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How to lock Safari private tabs in iOS 17 and macOS Sonoma

The WWDC 2023 event introduced a host of new features for native apps, including Safari, which now offers the ability to lock Private tabs or windows in iOS 17 and macOS Sonoma. By locking Private tabs, you can ensure that anyone attempting to open a Private tab will need to enter your passcode or use your Face ID/Touch ID.

If you’re interested in enabling this feature on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, you’ve come to the right place. This article will walk you through the steps to lock Safari private browsing tabs, as well as highlight some of the benefits that come with doing so.

How to lock Safari Private tabs on iPhone or iPad

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Tap Safari.  
  3. Under Privacy & Security, toggle on Require Face ID to Unlock Private Browsing.

    Launch Settings app, scroll down to Safari, and toggle on the Require Face ID to Unlock Private Browsing

As of writing this article, you’ll require iOS 17 Developer Beta to test this feature.

Note: iPhones with Touch ID will show Require Touch ID to Unlock Private Browsing. Also, iPhone users having a Passcode will see the option Require Passcode to Unlock Private Browsing.

How to unlock Safari private tabs with Face ID

Once you complete the above-given process, your Safari Tabs will open only with your Face ID/TouchID or Passcode. So, do the following to unlock Private tabs: 

  1. Try to open your Private tab in Safari.
    You will see a screen with a text saying Private Browsing is Locked.  
  2. Tap Unlock option displayed just below the text.
  3. The iPhone will use the Face ID to verify it’s you and then let you in.

    Visit Safari app, tap Unlock, and verify the Face ID

Note: Every time your iPhone’s display goes off, or you switch apps, the Face ID/Passcode for private browsing locks your private Safari tabs automatically. You must unlock them to visit them again.  

How to lock Safari Private windows on Mac

  1. Launch Safari on your Mac.
  2. Click Safari on the menu bar → Select Settings.

    Go to Safari in menu bar, select Settings
  3. Go to the Privacy tab → Enable Require Touch ID to view locked tabs.

    Go to Privacy, enable Require Touch ID to view locked tabs

If you change your mind, you can disable this feature by unchecking the Require Touch ID to view the locked status option.

Also, on Macs without Touch ID, you’ll see Require password to view locked tabs

How to unlock Safari private windows on Mac

  1. The next time you visit your earlier opened Safari Private window on Mac, you will come across a screen that displays Private Browsing is Locked. Then, use your Touch ID or password to unlock the private tab.

    Unlock private window on mac
  2. Once the macOS verifies your Touch ID or password, it will let you surf the Private window again.

Benefits of locking your private browsing in Safari

Apple is known to bless its users with the best work experiences. The launch of Face ID/Passcode lock for private browsing in Safari further strengthens iPhone’s safety capabilities. Let’s explore some of its benefits here: 

  • The lock on Private tabs will ensure that no person can access your private windows opened on your iPhone or Mac in your absence. 
  • Private browsing comes in handy when using online payment channels. A lock will add an extra layer of safety to it. 
  • It lets you work on other tasks without closing the private tabs opened on Safari, fearing unauthorized access.   
Does my iPhone support Face ID for Safari private browsing? 

If your iPhone supports iOS 17, it will surely support Face ID/Touch ID lock for private tabs.

Concluding words

I hope the newly launched Locked Private Browsing feature will enhance your Safari experience on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Do share your reviews about iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and macOS Sonoma in the comments. We would love to hear from you.  

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  • Srishti

    Srishti is a writing enthusiast who has been creating user-friendly content for more than 5 years in the tech space. At iGeeksBlog, she helps readers explore the Apple ecosystem, understand the jargon, and improve their experience. With expertise in buying guides, she helps you find the best accessories amid the pool of choices for Apple products. Her talent for making complicated tech understandable shines through in her writing. When away from her MacBook, you can find her doing a hands-on experience with new products.

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