Totally anonymous surfing doesn’t exist anymore. In fact, it never existed. While sitting behind your screen in the comfort of your home, you would be shocked about everything that is stored about you during your time online. There is a way to prevent that.
When you are surfing the web, Safari stores all the data about your browsing-history. Every time you visit a site, Safari will save the cookies from the site, stores form data for the auto-complete function, history of downloaded files, passwords, searches and pieces of webpages to speed up the loading time in the future. This last one is also called ‘Cache’.
Normally, this is not a problem. But suppose you have to share your Mac with someone else, than this person could stumble upon your information by typing something in the browser-bar and Safari is autocompleting it or suggesting a site you visited earlier. Of course, that person can also check your history and look at all the sites you have visited.
And maybe more important: The sites you visit will store cookies on your computer. This can be very convenient when you visit, by example, a gaming site and by the means of a cookie, the next time you visit the site again, it remembers your name and scores. However, some websites store cookies and other data on your computer so advertisers can show you ads for products that match your interests.
If you don’t want that, and browse privately: read on!
The effect of Private Browsing
When you surf in Private Browsing mode, everything we described above will not happen. At least, we think so. There are reports about the fact that the browsers’ protection was not perfect. Well-coded (or rather well-coded for bad purposes) websites are sometimes able to make a workaround to discard the fact that you are browsing in Private mode.
The fact that some websites don’t respect the Private Browsing mode is not new and will continue to happen. But Private browsing keeps at least 99,99% of your privacy intact.
How to enable Private Browsing in Safari?
When you are surfing, or starting to surf, choose in the left menu ‘Safari’ and then ‘Private Browsing’
When a confirmation message appears on your screen, click on ‘yes’.
A button with the text ‘Private’ will appear on the right side in your browser-bar.
iPhone / iPad / iPod Private Browsing
Simply tap Settings > Safari >
Things to be aware of!
When you want to turn off the Private Browsing mode, remember to close all the windows before leaving the computer. Otherwise your visited pages are still available by the means of the back/forward button.
If you downloaded files from the web, be aware of the fact that Private Browsing only removes the names in the ‘Downloads-Window’. It does NOT remove the download itself! If you want to, remove it by hand.
If you forgot to turn on ‘Private Browsing’, there is always an escape: Choose the left menu ‘Safari’, then choose ‘Reset Safari’ and check all the boxes. Click on ‘Reset’, and everything will be deleted as if it was in Private Browsing mode.