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How to Disable Private Browsing in Safari on iPhone or iPad: Quick Guide
Block or turn off Safari's private browsing feature on your iPhone
Last Updated: April 8, 2023 Fact Checked
Switching Back to Regular Browsing
Disabling private browsing permanently.
This article was co-authored by wikiHow staff writer, Kyle Smith . Kyle Smith is a wikiHow Technology Writer, learning and sharing information about the latest technology. He has presented his research at multiple engineering conferences and is the writer and editor of hundreds of online electronics repair guides. Kyle received a BS in Industrial Engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. This article has been fact-checked, ensuring the accuracy of any cited facts and confirming the authority of its sources. This article has been viewed 39,593 times. Learn more...
Trying to disable the private browsing feature in Safari on an iPhone? You can do so easily by using the built-in content restrictions settings. If you're just trying to turn off private browsing and get back to normal browsing, you can switch modes directly in the Safari app. This wikiHow guide will show you how to turn off or permanently disable Private Browsing on an iPhone or iPad.
Things You Should Know
- To turn off private browsing, open Safari, tap the tabs button, and tap Private to switch to normal browsing.
- To disable private browsing, go to Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions > Content Restrictions > Web Content.
- On the Web Content page, select "Limit Adult Websites" to disable private browsing.
- Private browsing is a great way to avoid cookies. When you switch to normal browsing, you'll need to manually delete cookies in Safari .
- This will be called Start Page if you don't have any tabs open in the normal browsing mode.
- Private mode doesn't record your browsing history. For normal browsing mode, you can delete your browsing history if needed.
- This method uses the built-in content and privacy restriction features to limit access to adult websites. This setting turns off the ability to use private browsing in Safari. Note that this will also prevent the user from accessing most websites with adult content.
- Note that this will also prevent you from accessing most websites with adult content.
- If you're trying to keep your browsing information off iCloud, you can turn off Safari iCloud syncing on your iPhone . Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
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- ↑ https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT203036
- ↑ https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201304
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Way to disable private browsing for safari on the macbook air
I am trying to find a way to disable private browsing on Safari on the new Monterey OS. Any helpful suggestion would be nice!
MacBook Air (2020 or later)
Posted on Nov 17, 2021 7:24 AM
You should be able to disable private browsing in Safari by selecting the Limit Adult Websites option in System Preferences -> Screen Time -> Content and Privacy -> Content.
Please note that this will not disable private browsing in any other web browser. That said, you can use Screen Time to prevent other browsers from opening.
Posted on Nov 17, 2021 5:54 PM
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Nov 17, 2021 5:54 PM in response to alex_swanson
Tips & Tricks
Troubleshooting, how to completely disable private browsing in ios on iphone and ipad.
Have you ever wished you could disable Private Browsing mode in Safari for iOS? Using Private Browsing mode in Safari on iPhone and iPad is simple and you can toggle in and out of it at ease at any time. But what if you don’t want Private Browsing mode to be available at all? What if you want to completely remove the Private Browsing feature in iOS so that it’s impossible to use and not merely an option in Safari? That is what this tutorial will show you; how to completely disable Private Browsing in iOS.
Let’s clarify what we’re talking about here; this is not simply turning off private browsing on a session basis, this is intended to completely disable Private Browsing as a feature so it can not be used at all on an iPhone or iPad. For the sake of being thorough however, we’ll cover both. First we’ll address how to simply turn off a Private Browsing session in iOS, and then we will show you how to disable the feature entirely.
Turning Off Private Browsing in iOS
If for whatever reason you want to just toggle Private Browsing off and leave it for a particular browsing session, rather than completely disable the feature, here’s what you do:
- Open Safari then tap the Tabs button (it looks like two overlapping squares in the corner)
- Tap on “Private” so that it is no longer highlighted to exit Private Browsing mode in iOS
With Private mode off, Safari will track cookies, history, and store cache data from websites that are visited as usual – normal behavior for any web browser. Remember, you can always delete caches, web data, and cookies from Safari in iOS separately and after the fact if need be.
