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12 Great Safari Features You Should Use on iPhone

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Apple’s mobile browser is packed with features. They make it easy to follow and read online content, protect your privacy, and keep things organized. Here is a list of the best features that all iPhone owners should know about.

Private iCloud relay

Apple launched iCloud Private Relay beta in 2021 as a way to anonymize web traffic in the Safari browser. You can use iCloud Private Relay if you pay for any iCloud tier (known as an iCloud+ subscription) or use an Apple One.

Private Relay is not a VPN, and you cannot use VPN and iCloud Private Relay at the same time. The service works by sending web requests through two hops: the first (managed by Apple) can see your IP address but encrypts your query and DNS records, and the second (managed by a third party) assigns a random IP address and decrypts your website. request.

Enable Private Relay in iCloud+ Settings

The idea is that neither Apple nor a third party can connect the dots and find out who is visiting a particular website. The service had crashes due to obscure error messages, unplanned downtime, and some carriers not liking the service. But most of the time it works as advertised, so it’s worth turning it on if you’re concerned about privacy.

Turn on iCloud Private Relay (or turn it off) by launching the Settings app and tapping your name at the top of the screen. From here, go to iCloud > iCloud Private Relay and enable the service.

RELATED: How to use iCloud+ Private Relay

Safari extensions

Safari gained the ability to use extensions with the introduction of iOS 15. This allows you to greatly enhance the experience of Apple’s browser with third-party add-ons, although you’ll need to go through Apple’s channels to do so.

You can find extensions for Safari in the App Store. Launch the App Store app, then tap Apps at the bottom of the screen. Scroll down the page and look for the Safari Extensions category under Top Categories (click See All if it doesn’t appear). From here, you can install extensions just like you would any other app.

Startpage.ai for Safari

Many apps are linked to Safari extensions (just like Apple Watch apps and home screen widgets). You can enable or disable them under Settings > Safari > Extensions. This includes content blockers (for blocking online ads and trackers), as well as regular extensions that extend the basic functionality of the browser.

We’ve compiled a list of our favorite Safari extensions for iPhone and iPad that let you do things like enable picture-in-picture video anywhere, disable Google AMP webpages, and add dark mode to websites that obviously don’t support It.

Advanced privacy features

Safari has a few privacy settings that you may already have turned on, but it’s worth checking if they’re turned on if you’re concerned about online privacy. Go to Settings > Safari and scroll down to the Privacy & Security section.

You can enable “Prevent Cross Site Tracking” to prevent advertisers and their cookies from tracking you online. In theory, this prevents advertisers from building your profile based on the websites you visit. Safari was the first popular browser to block third-party cookies by default.

Safari privacy settings on iPhone

You can also enable “Hide IP Address” if you’re using iCloud Private Relay to prevent trackers or websites from seeing this information. This feature attempts to prevent advertisers from creating your profile based on your IP address.

You can also turn off “Ad Privacy Measurement” (which is enabled by default) to further restrict tracking. While this feature may seem like something you should leave out, it is a way to share information with advertisers about your interactions in a “private” way.

RELATED: How to Optimize Safari for Maximum Privacy

Reading mode

You can turn on Reader View on most websites by long-pressing the “AA” button to the left of the website’s URL in Safari’s address bar. You can also click this button and then choose “Show Reader” if you’d rather do it in two clicks. When you do this, Safari will remove everything but the content on the web page and present it to you in a custom format.

Enable Reader with "AA" button

This is great for several reasons. First, it eliminates annoying advertisements (including those that update when you try to read by moving content up and down the page). It also removes website formatting or styles that can make reading difficult, such as fuzzy font choices and distracting colors.

You can customize Reader by clicking the “AA” icon in the address bar and selecting the font, background color, and text size using the small and large “A” buttons. To exit Reader, select “Hide Reader” from this menu, or press and hold the “AA” button again. By choosing a dark background, you can read websites in the dark without dazzling yourself, which is essential for reading late at night in bed.

Reading View in Safari for iPhone

It’s not just about convenience, it’s also about accessibility, and Safari will remember your Reader preferences until you use it next time.

Site Settings Menu

If you click on the “AA” button in the address bar of a website (while visiting the website), you will see the “Website Settings” option. Click on it and you can force Reader to be used every time using “Use Reader Automatically” or always request the desktop version of the website using the “Request Website for Desktop” toggle.

