For most of us, the first thing we do after opening a web browser is type something into the search bar. By default, most iPhone browsers use Google or Bing for the built-in search function, but you might want to change it to a different search engine instead.
You can use a different search engine to avoid ads, protect your privacy, or funnel money to a good cause. Here’s how to change the default search engine for all of the most popular web browsers on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.
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The search bar at the top of Safari lets you enter a website URL or type a search term, which it uses the default search engine for. By default, Safari uses Google as the search engine, but you can change it in your iPhone settings.
Here’s how to change the default search engine for Safari:
- Open the Settings app, then scroll down and tap Safari.
- At the top, tap Search Engine.
- Choose from the available search engines:
Unfortunately, you can’t use any other search engines for Safari on an iPhone or iPad.
As you might expect, Google Chrome uses Google as the default search engine. This is evident by the fact that new tabs open on Google’s search page, asking you to search or type a URL.
But Google still lets you choose a different default search engine for Chrome if you want.
Here’s how to change the default search engine for Chrome:
- Open Chrome and tap the three dots in the bottom-right corner.
- Go to Settings, then tap Search Engine near the top.
- Choose the default search engine to use:
You’ll see the relevant search engine logo appear in the corner when you start to type in Chrome’s search bar.
Mozilla Firefox gives you plenty of options for choosing a default search engine. You can even set up multiple quick-search engine options that appear above the keyboard when you type in the search bar.
Here’s how to change the default search engine for Firefox:
- Open Firefox and tap the three lines in the bottom-right corner.
- Go to Settings and tap Search near the top.
- Tap at the top of the screen to choose your Default Search Engine from the following options:
You can also add and rearrange quick-search engines below, even adding a custom search engine by entering the right URL. To use these search engines, tap the relevant logo after typing into the Firefox search bar.
Microsoft Edge offers a few different page layouts you can choose for the start page, but each of them focuses around a search bar. By default—as you might expect—Edge uses Microsoft’s Bing search engine, but you can change this in the settings.
Here’s how to change the default search engine for Edge:
- Open Edge and tap the three dots in the center of the bottom of the screen.
- Open the Settings and go to Advanced settings.
- Tap Search engine, then choose a default engine from the list below:
- To use Google or DuckDuckGo, tap Others first.
The Opera Touch browser is a great alternative to major players like Safari or Chrome. The search bar appears with every new tab and uses Google by default, but you can change it to a range of other engines.
Here’s how to change the default search engine for Opera Touch:
- Open Opera Touch and tap the Opera logo in the bottom-right corner.
- Go to Settings, then scroll down and tap Default Search Engine.
- Choose a default search engine from the list of options:
A logo appears in the search bar as you type to show which search engine you’re using.
Mozilla Firefox Focus
Firefox Focus takes your privacy even more seriously than the standard Firefox browser, which is saying a lot. You can choose from a range of search engines or even add a new one with a custom URL.
Here’s how to change the default search engine for Firefox Focus:
- Open Firefox Focus and tap the Settings icon in the bottom-right corner.
- Under the Search section, tap Search Engine.
- Choose a search engine from the list below or tap Add Another Search Engine to add more options:
To add a custom search engine, make sure you use the search URL for that website.
Aloha is a great browser that offers Adblock Plus and a free VPN to keep your online activities private. By default, Aloha uses Private Search as the search engine, but you can change this to a wide range of other options.
Here’s how to change the default search engine in Aloha:
- Open Aloha and tap the three lines in the center at the bottom of the screen.
- In the bottom-right corner, tap Settings then go to General.
- Tap Search Engine and choose from the following options:
- Private Search
Brave asks you which search engine to use by default when you first start using it. But you can also change your default search engine at any time in the iPhone app settings.
Here’s how to change the default search engine for Brave:
- Open Brave and tap the three dots in the bottom-right corner.
- Go to Settings and tap Search Engines under the General section.
- Tap Standard Tab and Private Tab to choose your default search engine for each. You can also rearrange Quick-Search Engines that appear as buttons above the keyboard. Here are your choices:
Cake offers an unlimited free VPN for you to use, as well as lots of other useful features. You can start a new search at any time from the bottom of the screen, and Cake even lets you choose between a few different search engines.
Here’s how to change the default search engine for Cake:
- Open Cake and then open a new tab.
- Tap the Settings icon in the top-right corner, then scroll down to Search Engine.
- Choose the search engine you want from the options available:
Perform a video, picture, or shopping search using the quick-search buttons above the keyboard.
Ghostery is a colorful mobile browser that aims to protect your privacy online. You can use it with a range of different search engines, even enabling multiple at a time.
Here’s how to change the default search engine for Ghostery:
- Open Ghostery and tap the Ghost icon in the middle at the bottom.
- Go to Settings then tap Additional search engines at the top.
- Choose your Default Search Engine at the top of the screen, then enable and rearrange any Additional search engines you want to use (these appear beneath your search terms). Here are your options:
You can also add custom additional search engines, but you can’t use these as the default.
Which Search Engine Should I Use?
Depending on the mobile browser you use, you’ll have different options for what you can set as the default search engine. Pretty much every browser offers Google, Bing, and DuckDuckGo.
Generally speaking, Google offers the best search results, but you should switch to DuckDuckGo if you don’t want anybody tracking your search history.
There are plenty of other alternative search engines available as well. It’s worth looking into each of them to find your favorite, then switching to a browser that lets you set it as the default. Be sure to change your default web browser to your chosen app as well.