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.
- 1 How to enable Private Browsing in Safari on MacBook?
- 2 iPhone / iPad / iPod Private Browsing in Safari
Read The Most Recent Articles on Safari
2018/2019 saw an increased integration of Safari and icloud keychain, which allowed users to save their Passwords and change behavior for auto-fill with strong passwords.
In 2019, we also saw an increase of instances where users found that their Safari was being re-directed to Bing due to malicious activity. Here is how you can take care of this re-direct issue.
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 on MacBook?
Private Browsing via macOS Mojave
In macOS Mojave, Private Browsing can be accessed by clicking on File at the top of the Safari Menu followed by ‘New Private Window’. Once you click on it, it automatically starts up a Safari session in a Private setting.
The way you can tell this is by looking at the Safari URL/Search bar at the top. When it is in a ‘Private browsing’ mode, the background color of the bar turns grey as shown below.
You can also review some of the Privacy preferences of your Safari by clicking on Safari > Safari Preferences > Privacy. One of the most common user actions is to disable the ‘tracking’ option.
You can also read up on some of the there privacy and security settings that were introduced in the latest macOS Mojave.
There has been a movement lately for users to use DuckDuck Go as their preferred search engine on their Apple devices. Apple also recently converted the back end search engine of Apple Maps to DuckDuck Go. Here is a recent article that shows you how you can customize your Safari to use this more secured and private browser.
Older macOS / OS X versions Private Browsing
In older OS X versions on your MacBook, You had to follow a sequence of steps to get to private browsing as shown below.
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 in Safari
Private Browsing in iOS 12 and Higher
Apple has made it super easy to use Private browsing in Safari on the latest iOS operating system.
When browsing using Safari on your iPhone or iPad, tap on the icon at the far right in the bottom and then choose ‘Private’. Press ‘Done’ to confirm and you are good to go. You will see a message saying that Private Browsing has been activated on Safari.
Much like macOS, Safari’s address/search bar turns into a slightly grey color as opposed to the normal white color background when you are in Private browsing mode.
Safari Privacy Settings on iOS 12
Apple has been consistently updating the Privacy settings of Safari on the iPhone and iPad.
In fact, with the latest iOS 12.2, they have introduced features that protect from un-authorized access to your motion detection on your iPhone! You can also switch off access to camera and microphone when browsing Safari. There is no reason why an website will need access to your camera or microphone features without your detailed permission and consent.
It is definitely a good exercise to review the new Privacy and Security settings that are available to you on the latest Safari.
Private Browsing in older iOS versions
Here are the many steps that it needed in older iOS versions (circa 2010) to enable private browsing on your mobile device.
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.
Obsessed with tech since the early arrival of A/UX on Apple, Sudz (SK) is responsible for the editorial direction of AppleToolBox. He is based out of Los Angeles, CA.
Sudz specializes in covering all things macOS, having reviewed dozens of OS X and macOS developments over the years.
In a former life, Sudz worked helping Fortune 100 companies with their technology and business transformation aspirations.