12 Awesome Safari Features You Should Use on iPhone

Fellow Neko/Shutterstock.com

Apple’s mobile browser is packed with features. They make it easier 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.

iCloud Private Relay

Apple launched the 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 a level of iCloud (known as an iCloud+ plan) or if you use Apple One.

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

Enable Private Relay in iCloud+ Settings

The idea is that neither Apple nor the third party can connect the dots and know who visits a specific website. The service has had its hiccups unclear error messages, unplanned downtimeand some carriers dislike the service. But it mostly works as advertised, so it’s worth enabling if you’re concerned about privacy.

Enable (or disable) iCloud Private Relay by launching the Settings app and tapping your name at the top of the screen. From here, navigate 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 arrival of iOS 15. This allows you to vastly expand the capabilities of Apple’s browser with third-party add-ons, although you’ll have to go through Apple’s channels to do so.

You can find Safari extensions in the App Store. Launch the App Store app, then tap “Apps” at the bottom of the screen. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and find the “Safari Extensions” category under Top Categories (tap “See All” if it’s not visible). From here you can install extensions just like any other app.

Home.ai for Safari

Many apps are bundled with Safari extensions (as are 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) plus regular extensions that extend the browser’s core functionality.

We’ve put together a list of our favorite Safari for iPhone and iPad extensions, which let you, for example, enable picture-in-picture video everywhere, disable Google AMP web pages, and add dark mode to websites that don’t explicitly support it . the.

Advanced privacy features

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

You can enable “Prevent cross-site tracking” to prevent advertisers and their cookies from tracking you across the web. This theoretically prevents advertisers from building a profile of you based on the websites you visit. Safari was the first mainstream browser to block third-party cookies by default.

Safari privacy settings on iPhone

You can also enable “Hide IP address” if you use iCloud Private Relay to prevent both trackers and websites from seeing this information. This feature attempts to thwart advertisers’ attempts to profile you based on your IP address.

You can also disable “Privacy Preserving Ad Measurement” (enabled by default) to further restrict tracking. While the feature may sound like something you should leave on, it’s a way to share information about your interactions with advertisers in a “private” way.

RELATED: Optimize Safari for maximum privacy

Reader mode

You can enable Reader mode on most websites by pressing and holding the “AA” button to the left of a website URL in Safari’s address bar. You can also tap this button and then choose “Show Reader” if you prefer to do it in two taps. When you do this, Safari removes everything but the web page’s content and presents it to you in a resizable format.

Enable Reader with "AA" knob

This is great for several reasons. For starters, it eliminates annoying ads (including those that refresh as you try to read, moving content up and down the page). It also removes formatting or website styles that can make reading more difficult, such as odd font choices and distracting colors.

You can customize Reader by tapping the “AA” icon in the URL bar and choosing a font, background color and text size using the small and large “A” buttons. To exit Reader, choose “Hide Reader” from this menu or long press the “AA” button again. By choosing a dark background, you can read websites in the dark without being dazzled, a must-have if you read in bed late at night.

Reader mode in Safari for iPhone

It’s both an accessibility feature and a convenience, and Safari remembers your Reader settings until the next time you use it.

The “Website Settings” menu.

If you tap the “AA” button in the URL bar of the website (while visiting a website), you will see the “Website Settings” option. Tap it and you can force Reader every time using “Automatically use Reader” or always request the desktop version of a website using the “Request Desktop Website” toggle.

These are useful if you always use Reader (to avoid annoying ads) or avoid a certain mobile website due to its limited functionality. Reader should start only on pages that make sense, so for example the homepage of a website that has no content outside of the headlines should work normally, while tapping through to an article activates Reader mode for you.

Website settings for Safari on iOS

You can also prevent all camera, microphone, and location access prompts by always allowing or outright denying a particular website access to these permissions. Safari remembers your settings for each website. To change these settings, go to Settings > Safari and scroll down to the “Settings for websites” section.

RELATED: Control which websites can access your location in Safari

Read list

Sometimes you visit a website or get a link to an interesting article that you simply don’t have time for at the moment. It could even be a product website you want to explore, or a video hosted somewhere online. This is where the reading list comes in, allowing you to save websites for later.

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

Use Safari's Reading List to save web pages for later

You’ll find all of these links accessible in Safari by tapping the “Bookmarks” button in the bar at the bottom of the screen, then tapping the Reading List tab (it looks like glasses). If you have a Mac or an iPad, your Reading List syncs across devices.

Tab groups (and shortcuts)

Keeping tabs organized can be a real pain if you don’t use Safari’s grouping features. Allows you to create labeled groups for tabs so you can open and close browser sessions on demand.

Tab view button on Safari for iOS

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

Go to the iPhone tab group

Now you can create a new empty tab group or create a new tab group with all open tabs. Your main browsing session is at the top of this list, just above the “Private” label. Add a tab to a group by long-pressing the tab view button in the bottom right corner of Safari. You can also mass move tabs into a new or existing tab group.

Private Browsing (and Shortcuts)

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

New private tab shortcut in Safari for iOS

You can access a private browsing session from the tab view button in the bottom right corner of Safari. You can also quickly switch to and from your “Private” session by long pressing this button. Tap and hold Safari from your home screen, then choose “New Private Tab” to go directly to a new tab in your “Private” session.

RELATED: Use Safari Private Browsing on an iPhone or iPad

Web Apps “Add to Home Screen”.

Do you use websites like a web app? Some services, such as Xbox Cloud Gaming, need to be launched in a browser window, and Safari’s “Add to Home” option offers the most elegant method of doing this. Many websites function as if they were standalone apps, taking their place in the iPhone’s multitasker and lacking the Safari user interface.

Add to home screen functionality in Safari for iOS

Others work as simple bookmarks you can launch from your home screen, which may not be to everyone’s taste, but can still be useful.

RELATED: Add a website to your iPhone or iPad home screen

Autofill and Apple Pay

You can speed up your checkout process by configuring your AutoFill settings under Settings > Safari > AutoFill. Here you can nominate your personal contact in your address book to retrieve information such as your address and other contact details, making it easier to complete purchases.

You can also use this menu to save your credit card information via the “Saved credit cards” option. Here you can add a new card and delete old cards that may have expired or been cancelled.

Add credit card to Safari on iPhone

Finally, there’s Apple Pay that will appear on supported websites. This allows you to checkout in record time and you can nominate a delivery address, shipping option and contact details from one clear pop-up window. Go to Settings > Wallet & Apple Pay to add your card and get started.

RELATED: View saved credit card numbers in Safari on iPhone and iPad

And finally… DuckDuckGo

The ability to change your default search engine may not seem like a knockout feature, but there are all sorts of reasons to switch to DuckDuckGo. Not only does the search engine respect your privacy much more than Google does, but it also lets you use “bangs” to limit your search to certain services (or even jump straight to Google if you need to).

Change Safari Search Engine on iPhone

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

More Safari tips

Safari is packed with features that can make your life easier. With an iPhone or iPad running a modern version of Safari, you can download files, force your browser to ignore apps, save and open passwords, and block pop-ups.

Add Comment