But toggling in and out of Private Browsing mode is not the purpose of this article. We’re here to talk about disabling the feature entirely so that it’s not even possible to toggle on in the first place.
How to Disable Private Browsing Mode Completely on iPhone and iPad
If you want to make sure that Private Browsing Mode is completely inaccessible and unusable, you can completely disable the feature by enabling Safari Restrictions. Here’s how this works:
- Open the “Settings” app in iOS
- Go to “General” and then to “Screen Time” then choose the “Restrictions” option (older iOS versions go directly from General > Restrictions)
- Choose to Enable Restrictions and enter a passcode – do not forget this Restriction passcode!
- Now scroll down to find “Websites” and choose “Limit Adult Content” to enable a web filter in Safari, this has the side effect of completely disabling Private Browsing mode in Safari for iOS and it completely removes the Private button in Safari tabs view
- Open Safari to confirm the change if desired
You will notice the Private button is just completely missing from the Tab overview of Safari. This means nobody will be able to use Private Browsing Mode at all, the feature is just disabled as part of the Restrictions for websites.
Compared to the default Safari state where entering Private mode is optional through the button that is now missing on the iPhone or iPad:
Of course a side effect of this is that an adult content filter is also enabled, so whether or not that is important to you is going to depend on the situation. For most employers, parents, educators, and similar professions, limiting adult content is probably a desired outcome anyway, so there may not be a downside to this approach that could exist in a different home setting.
If you’ve come this far and you’re confused, then perhaps you’d like some background; Private Browsing mode in Safari allows you to visit websites and search the web without leaving cache, history, or cookies locally on the iPhone or iPad from those websites that were visited. Private Browsing mode is widely used for many reasons, but as the name implies it’s typically when a user wants a particular web browsing session to be private. Note that “private” is not the same as “anonymous”, as private browsing is not anonymous whatsoever, it just doesn’t store cookies or web data on the device, whereas a truly anonymous browsing session would leave no trace on the end-user machine as well as obscure the origin of the web browsing session, something that typically requires either a respected privacy-centric VPN setup or something like using TOR via OnionBrowser for iOS which anonymizes and obfuscates web traffic.
Do you have any other tips, thoughts, or tricks about disabling Private Browsing or similar features in iOS? Share them in the comments below!
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» Comments RSS Feed
One problem. Quick actions for iPad still has a button to open private tab.
Hold the Safari icon….it still shows up.
Such a great information. Thank you!
How to toggle in and out of private browsing in chrome?
Is there a way to completely remove it from all search engines used in an iPad or iojone?
Only a perve would not want this button disabled
Thanks, now I can see when my wife is looking up places that could help her leave me and give her a good beating. /s
Yes this is good for keeping kids safe but it’s also good for abusers to keep track of their victims.
Thank you so much for this tip
Is there any way to enable it from the phone being controlled
How do you disable it on a Mac?
If private browsing is disabled on safari does that apply to using Google or Google chrome as a browser
No, private browsing is enabled per web browser.
Chrome has Incognito Mode. Safari has Private Browsing mode, etc.
You can still hold on the tab button, and it will give you an option “New Private Tab”. How do I get rid of that?
I do not see “restrictions” in my general tab. Could AT&T have removed that option like they did the “personal hotspot” until I paid extra for it?!?
I can’t thank you enough for this great article. I did it. It’s gone. I am extremely happy 😃. I cannot tolerate the bad attitude and closed mindedness of some comments like why in the world would anyone blah blah blah. If you’re like that why be here reading this article. I have Excellent reasons why I wanted this option Gone. Back to goods: I am most appreciative of the author(s) of this information. It’s exactly what I needed and wanted. Tysm!!
