How to use a private browser on an iPad

How to Use a Private Browser on an iPad?

Value your privacy? Check out How to Use a Private Browser on an iPad for ultimate privacy.

Sometimes, you would like to browse a website without leaving any trace of your online activity. Those who use iPhones might have read earlier how this can be achieved using Safari and other private web browsers. 

But, if you’re an iPad user and are wondering how to use a private browser on an iPad, then the answer is pretty simple.

You will have to attempt to open a New Window in Safari and then tap on the Private button that’s situated in the upper right corner of the display. Now click on the + icon and you will have a new private browser within Safari that you can use. The functionality of the new window remains the same as the standard browsing window in Safari, the only difference however is that Safari does not save your cookies or site data when the Private window is enabled.

In this article, MacSecurity will show you how to use a private browser on an iPad so you stay invisible online and all your personal information is kept secure.

Read on to find out more about how to use a private browser on an iPad.

Related: How to Browse Privately on the Web

How to Use a Private Browser on an iPad

How to Enable and Use the Private Browsing Mode on an iPad

Private browsing using Safari on an iPad works the same as on an iPhone. The only difference with an iPad is the layout of the buttons to enable private browsing. 

With an iPhone, the New Window button is located in the footer of Safari, but on an iPad, the New Window button is situated in the upper right-hand corner of the screen.

Here’s how you can enable and use the private browser in Safari.

  • Start by launching the Safari app on your iPad. 
  • Normally, the toolbar would get hidden once you open the app, tap anywhere to reveal Safari’s on-screen toolbar.
how to turn on private browsing on ipad
  • In the upper right corner, click on the New Window button. It resembles two overlapping squares.
  • The page theme will shift from light to dark and in the upper right corner, you will now see a new option labeled Private +. Click on it to open the main Private Browsing window.
how to check private browsing history on ipad
  • From here you can tap on the ‘+’ icon and in the toolbar to add a new private window to the session. 

The URL/Search bar in the Safari Private window will be blacked out. This is one way to remember that you’re browsing in private and not on the standard Safari page.

The functionality of the browser remains the same, you will have access to all the Safari tools and options. The only difference is that with a private window, your browser history, search history, cookies, auto-fill information, and other site-related information will not be saved and are deleted each time you close the browser or any of the private windows.

Point to Note: If you have opted to use the standard browser while there are private windows open, Safari will leave the private windows open in the background. If you want to deactivate all the private browsing windows, you will have to tap on the overlapping squares (New Window) and then on Private. Now click on the ‘X’ in the corner of each window’s thumbnail to close them one at a time.

How to Turn Private Browsing on or off on your iPad

Your private information is safeguarded by private browsing, which also prevents some websites from tracking your search activity. Your search history, the pages you browse, or your AutoFill data won’t be saved by Safari.

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How you can turn on Private Browsing

Step 1 Open Safari on your iPad.

Step 2 Touch and hold the tabs button .

Step 3 Tap on New Private Tab.

iPad with Safari tab options menu open

The Safari address bar will appear black or dark rather than white or grey when Private Browsing is enabled, and the buttons are black rather than blue.

How to turn off Private Browsing

Step 1 Tap the tabs button .

Step 2 Tap Private to show the Tabs Groups list.

Step 3 Tap Tabs at the top of the Tabs Groups list.

Browse Privately with Safari on an iPad

Safari is a futuristic web browser that is capable of generating a Privacy report based on your browsing activities and sites you have visited. This report will keep you informed about whether the site you’re visiting is tracking you or if they have malicious intent. 

To understand better, you will have to view the Privacy Report on your iPad. Here’s how you can do this.

  • Tap on AA (Website Option Button). This is located on the left side of the Search bar. 
  • Tap on Privacy Report that is denoted by a Shield.
private browsing safari ipad not available

The privacy report will provide you with a summary of the trackers that have been identified and blocked by Intelligent Tracking Prevention on the website you’re currently browsing. This report will keep you informed about whether the site is safe to use and what kind of information the site is looking to collect.

If you’re unhappy with the current privacy settings on Safari, you can review and adjust them to protect yourself from malicious attacks.

Control the Privacy and Security Settings for Safari

Safari is a private tool, but there are times when you may want to tweak the browser settings a bit to add more security to your browsing sessions. You can make the changes according to your preferences via the Settings app.

Here’s how you can get this done.

  • Start by opening the Settings app on your iPad.
  • Locate Safari and tap on it to reveal the Privacy and Security settings.
  • Here you will need to tap on any of the following settings to either enable or disable them.
private browsing safari ipad ios 15

Prevent Cross-Site Tracking – By default, Safari does not allow third-party cookies or data. If you’re looking to enable cross-site tracking then you must enable this option.

Block Cookies – You can enable this option to prevent sites from adding cookies to your browser and iPad. If you have had this enabled and want to delete your cookies, you must access the Safari settings page and clear history and website data.

Fraudulent Website Warning –  This is a warning displayed on Safari if the website you’re accessing is suspected of phishing. It’s a good idea to keep it enabled, but if you want to stop receiving the warning messages, turn the option off.

Check for Apple Pay – Numerous sites use Apple Pay and will first check if you have Apple Pay enabled on your iPad. If you do not want the sites to check if you have Apple pay, disable this option. 

