Sometimes you want to visit a website without leaving a trace on your iPhone or iPad. Fortunately, Safari includes an incognito mode just for this purpose. Here is how to use it.
What is private browsing mode?
When you use incognito mode on your iPhone or iPad, Safari does not save your browsing history, autofill form information, changes to cookies, and recent searches when you close each incognito window.
However, private browsing mode does not protect your browsing history from your network host (such as your business or school), your ISP, or websites that might use your IP address to track you around sites.
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How to use private browsing mode on iPhone
First, open Safari. If you don’t see the toolbar at the bottom of the screen, tap once to reveal it. Then press the “New window” button. It looks like two overlapping squares.
You will see a window management screen with a list of thumbnails representing all the open windows of your browser. On this screen, press the “Private” button in the lower left corner.
Private browsing mode is now activated. Tap the plus (+) button at the bottom of the screen to open a new private window.
From there, you can type the address of your choice in the bar at the top or browse by tapping on your favorites. In private mode, you can use Safari as usual, but it won’t keep a local record of what you do.
When you are done and want to exit private browsing mode, tap the “New Window” button again and then tap the “Private” button in the lower left corner. You will come back to non-private mode.
Keep in mind that going back doesn’t close your incognito windows. To get rid of your incognito windows, you will need to re-enable incognito mode and click the “X” in the upper left corner of each window thumbnail until they all disappear.
How to use incognito mode on iPad
Private browsing on the iPad works the same as it does on the iPhone, but the buttons that activate it are in different places on the screen. To enable private browsing, first launch Safari. If you don’t see the toolbar at the top of the screen, tap anywhere to reveal it. Then press the “New Window” button in the upper right corner.
On the Safari window management screen, tap the “Private” button in the upper right corner.
Once the private mode is activated, press the plus (+) button in the toolbar to add a new window. From there you can use Safari as usual.
If you want to quit private browsing on an iPad, tap the new button window (the two overlapping rectangles) again and tap “Private.”
But be careful: if you just exit private mode, Safari will keep your private windows open in the background until you launch private browsing mode again. If you want to get rid of all your incognito windows, go back to private mode, hit the New Window button, and close each window with the little “X” in the corner of each thumbnail. Good navigation!