This is useful if you use Reader constantly (to get around annoying ads) or if you avoid a particular mobile website due to its limited functionality. Reader must Only include pages that make sense, so for example a website homepage that has no content other than headings should work as normal, and clicking on an article will bring up reading mode for you.

Website Settings for Safari on iOS

You can also preempt any camera, microphone, and location access requests by always allowing or completely denying access to these permissions for a specific website. Safari will remember your settings for each website. To make changes to these settings, go to Settings > Safari and scroll down to the Settings for Websites section.

RELATED: How to check which sites can access your location in Safari

Reading List

Sometimes you may visit a website or get a link to an interesting article that you just don’t have time to read right now. It could even be a website for a product you want to explore, or a video hosted somewhere on the internet. This is where the reading list comes in, allowing you to save websites for later.

You can access the “Add to Reading List” option via long-press pop-up menus when you hold your finger on a link. This can be in Safari on a web page, in the Messages window, and through the Share sheet in apps like Twitter. You can also use the Share button in Safari to access this option when a web page is open.

Use the Safari Reading List to Save Web Pages for Later

You’ll find all of these links available in Safari by clicking the Bookmarks button in the bar at the bottom of the screen, and then clicking the Reading List tab (it looks like glasses). If you have a Mac or iPad, your reading list will sync across devices.

Tab groups (and labels)

Tab ordering can be a real hurdle if you don’t use Safari’s grouping features. This allows you to create flagged tab groups so you can revoke and close browsing sessions on demand.

Tab View button in Safari for iOS

To set up your groups, launch Safari, then click the tab view button at the bottom right of your screen to display all of your tabs. From here, click on the shortcut at the bottom of the screen, it will say something like “10 tabs” (depending on how many you have open).

Go to iPhone tab group

You can now create a new empty tab group or create a new tab group with all open tabs. Your primary browsing session can be found at the top of this list, just above the “Private” label. Add a tab to a group by pressing and holding the tab view button in the bottom right corner of Safari. You can also bulk move tabs to a new or existing tab group.

Private browsing (and shortcuts)

Private browsing has many uses, the most obvious of which is that you leave no trace of the websites you have visited in your history, cookies, or website data. But this feature is also useful for starting new sessions with websites that may have made up your profile, such as when you’re limited to five free articles on a news website and have reached your limit.

New Private Tab Shortcut in Safari for iOS

You can access a private browsing session using the tab browsing button in the bottom right corner of Safari. You can also quickly switch to and from a Private session by pressing and holding this button. From the home screen, press and hold Safari, then select “New Private Tab” to immediately jump to a new tab in your “Private” session.

RELATED: How to Use Safari Private Browsing on iPhone or iPad

Add to Home Screen Web Apps

Are you using any websites like web application? Some services, such as Xbox Cloud Gaming, need to run in a browser window, and Safari’s “Add to Home” option provides the most elegant way to do this. Many websites function as if they were standalone apps that take up a slot in the iPhone’s multitasking mode and lack the Safari user interface.

Add to Home Screen feature in Safari for iOS

Others work like simple bookmarks that you can launch from your home screen, which may not be to everyone’s taste, but can be handy nonetheless.

RELATED: How to add a website to your iPhone or iPad home screen

Autofill and Apple Pay

You can speed up the checkout process by adjusting your autofill options in Settings > Safari > Autofill. Here you can put your personal contact in your address book to get information such as your address and other contact details, making shopping easier.

You can also use this menu to save your credit card information using the Saved Credit Cards option. Here you can add a new card, as well as get rid of any old ones that have expired or been cancelled.

Add Credit Card to Safari on iPhone

Finally, there is Apple Pay, which will appear on supported websites. It allows you to checkout in record time by allowing you to specify your shipping address, shipping option, and contact information in one neat pop-up window. Go to Settings > Wallet & Apple Pay to add your card and get started.

RELATED: How to View Saved Credit Card Numbers in Safari on iPhone and iPad

And finally… DuckDuckGo

Being able to change your default search engine may not sound like such a great feature, but there are plenty of reasons to switch to DuckDuckGo. Not only does the search engine respect your privacy far more than Google does, it also allows you to use the notch to restrict your search to certain services (or even go straight to Google if you need to).

Change Safari Search Engine on iPhone

You can change your iPhone’s default search engine to DuckDuckGo in Settings > Safari > Search Engine.

More Safari Tips

Safari contains many features that can make your life easier. On an iPhone or iPad with a modern version of Safari, you can download files, force the browser to ignore apps, store and access passwords, and block pop-ups.


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