By default, there’s one thing you can’t disable, the warning that appears on Safari when you’re using a website that is not secure. You will be able to see the warning message in the Safari search field.

Clear the Existing Safari Browsing History

One fine way to keep your browsing sessions private is to make sure your browsing and search history have been cleared. For those using iPadOS 11 or higher, if you clear the browsing history on one device, the same history logs get cleared across all Apple devices that are registered to the same iCloud account.

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There are two ways you can clear your existing Safari browsing history on your iPad. While carrying out either of these methods, all site cookies, web data, and history will be permanently deleted. The only data that remains intact will be the Auto-fill information that contains your passwords and IDs.

Method 1

The first method will be the ability to clear your browsing history based on a specific time frame. You will be able to select whether to clear your history, cookies, and site data based on duration such as data for the last hour, for the last 24 hours, 48 hours, and finally for All time.

  • Start by opening Safari on your iPad.
  • Tap on the Bookmarks icon and then tap on the History option (Clock icon).
  • You will not be able to view the complete browser history. 
  • To clear a specific URL, simply swipe across the URL from right to left. You will see a delete option on the right side of the screen. Tap on it to delete the particular piece of data.
  • If you’re looking to clear more than a single event, at the bottom of the screen, tap on Clear.
how to disable private browsing on ipad

Select the most appropriate option from the pop-up. You will have: The last hour, today, today and yesterday, and All time. Click on the option you want and confirm the selection to clear your browsing history.

Method 2

The second method is not commonly used as it not only clears the browser history on your iPad but clears the history, cookies, and site data across every single Apple device registered under that particular iCloud account.

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Proceed with caution!

  • Open the Settings app on your iPad and navigate to the Safari option.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the page and tap on Clear History and Website Data.
  • Tap on Clear History and Data on the pop-up to begin the process.

Alternate Ways to Browse Privately on an iPad

Apart from using the built-in private mode of Safari on your iPad, you can instead use a VPN alongside Safari to mask your IP and prevent sites from tracking your online activity. 

If you truly want to remain private and anonymous online, a good VPN is a must-have.

There are many great VPNs out there to use on your iPad such as OpenVPN and ProtonVPN. These require you to purchase a subscription to unlock all data servers around the world. You can even opt to use the free version of these apps, but the speed and site access will be limited.

turn off private browsing safari ipad ios 15

Another fine way to browse privately on your iPad is by downloading and using the Onion browser. This browser runs on a highly encrypted Tor network that prevents sites from accessing your information or tracking you. With Tor, you remain completely anonymous and have access to every website in the world with no restrictions.

Tor lets you download music, movies, and other files without anyone knowing that you are downloading them. There’s no way for anyone to trace your movement via the Onion browser and no information such as browser history, site data, passwords, search results, or auto-fill information are stored.

Tips for Browsing Privately on an iPad

Here are some tips to keep in mind when you’re going to browse privately on your iPad. These will help you stay safe online, remain anonymous and limit websites from adding trackers to your browser.

  • Always use the private browsing mode in safari if you’re looking for something that you don’t want others to see.
  • Download and use a VPN on your iPad. This will allow you to browse privately using any browser. The only thing you’d have to remember is to clear the browser history when done unless it already does that automatically.
  • Use an iPad web browser that is designed for privacy such as; Onion, Brave, Safari, Mozilla, or Opera.
  • Always clear your browser history before you close the browser. This is a good idea especially if you share your device with a family member or relative.
  • Modify the privacy and security settings of your browser according to your requirements. This will help you save time clearing data and deleting cookies and cache.

Browse privately in Safari on iPad

To keep your surfing activity private and to better safeguard yourself from harmful websites, you can utilise the Safari app’s Private Browsing Mode, Privacy Report, and setting adjustments.

Visit sites privately

Open private tabs with Private Browsing Mode so they don’t show up in your other devices’ tab lists or in the iPad’s History.

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Tap on the Show Sidebar button, and then tap Private.

When Private Browsing Mode is activated, Safari’s backdrop is grey and the websites you visit aren’t recorded in the iPad’s History or tab list on your other devices. The Private Tab Group allows you to open many private tabs.

Tap the Show Sidebar button, then select a different Tab Group to exit Private Browsing Mode and conceal the websites. The following time you utilise Private Browsing Mode, the tabs reappear.

View the Privacy Report

Safari aides in preventing trackers from identifying your IP address and following you across websites. To see a list of trackers that Intelligent Tracking Prevention has found and stopped on the webpage you’re currently viewing, consult the Privacy Report.

In order to keep your browsing activities hidden from other users of the same device and to better safeguard yourself from harmful websites, you may also check and modify the Safari settings.

Tap on the Page Settings button, then tap Privacy Report to view the privacy report.

How to Use a Private Browser on an iPad – Takeaway

You must understand that no browser guarantees complete privacy and security. So far, the best browser to use on your iPad that will keep your information secure is Tor. A VPN is always a secondary mode of securing your data, but it’s not always the case.

Hope this guide on How to Use a Private Browser on an iPad was helpful. You can also check out our other privacy-related articles for Android and Mac.

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