If you are being illegally surveillance’s by the NSA/FEDS/etc. Their Social Engineering and other hi-tech (scary) tactics….they utilize private browsing so that every time you go to a website… they are having private browser always running in the background! They are well equipped to Cyber-BULLING TACTICS! This is just one of them..disable it..unless your iPhone or any other device is attached and cloned to anonymous other devices!
Thank you for posting this! This is not a setting my children need, it’s very important to monitor there internet use and Private Browsing makes that impossible.
Thank you so much for this! It is very helpful and just what we needed!
Like anything there is always an excuse to do everything.
I suppose there’s some control reason to do this.
But at some point I think we really need to stop protecting everyone from everything.
The article addresses multiple components of this question:
“Of course a side effect of this is that an adult content filter is also enabled, so whether or not that is important to you is going to depend on the situation. For most employers, parents, educators, and similar professions, limiting adult content is probably a desired outcome anyway, so there may not be a downside to this approach that could exist in a different home setting.”
It’s obviously not a setting for everyone or every environment, but that’s why it’s a setting :)
Why in the world would anyone want to disable private browsing? The last this thing I want to see (or be aware of) is my son’s grinder account page or my wife’s BDSM porn sites.
I agree completely – why indeed??
Getting harder and harder to justify visiting this site these days…totally pointless post.
If you have kids, or a church, or a school, or an office, or many obvious settings, you would understand exactly why you’d want to disable Private Browsing.
If you’re that bent out of shape about reading a free website with free tips, I don’t know what to tell you. See ya later? Maybe they should charge a subscription fee so the complainers will be quiet and the rest of us can enjoy learning?
What an epic reply
Why is your church keeping track of what websites you go to?
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Turn Private Browsing on or off on your iPhone
With Private Browsing, Safari won't remember the pages you visit, your search history, or your AutoFill information. Private Browsing also blocks known trackers, removes tracking used to identify individual users from URLs, and adds protections against advanced fingerprinting techniques.
How to turn on Private Browsing
While Private Browsing is on, the Safari address bar appears black or dark instead of white or gray.
- Open Safari on your iPhone.
For additional privacy, you can choose to lock Private Browsing when you're not using it. When you lock your device, your private tabs in Safari will also lock. Then, when you unlock your device again, just unlock Private Browsing with Touch ID, Face ID, or your device passcode.
Learn more about locking Private Browsing tabs
In iOS 16 or earlier
- Tap [number] Tabs or Start Page to show the Tab Groups list.
- Tap Private, then tap Done.
How to turn off Private Browsing
While Private Browsing is off, the Safari address bar appears white or gray.
- Tap Private to show the Tab Groups list.
- Tap [number] Tabs, then tap Done.
Learn how to use Private Browsing on your iPad .
Start a discussion in Apple Support Communities
How to turn off or block Safari Private Browsing on iPhone and iPad
While Private browsing is great for maintaining anonymity, children and teenagers can take undue advantage of the same. So, it’s wiser to turn off or block Safari Private Browsing on their iPhone and iPad.
Though it won’t completely stop them from browsing explicit content or unwanted websites, it would allow you to check their browsing history and correct them if needed.
How to disable Safari Private Browsing on iPhone
To temporarily exit private browsing,
- Tap the two-square icon .
- Tap Private .
To permanently exit private browsing,
How to block Safari Private Browsing on iPhone and iPad
That’s all for now!
Besides this, you can also use parental control apps on your iPhone to monitor your child’s activity or you can simply hide apps on iPhone which you don’t want your child to open them.
If you want to turn off Private Browsing for Safari on Mac, check this out.
So did you try disabling private browsing on your iPhone or iPad? If not, try it today and feel the difference. Would you wish to get more such iPhone hacks?
Recommended Hacks on Safari You Might Like!
- How to block websites in Safari on Mac
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Let us know if you face any issues while following this guide in the comment section.
