HomeMobileSafari in iOS 17 features incognito private browsing to better hide searches

It’s been a week since iOS 17 was released, but even the most careful observers failed to notice this new Safari web browser feature.

Speaking during the Google antitrust trial in the United States last week, an Apple executive revealed a new iOS 17 feature that allows users to choose a default search engine while in Private Browsing Mode.

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The news comes from a source Bloomberg report Apple executive John Giannandrea, once of Google, is quoted as explaining that there is “a second setting that allows you to choose between two different engines.”

While you can always set a search provider in Safari, this tweak allows iOS 17 users to set a different search provider in Private Browsing mode.

Users can go to Settings > Safari and select Custom Search Engine to choose browsing options. The current setting matches your default search engine, but you can specify Google, Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckGo, and Ecosia.

This feature can come in handy if you’re looking for an extra layer of privacy in your private browsing.

Apple hasn’t yet acknowledged why it added this feature, but there are obvious potential reasons. For example, you may feel more comfortable using DuckDuckGo in private mode, but want the power of Google for your main searches.

Private Browsing Mode in Safari in iOS 17 has already been boosted significantly due to the tabs being placed behind a Face ID shield.

Apple also has a long-standing Private Transfer feature that is part of an iCloud+ subscription. It ensures that no third party can see both your location and the sites you visit. This prevents advertisers and others from building a picture of your location and browsing history.

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