How to Use Private Browsing in Safari on iPhone, iPad and Mac

Apple has been consistently working on product innovation and privacy is one of their top priorities. They have implemented unique security settings but the classic private browsing on Safari remains to be one of the most important configurations. It’s not an edge to the competition but it’s a must for all internet users.

Your data stays secure on an incognito page in Safari. After all, private browsing doesn’t create search history and AutoFill information is not saved. Also, open web pages are not stored on iCloud. The browser doesn’t even collect cookies, which blocks websites from tracking your search behavior.

In this article, we will teach you how to do private browsing on Safari using your iPhone, iPad, and Mac. For the iPhone and iPad guide, we will be specific for the new iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, so make sure your iOS is updated.

Let’s begin.

Private Browsing Mode on iPhone With iOS 15

Using Long Press Shortcut

There are two ways to begin private browsing on your iPhone, and both can be done straight from the Safari app. 

The first method is by doing a long press on the Safari icon app. 

new private tab

Doing a long press or hold will show you several options, including “New Private Tab”. Once you click that option, a tab will open and you are now in private browsing mode. As a confirmation, this will appear on the top page of your Safari tab:

private browsing mode

Then, you can privately use the search bar or enter a website.

Using Safari Tabs

The next method is using the Safari tabs to activate private browsing. Do this if your Safari app is already open and you want to switch to a private browsing tab. 

To enable the private browsing tab on Safari, touch and hold the tabs icon on the bottom right part of your screen. 

safari tabs

If there are tabs opened in your Safari app, your active tabs will appear. Then, click the button at the center where the number of tabs appears. 


Finally, click “Private” to shift to private browsing. 

private tab

Your iPhone will alert you that you are now in private browsing mode. Click the “+” icon on the lower left of the screen to add a private tab and start browsing. 

private browsing mode

That’s it! You can now browse websites without having to worry about security. 

Private Browsing Mode on iPad With iPad OS15

The user interface of Safari on iPad is similar to Mac but the steps are a bit different. 

Begin by launching the Safari app on your iPad, and then click the tabs view icon on the upper right corner. 

private browsing on ipad

Next, click the “Private” option from the menu.

private browsing on ipad

A new tab will open and you will get this confirmation that private browsing is now enabled:

private browsing enabled

And there you go. Your internet browsing activity is now secured. 

Private Browsing on Mac 

Safari is every Mac’s browser by default. Similar to other browsers, you can also go into incognito mode in it. The steps will be the same whether you are using the most updated OS or not.

To start, launch the Safari app on your Mac by clicking the app icon on your dock, or by using the Spotlight Search bar. 

From “File”, click “New Private Window”. You can also do a shortcut by pressing “Shift+ Command+N” on your keyboard. You always have to do this step because mixing private and normal tabs in one window is not possible. 

new private window

Safari will now open a new private browsing window. This notice will appear on top of your screen to confirm that you are browsing in private mode:

private browsing

You can now search or enter a website name in full private mode. 

To end private browsing, just click “Exit” or the red button on the top-left corner of your screen. 

Set Private Browsing As Default

If you want your internet browsing to be protected at all times, you can set private browsing as default on Safari. Here’s how.

First, you have to open the Safari app. From there, click Safari from the menu options and then select “Preferences”.

safari preferences

A pop-up box will appear. Under the General tab, click the “Safari opens with” pop-up menu. Then, select “A new private window”. By selecting this, Safari will open in a new private window every time you start the app. 

new private window

In some instances where this option may not be available to you, here are the steps you should take:

Click the Apple icon on the top-left corner of your screen and select “System Preferences.” From the menu, select “General”. The check box “Close windows when quitting an app” should be ticked. 

default private browsing

Exit System Preferences and try again the steps that we described above to see if it will work. 

To remove the default private browsing, go back to Apple icon > System Preferences > General. Click the “Safari opens with” pop-up menu, then select “A new window”. 

Additional Privacy Measures

If you want to go further, you can also tweak the default settings of Safari. To do this, open your Safari app, and then, from the menu tab, click Safari > Preferences > General. 

On “Remove history items” and “Remove download list items”, click the drop-down menu option and select “After one day”. This will automatically refresh your history items and delete your downloaded files after 24 hours. 

safety measures

While private browsing gives you an additional layer of security, it is worth noting that it does not disguise you from sites that you visit. Your IP address can still be seen and your internet service provider still has the capability to record the sites that you visit. 

But as cyber-attacks and new threats continue to evolve, private browsing can really come in handy. Think of the new iOS or Safari as your armor, and private browsing as your shield. 

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