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How to Do Private Browsing on iPhone on iOS 15

How to Do Private Browsing on iPhone on iOS 15

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Privacy and security have always been a growing concern since the internet began to reach new frontiers and territories. With its current growth and investment in mind, there is no doubt that every second software company is now focusing on user privacy.

Apple is no different, they have introduced cool features in iOS 15 to help improve and maintain your privacy. Nobody likes giving up their IP addresses when browsing the internet or having trackers planning their every move.

Hence, here is a complete guide to help you set up private browsing with various tools and apps in iOS 15. Let’s get started.

Private Browsing on iOS 15

Private browsing as a concept involves different things. Maintain anonymity, hide your IP address, encrypt your data, and more. There are some things you can do in iOS 15 to increase your privacy.

Let’s start with setting up Safari first. We will then enable a private relay or VPN based on your subscriptions and then install additional Safari extensions.

You can then use incognito on your device for complete privacy. Follow the instructions below to get started.

Related: How to fix Safari issues on iOS 15

Step 1: Set up Safari

Safari has custom options to turn off trackers and increase your privacy when browsing the Internet. Follow the guide below to enable or disable the necessary options as per your preference.

Open the Settings app on your device, scroll down and tap on Safari.

Click and select your search engine at the top. We recommend you to use DuckDuckGo to improve privacy.

We recommend that you turn off the following switches at your discretion to avoid sharing your browsing data with Apple and your default search engine provider.

  • search engine suggestions
  • Safari suggestions
  • Quick search on the site
  • Preload for best result

Now scroll down and enable the next toggle. Additionally, select “From Trackers” when you click on “Hide IP Address”.

  • Prevent cross-site tracking
  • Hide IP
  • Block all cookies (optional)
  • Fraudulent website warning
  • Measure ads while maintaining privacy

Additionally, disable the toggle for “Check for Apple Pay”. Scroll down now and tap on the following components. We recommend that you select Decline but you can set certain components to Ask if you regularly use them in Safari.

Safari is now set up for maximum privacy. We can now completely hide your IP using the guide below.

Related: How to disable focus on iOS 15 [6 Methods]

Step 2: Activate Private Relay / VPN

While a private relay differs from a VPN, both can mask your IP address which is essential for maintaining your privacy online. The upside to using either of these is that you will be masking your IP address at the system level.

This means that apps also will not be able to display your actual IP address. If you have a VPN subscription, we recommend that you enable your VPN as soon as possible.

You will end up encrypting your browsing data, hiding your IP address, and most importantly, changing your location. We recommend that you choose a paid and reliable VPN instead of using a free VPN.

Most free VPNs have some kind of privacy policy that may put your data at risk in the future.

However, in this case, you can also check Apple’s private migration feature. Although this will only hide your IP address without the extra privileges of the VPN, you will end up with an iCloud + subscription which means additional cloud storage and backup features.

If you’re interested in Private Relay, here’s how to sign up and use it on your device.

Open the Settings app and tap your Apple ID at the top.

Now tap on iCloud.

Scroll down and make sure iCloud is enabled on your device. Click on “Private Relay” now.

You’ll now see the iCloud + basic plan for your region. Prices can vary. If you want to select a higher plan, click “See other plans”.

Click and select your plan at the top.

Tap Upgrade to iCloud +.

Click on “Subscribe” now and accept your payment.

Tap on “Private Relay” again once you’ve subscribed and enable the toggle for the same. Click on β€œIP Address Location” and you should now have the following options. Decide which one is based on your current privacy needs.

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  • Maintain public site: Using this option will allow trackers to determine your general location. Your exact location and exact whereabouts will be hidden.
  • Use country and time zone: This option will use a wider area to represent your location, however, your IP address will still only display within your country and timezone.

You can now close the Settings app. Private paging is now enabled for your device.

Related: Do you want to disable App Library on iOS 15? Here are the solutions

Step 3: Install the necessary accessories

Safari for mobile now has the option to install extensions. There are many privacy-focused extensions that can help you hide from trackers, block ads, and whitelist services that you like and support.

Use the guide below to find and install the necessary needed extensions on Safari. You will find our recommended accessories at the end.

Open Settings and tap “Safari”.

Click on “Extensions”.

Click on “More Extensions”.

You will now be redirected to the App Store section to get the extensions. Find the required accessories and install them on your device. You can then use this guide to set them up and start using them within Safari.

If you are looking for some privacy-focused add-ons for Safari, you can check out our top 6 picks below.

Related: What is live listening? | What is sound insulation? [iOS 15]

Step 4: Access your incognito tabs

Finally, we recommend using Incognito tabs whenever possible within Safari. Unless you’re using a service or signed in to Safari, you don’t need persistent cookies on your device.

Incognito tabs will help you maintain this by deleting them all once you close your browsing session. If the new Safari user interface seems daunting, here’s how to access your incognito tabs.

Open Safari and tap the Tabs icon in the lower right corner.

Click on “Start Page” at the bottom.

Select “Private”.

Press “+” to add the first tab and start browsing.

You can also move the tab bar to the top of Safari. Refer to this guide from us to get started.

How is a private relay different from a VPN?

The two services are very different but in terms of privacy, private relay helps in hiding your IP address from anyone on the internet. On the other hand, a VPN encrypts your data packets when they are sent.

This helps hide your activity from everyone except your VPN provider. Your IP address is also hidden when using a VPN but it will be available to your provider which often puts you at the mercy of their privacy policies.

On the other hand, private relay when activated will hide your IP address from your VPN provider as well. So you may want to use one or both of them depending on your privacy needs.

Do you have to pay for a private relay?

It totally depends on your budget and if you can pay the monthly fee for this service and iCloud +. We do not recommend a private relay subscription if you are already subscribed to a VPN unless privacy is of paramount importance to you and has potential consequences for your business or finances.

However, it is recommended for users who are not into anything, and who are looking to enhance their privacy. However, if you feel that data encryption is more important to you, you can also opt for a paid VPN.

There are plenty of industry tested and trusted services with transparent privacy policies that will help you get the job done.

We hope you were able to easily set up private browsing on iOS 15 using the guide above. Feel free to drop your suggestions in the comments below.


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