How to enable and use private browsing in Safari on iPhone

How to turn on private browsing on Safari iPhone

With iOS 15, Apple changed the way you open a private tab in Safari on iPhone. Even after the redesign, the steps are easy and quick. In this brief guide, learn how to turn on private browsing in Safari on iPhone and iPad. But before that, let’s understand their benefits and uses.

What private Safari tabs do?

Private Safari tabs let you browse without leaving tracks on your iPhone or iPad. They do not keep a history of websites you visit or the AutoFill information like usernames and passwords.

Moreover, these tabs do not sync to your other iCloud devices, and the cookies are automatically deleted once you close them. They also enable additional security settings like preventing cross-site tracking.

Now that you know what private tabs do, here are the steps to open private tabs in Safari on iPhone.

How to turn on Safari private browsing on iOS 14

  1. Open Safari and tap the two-square icon at the bottom right.
  2. Tap Private.
  3. Tap the plus icon.
  4. You are now in a private tab. Gray color in the address bar and elsewhere signifies private browsing.

    How to enable private mode in Safari in iOS 14

How to turn off Safari private browsing on iOS 14 or earlier

To temporarily exit private browsing,

  1. Tap the two-square icon
  2. Tap Private
  3. Select the normal tab thumbnail or the ‘+’ icon.
    Your private tabs are still open by doing this. You can access them by following the above steps again.
To temporarily exit private browsing in Safari in iOS 14

To permanently exit private browsing,

  1. Tap the two-square icon.
  2. Swipe right to left on all open private tabs (or tap x) to close them.
  3. Finally, tap Private and the normal tab screen.
To permanently exit private browsing in Safari in iOS 14

Use private browsing in Safari on iPhone running iOS 15

  1. Inside Safari, tap the two-square icons or swipe up from the redesigned address bar.
  2. Tap Start Page or the Group Tab name.

    Tap two square icons and tap Start Page or Tab Group name
  3. Tap Private and the plus icon or the tab thumbnail.
  4. You are now in private mode. The gray-colored address bar confirms you are browsing privately.

    Tap Private and plus icon or start page thumbnail

How to disable Safari private browsing on iOS 15

To temporarily exit private browsing,

  1. Tap the two-square icon.
  2. Tap Private.
  3. Choose Start Page or a Tab Group you have created.
  4. Note: If you follow the above steps again and enter private browsing, you will see your open private tabs.
To temporarily exit private browsing in Safari in iOS 15

To permanently exit private browsing,

  1. Tap the two-square icon.
  2. Tap X for every open private tab.
  3. Now, choose Private and select Start Page or a Tab Group.
Tap two square icon and tap x to close all private tabs
Tap Private and choose Start Page or a Tab Group in iOS 15

Common ways to go incognito in Safari on iPhone

  • From the Home screen or App Library: Long-press the Safari app icon from the iPhone Home screen or App Library, and choose New Private Tab.

    Long press Safari icon and choose New Private Tab
  • Use Siri: Summon Siri and say ‘open private tab in Safari.’
  • Long-press the two-square icon from the bottom right and choose New Private Tab.

I believe this guide helped you learn how to turn private browsing on or off on your iPhone.

Finally, it is worth knowing that private tabs give the benefits locally. Your internet service provider may still see your browsing history. To prevent this, consider using a VPN.

Fun fact: If you limit adult websites from Screen Time, you will lose the option of private browsing inside Safari.

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