day to day tasks. To download and install the latest version of Internet Explorer that will work on your PC, use the link below. It automatically shows what will work on your machine based on what operating system you have. It will then guide you through the installation process.

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-GB/internet-explorer/download-ie

Mac/iPad – Safari

If you are using a Mac, then it is most likely you will be using Apple’s own internet browser called Safari. This will generally update itself automatically in the background but you can check whether any updates are due for it on your Mac by clicking on the Apple icon in the top left corner of the screen. Then select Software Update and follow the instructions. If there’s a new version of Safari available to install, it will be shown on the screen with a button next to it saying ‘update’. PC users can also download Safari from this link https://www.apple.com/uk/safari/

On an iPad, it works slightly differently. The latest version of Safari is updated and installed each time your iPad updates its own operating software, known as iOS. Most often this happens in the background with incremental updates but larger upgrades of the software usually need to be installed manually. To see if anything is due, go to Settings, click into the General option and then select Software Update followed by Install Now. You will automatically be offered the latest iOS software that is right for your device.

PC/Mac/Android tablet – Chrome

The Chrome browser is made by Google and will work on most computers, even older ones. Again, updates will generally happen automatically in the background every time you open and close the browser page. On your tablet it should always happen automatically.

But there is a way to tell if a new version is available for your computer by clicking the button in the top right corner of your Chrome browser – it’s the one showing three short horizontal lines placed on top of each other. If a new version is available, there will be an option saying ‘Update Google Chrome’ to click on.

If you want to try Chrome on your PC or Mac, instead of using Internet Explorer or Safari, you can find it at this link to download. https://www.google.com/chrome/browser/desktop/ For many Chrome offers a very simple, clean and fast browsing experience.