Have you ever wanted to browse the web without leaving any traces of your online activity? Or maybe you need to research some sensitive topics that you don’t want anyone else to see? If so, you might want to try private browsing in Safari on your Mac, iPhone, or iPad. Private browsing is a feature that allows you to surf the web without storing any information about the websites you visit, the searches you make, or the data you enter.
In this article, we will show you how to use private browsing in Safari on MacOS Sonoma, the latest version of Apple’s operating system for Mac computers. We will also cover how to password-protect your private browsing sessions, how to use private browsing on iOS 17 and iPadOS 17, what’s new in private browsing in MacOS Sonoma and Safari 17, how to disable private browsing in Safari.
Table of Contents
How to Enable Private Browsing in Safari on MacOS Sonoma
To enable private browsing in Safari on MacOS Sonoma, follow these steps:
- Open Safari on your Mac.
- Choose File > New Private Window from the menu bar or press Shift-Command-N on your keyboard. This will open a new window with a dark address bar and a lock icon, indicating that it is a private window.
- Any tabs you create within this window will also be private. You can tell if a tab is private by looking at the lock icon next to the title.
- To switch between regular and private windows, click the Window menu and select the window you want.
How to Password-Protect your Private Browsing Sessions
To password-protect your private browsing sessions in MacOS Sonoma Safari, you can make use of the Private Browsing Authentication feature. With this feature, you can lock your private browsing sessions with a password or TouchID. Once locked, the contents of that Safari window can only be viewed after successful authentication.
Here are the steps to enable Private Browsing Authentication:
- Open Safari and click on the Safari entry in the Menu Bar.
- Click on Settings.
- In the resulting popup, click on the Privacy tab.
- Click on the checkbox associated with Private Browsing to enable the authentication feature.
- Close the Settings window.
Please note that this feature is only available in Safari 17 or newer.
How to use Private Browsing on iOS 17 and iPadOS 17
If you have an iPhone or iPad running iOS 17 or iPadOS 17, you can also use private browsing in Safari. The process is slightly different from the Mac version, but it works similarly.
To use private browsing on iOS 17 and iPadOS 17, follow these steps:
- Open Safari on your iPhone or iPad.
- Tap the Tabs button (the overlapping squares icon) at the bottom right corner of the screen.
- Tap the center icon (three lines with bullets in front) at the bottom of the screen.
- From the list of Tab Groups that appears, scroll to almost the bottom and tap Private.
- On the screen that says, “Private Browsing is Locked”, tap Unlock and use Face ID or Touch ID to authenticate.
- You will see a new tab group called Private with a purple background. Any tabs you create within this group will be private.
- To switch between regular and private tab groups, tap the center icon again and select the group you want.
What’s New in Private Browsing in MacOS Sonoma and Safari 17
Besides password protection, there are some other improvements in private browsing in MacOS Sonoma and Safari 17 that make it more secure and convenient.
One of them is that private browsing now completely blocks known trackers from loading on pages, which means that websites won’t be able to collect any information about you or your behavior. Safari also removes tracking from URLs as you browse in private browsing, which prevents websites from tracking you across different domains.
Another improvement is that private browsing now syncs across your devices using iCloud. This means that if you start a private browsing session on your Mac, you can continue it on your iPhone or iPad, and vice versa. You can also access your bookmarks, history, and reading list in private browsing, as long as they are stored in iCloud.
Prepare for a smooth macOS Sonoma installation by following the essential steps outlined in the article titled “5 Things to do Before Installing macOS Sonoma.” This comprehensive guide offers valuable insights and recommendations to ensure a trouble-free transition to the new macOS version, enhancing your user experience.
How to Disable Private Browsing in Safari
If you want to disable private browsing in Safari, you can do so by closing all your private windows or tabs. This will delete any information that was stored in them, such as cookies, cache, or autofill data.
To close a private window on your Mac, click the red button at the top left corner of the window, or press Command-W on your keyboard. To close a private tab on your Mac, click the X button at the top left corner of the tab, or press Command-W on your keyboard.
To close a private tab group on your iPhone or iPad, tap the Tabs button, tap the center icon, and swipe left on the Private group. Then, tap Delete.
Benefits and limitations
It can offer some benefits for your online privacy and security, such as:
- Shields against website tracking via cookies and similar techniques.
- Safeguards your browsing history, searches, and data from others.
- Secures personal info from being revealed in autofill suggestions.
- Grants access to websites potentially blocked by network or region.
However, it also has some limitations that you should be aware of, such as:
- Your IP address and location remain visible to websites and ISPs.
- Traffic isn’t encrypted, leaving you vulnerable to hackers and malware.
- Websites can still log your activity on their servers.
- Third-party apps or extensions may access your data and activity.
Therefore, if you want to enhance your online privacy and security beyond private browsing, you might want to use a VPN service or a browser extension that offers more features and protection.
Tips and Tricks for Private Browsing in Safari
Here are some tips and tricks that can help you make the most of private browsing in Safari:
- Easily open a link in a new private window or tab: Right-click the link and select “Open Link in New Private Window” or “Open Link in New Private Tab.”
- Swiftly toggle between regular and private browsing: Use Option-Command-N on your Mac keyboard.
- Tailor Safari’s private browsing: Customize settings at Safari > Preferences > Advanced to adjust appearance and behavior.
- Monitor blocked trackers: Check the number of blocked trackers in private mode by clicking the shield icon near the address bar and selecting “Trackers Blocked.”
- Temporarily disable tracker blocking: For a specific website, click the shield icon and choose “Turn Off for This Website.”
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if I’m Browsing Privately in Safari?
In Safari, dark address bar with a lock icon indicates private mode, while a light bar with no lock icon is regular mode.
How do I Clear my History and Data in Safari?
To clear Safari history, go to Safari > History > Clear History on Mac or tap Bookmarks > Clear on iPhone/iPad, then choose what to clear.
How do I Enable Cookies in Safari?
To enable cookies in Safari, go to Preferences > Privacy, uncheck “Block all cookies,” but be cautious about privacy concerns.
How do I Change my Default Search Engine in Safari?
To change Safari’s default search engine, open Safari, go to Preferences > Search, and select your desired search engine.
How do I Update Safari to the Latest Version?
To get the latest Safari version, update your MacOS through System Preferences, then check Safari’s version in its menu.
Browsing privately is a useful feature that can help you browse the web without leaving any traces of your online activity. It can also help you protect your privacy, security, and personal data from prying eyes. However, it also has some limitations that you should be aware of, and it doesn’t offer complete anonymity or protection online.
In this article, we showed you how to browse privately in Safari on MacOS Sonoma, the latest version of Apple’s operating system for Mac computers. We hope this article was helpful and informative for you. If you have any questions or feedback, please let us know in the comments below.