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iOS 17: How to Disable Private Browsing Authentication in Safari
With iOS 17 , Apple introduced several new privacy and security features to its mobile operating system, one being the ability to require secondary authentication for Private Browsing tabs in Safari. Here's how it works and how to turn it off.
In other words, if someone gets hold of your iPhone or iPad when it is unlocked, they still won't be able to view your Private Browsing tabs without knowing your passcode.
- Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
- Scroll down and tap Safari .
- Under the "Privacy & Security" section, toggle off the switch next to Require Face ID to Unlock Private Browsing so that it's in the gray position.
In iOS 17, for the first time you can also select a different default search engine for private browsing tabs.
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Disable Incognito Mode and Private Browsing in Browsers
Ensure a transparent browsing experience by removing incognito mode in Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Microsoft Edge.
Many people use incognito mode or private browsing features in their web browsers to hide their online activity from others. However, this can also pose a challenge for parents, employers, or anyone who wants to monitor or filter the content that is accessed on their devices.
In this article, you will learn how to disable incognito mode in popular browsers such as Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari. By doing so, you can prevent users from bypassing your content filtering and traffic monitoring settings and ensure a safer and more transparent browsing experience.
Considering other privacy features like guest mode
In addition to incognito mode, we also recommend disabling other similar features that some browsers provide.
For example, some browsers, like Google Chrome, sync browser settings and browsing history to user profiles.
This means that a user can add a new profile and potentially gain access to something similar to incognito mode. Although there are better ways to monitor websites visited on your WiFi network, checking browser history is one of the easiest.
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Disable Incognito Mode on Windows
If you are using a Windows computer, you may want to disable incognito mode for different browsers such as Chrome and Microsoft Edge. The easiest way to do this is using the Command Prompt application and entering commands that customize your browsing experience.
In this section, we will show you how to disable incognito mode on Windows for each browser step by step.
How to disable incognito mode in Google Chrome on Windows 10/11
Disable guest mode:
Disable adding new user profiles:
Disable incognito mode:
Prevent user from deleting browsing history:
You also shouldn't be able to add new profiles:
Incognito mode should no longer be an available option.
How to disable private browsing in Microsoft Edge for Windows 10/11
Disable adding new profiles
Disable deleting of browser history:
Disable InPrivate Window mode:
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Elevate your content blocking and bypass prevention with DNS Filtering and Device Management.
Disable Incognito mode on Mac
If you are using a Mac computer like a Macbook, you can disable incognito mode for popular browsers like Google Chrome, Safari, and Microsoft Edge. The fastest way to do this is using the Terminal application and entering commands that customize your browsing experience.
In this section, we will show you how to disable incognito mode on MacOS for each browser step by step.
How to disable incognito mode in Google Chrome for MacOS
Disable Incognito mode:
Prevent deleting browsing history:
When you open the "who's using Chrome" window, it shouldn't allow you to enter guest mode or add new profiles:
You also should not be able to open an incognito window or delete browsing history.
How to Disable Private Browsing in Safari
It's not possible to disable Apple's Safari browser private browsing features using Terminal like we did for Google Chrome and Edge.
Instead, there are two approaches to disabling private browsing in Safari:
- Enable Screen Time parental controls to block adult content . This will remove the private browsing option in Safari.
- Disable Safari entirely and use Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge with their private browsing features disabled.
Screenshots below are for iPhone screen time
Disable InPrivate Browsing in Microsoft Edge on MacOS
Disable InPrivate mode:
Prevent deleting browsing history
Disable Browser Privacy features on Managed Mac
If you have set up a managed MacOS device External link icon , you can enforce disabling these privacy features so that a user cannot re-enable them.
Disable Incognito mode in Google Chrome on a managed Mac
On a managed Mac device, it is much easier to enforce browser settings using a device manager. A good example of a device manager is iMazing, which allows you to custom-configure a device.
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Disable Browser Privacy Features in Microsoft Edge on a Managed Mac
Here's how to configure Microsoft Edge with iMazing.
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