Set Different Default Search Engine for Safari Private Browsing in iOS 17

While iOS has offered a way to choose the desired search engine in Safari, there hadn’t been an option to set a different private search engine – until iOS 17. That means Safari would always use the same search engine for both the general and private browsing modes. If you are of fond the private browsing mode (aka the incognito mode), you would love to select a separate search engine like the renowned “DuckDuckGo” for the incognito mode. Guess what, iOS 17 has offered a seamless way to let you make the switch as and when the need arrives. With that said, read on to learn how to set a different default search engine for Safari private browsing mode in iOS 17 and iPadOS 17.

Change Private Search Engine for Safari Private Browsing Mode on iPhone and iPad 

First off, it would be better to clear the basics related to this new Safari add-on.

Why should you use a different search engine for Safari’s private browsing mode? 

Though all search engines claim to deliver a top-notch private browsing experience, only a few are able to live up to the expectation. Literally. When the lights are off, what takes centerstage is the greed to collect, use, misuse, and even abuse the personal information of a user. Fair to say, most even argue the robbery happens even in broad daylight – whether you are off the grid or online.

To put it straight, you are never off the grid; irrespective of whether you invoked the shield to hide your data or allowed trackers to keep a tab on your info. Hence, it’s better to have the flexibility to set up a preferred private search engine. It’s akin to putting on bulletproof skin to ward off the prying eyes when you are out there, keeping the insidious intrusion at bay. 

Couple that with the ability to lock your private browsing mode with Face ID or Touch ID and now you’ve got a pretty solid way to browse the web with heightened privacy.

What are the best private search engines?

Although the market is loaded with a ton of private search engines, the ones that I have used and found reliable are: 

  • DuckDuckGo
  • searX
  • Startpage
  • Qwant
  • Mojeek
  • Swisscows 
  • MetaGer
  • Ecosia

What are the private search engines available to choose from for Safari on your iPhone and iPad? 

As of now, iOS 17 lets you choose from 5 private search engines – excluding the default one. Here they are: 

  • Google 
  • Yahoo
  • Bing 
  • Ecosiya 
  • DuckDuckGo

Switch Default Private Search Engine for Safari on iOS and iPad

  • To get started, head over to the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  • Scroll down in the Settings menu and choose Safari. 
Launch Settings and tap on Safari
  • Tap on Private Search Engine and choose the preferred search engine and you are good to go! Your selection will come into force right away. 
Set Private Search Engine in iOS 17:iPadOS 17 on iPhone and iPad

Use the Default Private Search Engine in Safari Private Browsing Mode on iOS and iPadOS 

  • Later, if you ever wished to change your mind and would like to go back to using the default private search engine, just head into the Safari setting and make the desired changes. 
  • Navigate to the Settings app on your device -> Safari -> Private Search Engine -> Use Default Search Engine

Unlock the Full Potential of Safari on Your Device..!

There you go! So, that’s how you can switch private search engines in Safari. The stock browser for iOS has come up with a ton of new features. If you are willing to unlock the full potential of the browser, be sure to check our roundup.

Read more: 101 Best iOS 17 Hidden Features: Time to Dig Deeper!

Posted by
Rajesh Mishra

Co-founder/Editor-in-Chief: Rajesh Mishra (Your beloved “R.K” 360 Reader Voice) is a Shakespearean poet at heart who turned a tech nerd while having a secret rendezvous with iPhone 4. When that rendezvous turned obsession, he let go of his hard-core political journalism in favour of the lifelong love-affair with technology. In a career spanning one and a half decades, Mr. Mishra has crafted over 8K articles and around 2K YouTube videos. He is probably the only journalist alive with this unique achievement. When he is not at his desk, you may find him either engrossed in a Deathmatch or chasing Wordsworth!

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