Private Browsing Missing in Safari on iPhone or iPad? How to Fix It

The Private mode in Safari lets you browse websites without any trace in the app’s history. It’s a safe way to browse the web on your iPhone or iPad because it prevents recording your browsing history, storing cookies, website tracking, etc.

Enabling Private mode is easy but we just found out recently that sometimes, the “private” link doesn’t show up in Safari’s tab view. Given that this is the easiest way to enable private mode, it will be impossible to switch between private and normal modes without this link. Incidentally, you might also notice that the “Clear History and Website Data” option (in Settings → Safari) disabled. Fortunately, there is a fix for this. Here’s more on that.

Turns out, “Restrictions” plays a role in enabling/disabling the “Private” mode link in Safari’s tab-view. If you have website restrictions enabled, there’s a possibility that the private mode link will be hidden. Sometimes it looks like a bug too but anyway, here’s how to fix the missing Private link in Safari.

Is Private Browsing Button Grayed Out in Safari on iPhone or iPad? How to Fix It

Step #1. Open Settings → Tap on Screen Time (If you have set the passcode for Screen Time, it may ask you to enter to proceed further.)

Tap on Settings then Screen Time on iPhone or iPad

Step #2. Tap on Content & Privacy Restrictions then tap on Content Restrictions.

Tap on Content Restrictions in Screen Time Settings on iPhone or iPad

Step #3. Tap on Web Content and Select Unrestricted Access.

Tap on Web Content and Select Unrestricted Access

Step #4. If that’s selected already, tap on Limit Adult Websites and then tap on Unrestricted Access again.

Allow All Websites in Safari on iPhone or iPad

Step #5. Quit Settings and Safari (if it’s open.)

Re-open Safari and go to the tab-view (tap on +). Hopefully, you should now see the “Private mode link.

Also, within Settings → Safari, check if Clear History and Website Data is now enabled. Note that you should have visited a few websites (basically, have some history) before the link/button becomes clickable again.

That’s all, folks!

Do share your feedback with us in the comment below.

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Jignesh Padhiyar
Jignesh Padhiyar is the co-founder of who has a keen eye for news, rumors and all the unusual stuff that happens around Apple products. During his tight schedule, Jignesh finds some moments of respite to share side-splitting contents on social media.


  1. I have an iPad 8, and it has no “Restrictions” settings. I’m trying to close all tabs to sort out a continual problem with reloading pages. The advice given does not match the machine’s command hierarchy, so the advice is useless. Nothing has greater nuisance value than a computer. One day they will all break down, or we will advance to using paper and pencil. That day cannot come soon enough.

  2. Thank you, I looked everywhere and they kept saying, hit the double squares, or access it from the address bar, but I remembered there was something I did in the settings, and no web site mentions this, so THANK YOU so much for helping me as I have been searching forever….


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