Safari private browser on iPhone - all you need to know

Hi there! Apple has updated its operating system and changed where things are. So figuring out how to use a private browser on iPhone (or iPad) might prove difficult. Don’t worry – we’re here to guide you through it and let you know about the current state of private browsing in the meantime. Without further ado – let us open some private tabs.

Table of contents

    How to turn on Private Browsing in Safari using iPhone or iPad

    There are a couple of ways to access private browsing, such as:

    Private Browsing in Safari with iOS 15

    To begin a private browsing session:

    1. Open Safari;
    2. Open the tab overview screen – click on the square icon at the bottom right corner;
    3. In the bottom middle section, there is an “x Tabs” bar – click on it (the x will differ depending on how many tabs you’ve opened);
    4. A “Tab groups” menu popped up – press on the “Private” option;
    5. You opened the “Private Browsing Mode”. To begin browsing, you need to open private tabs – press on the plus at the bottom left corner;
    6. Don’t tell anyone about the browsing (remember to keep it private). 

    Shortcut for Private Browsing in Safari with iOS 15

    1. Open Safari;
    2. Press and hold the “Tabs” icon (squares at the bottom right corner);
    3. Tap on the “New Private Tab” option.

    To end a private browsing session (or change back to normal browsing), you’ve to follow the same steps:

    1. Open Safari;
    2. Click on the square icon at the right corner (you can close all the open tabs here – don’t forget to do that when you finish private browsing);
    3. Hope you’re still keeping your mouth shut about the browsing;
    4. Tap “Private” at the bottom middle section;
    5. Click on the “x Tabs” button right above the “Private” option;
    6. You switched back to normal browsing.

    Private Browsing in Safari with iOS 14

    How to open a private browsing window:

    1. Open Safari;
    2. Click on the little squares at the bottom right;
    3. Select “Private” at the bottom left corner;
    4. At the bottom middle part, click on the + and open a private browsing window. 

    How to turn on Incognito mode on Google Chrome using iPhone or iPad

    To open a new Incognito tab:

    1. Open Google Chrome;
    2. At the bottom, slightly to the right, there’s a square with a number in the middle of it (number of opened tabs) – click on it;
    3. At the top center, there’s an icon of glasses and a hat over them (Incognito sign) – click on it;
    4. Tap on + at the bottom center to open an Incognito tab.

    To close an Incognito tab:

    1. Open Chrome;
    2. Click on the square with a number on it at the bottom right corner;
    3. Don’t forget to close all the Incognito tabs; click on the square with a number on it at the top middle;
    4. Choose a tab to return to or open up a new one by pressing the + sign.

    What is Private Browsing and Incognito mode?

    What is Private Browsing and Incognito mode?

    It’s a way to locally secure yourself so that other device users wouldn’t know what you did on the web. So what do you do? You turn on a new private window or open a new Incognito tab.

    Private browsing and going Incognito are temporary private sessions – your device doesn’t store any browsing history or search history. You finish, close it, and boom – your browser doesn’t remember anything.

    However, when browsing privately or Incognito, there’s no autofill information when logging in – your browser also doesn’t “remember” your saved usernames and passwords.

    When you enable private browsing mode, your browser doesn’t use a part of the cache and cookies. That means you’ll have to log in to every page you were logged into before.

    Cache and cookies – not a part of the pantry

    A cache is a place in your device where temporary internet data is downloaded by your browser. It downloads that info from the web and uses it to load the visited pages faster. It also keeps a record of your browsing history.

    Cookies are small bits of data, a piece of protocol, text (e.g., your login information or your shopping cart) stored on your device. That data is used for the webpage to identify you as a user and improve the browsing experience. Thanks to cookies, a web page recognizes you as a visitor.

    Both consist of temporary information and are used by every search engine on every device. It’s an integral part of browser-webpage communication, even when using Incognito and private modes.  

    Incognito mode and private browsing use cache and cookies

    It’s just done differently and more temporarily.

    When you open up a new private tab on one of the web browsers, a new folder is created for that session. Whatever webpages you visit, the information about it will be kept for the duration of that open tab.

    Afterward, when the private browsing is finished and the tab is closed, the session data is immediately deleted, and the browser won’t remember anything. But some will.

    Is private browsing safe?

    Locally – yes, generally speaking – no. Just because you don’t remember doing something doesn’t mean that others don’t remember it too. Be it on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or a computer. 

    Basically, nothing changes security-wise, but you’re provided with some privacy.

    Is private browsing safe?

    Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) can still see what you’re doing since the data goes through their servers. The same goes for employer or school computers – if you use one of theirs, they usually monitor users with third-party programs, or the user has to log in to their servers to use the device.

    If you’re using a public or somebody else’s Wi-Fi, through the router’s admin panel, the owner of the Wi-Fi can check what you went through on the internet.

    Also, the sites you visit can track your behavior and recognize your browsing patterns and user ID. One of such is Google Analytics.

    Incognito mode and the Google scandal

    Does Google track you in Incognito?

    A tricky question. Google specifies that /…/ websites might be able to collect information about your browsing activity during your session /…/. However, they didn’t mention Google Analytics directly. Many users got upset with the lack of transparency and communication around the topic, which led to a $5B lawsuit.

    And for Apple? At the point of writing this article, no such thing has happened with Safari private browsing. Yet…

    Everybody has a right to their own privacy and to their personal data. Even if it’s as indirect as the pattern in which you buy. And just private browsing doesn’t guarantee you a secure browsing experience. 

    In short: What is the safest way of browsing the internet?

    Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) and Safari’s private browsing or Chrome’s Incognito. While browsing privately, you’re not storing any valuable information on your browser, thus minimizing any risk of showing or leaking your personal data.

    On a quick side note, there’s no such thing as a Safari VPN extension, but you’re still welcome to use a regular VPN.

    A good VPN uses obfuscated servers and encrypts your data so no one can understand what they’re looking at. Thanks to obfuscating, data encryption doesn’t attract any attention. That’s layers of security dedicated to shaking off trackers, hackers, pesky onlookers, and nosy neighbors from your back.

    In this instance, It takes two to be safe.

    Tango your online privacy with security.

    Get Surfshark

    FAQ

    Is iPhone private browsing actually private?

    Yes, it’s private to others who use the device you’re using; if you’re not using a VPN, then no, it’s not private to your internet service provider, the owner of the Wi-Fi you’re using, or your employer or school.

    What happened to private browsing on iPhone?

    Apple updated Safari’s software and its design. The private option is there – open it, hold the “Tabs” icon on the right of the Safari address bar, and choose “New Private Tab.”

    However, after the update, you have to go to “Screen Time” and “Content & Privacy Restrictions” to restrict access to content.

    Which browser is private on iPhone?

    Every browser has the option of private browsing.