Safari on iPhone: Set default search engine for private surfing

Safari offers a variety of options on the iPhone and iPad to customize your web use. Surfing on Apple's mobile devices should also become increasingly safer. And that's why you can leave iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 can set their own default search engine for private Safari tabs. If you e.g. For example, if you use Google in regular tabs but want to be more careful in private tabs, you can set DuckDuckGo for this, for example. But Ecosia, Bing and Yahoo can also be set up. With the following instructions you will learn how to set the search engines for private and regular tabs in Safari on the iPhone and iPad.

For Safari on the iPhone and iPad you can set a default search engine in the settings - with the new operating systems this works individually for regular and private surfing. You can find the relevant instructions here.
For Safari on the iPhone and iPad you can set a default search engine in the settings - with the new operating systems this works individually for regular and private surfing. You can find the relevant instructions here.

Standard search engine for private surfing on iPhone and iPad

In the Safari app itself you will search in vain for the corresponding options. The path takes you again to the settings of your mobile Apple device. So look for the gear symbol on the home screen or in the app overview and off you go:

  1. Opens the Settings on your Apple iPhone / iPad
  2. Scroll down a bit and type Safari an
  3. Under “Search” you select “Private Browsing” search. from
In addition to Google, Bing, Yahoo, Ecosia and DuckDuckGo, you can also select “Use default search engine”. Then the option set for regular tabs (see below) is applied.
In addition to Google, Bing, Yahoo, Ecosia and DuckDuckGo, you can also select “Use default search engine”. Then the option set for regular tabs (see below) is applied.

Set default search engine for regular Safari tabs

As you may have already noticed from the screenshots above, this also allows you to set the search engine that should be used by default for queries in regular Safari tabs. The step-by-step instructions for this look very similar:

  1. Opens the Settings on your Apple iPhone / iPad
  2. Scroll down a bit and type Safari an
  3. Under “Search” you select search engine from
You can set the default search engine for surfing in Safari on the iPhone and iPad as shown here.
You can set the default search engine for surfing in Safari on the iPhone and iPad as shown here.

Even more protection: Remove tracking and fingerprinting from URLs

Speaking of private surfing on iPhone and iPad: as of the new operating systems iOS 17 and iPadOS 17, “extended tracking and identification protection” is also activated for private tabs. This ensures that certain parts of a web address are removed before they are accessed. These words and character sequences are used for tracking and user identification (so-called fingerprinting). If you want to protect against this not only in private tabs, but also during regular surfing, then take a look at these instructions: iPhone Tip – Have Safari remove tracking parameters from URLs.

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In the Sir Apfelot Blog you will find advice, instructions and reviews on Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, AirPods, iMac, Mac Pro, Mac Mini and Mac Studio.

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