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Accessing Private Browsing History On Safari [Here’s How?]

A big incognito mode
Incognito mode

You can check someone’s private browsing history in Safari by looking for open tabs, checking the data usage of websites in the Safari history, using iCloud backups, examining bookmarks, or utilizing third-party apps.

Safari is a widely used web browser that comes pre-installed on Apple devices. It offers unique features not found in Chrome or other browsers, such as iCloud browsing and Reader View.

Safari places a strong emphasis on user privacy and provides a seamless and smooth searching experience.

What Does Private Browsing On Safari Mean?

Private browsing, as the name suggests, allows you to browse the internet in a way that keeps your online activities private and leaves no traces behind.

It might sound familiar to you, like something you’ve heard of before. Let me jog your memory – ever heard of “Incognito mode“? Well, private browsing in Safari is similar to Google Chrome’s incognito mode.

Both these features are designed with user convenience in mind because privacy is a crucial part of your online experience.

Safari and Google have carefully analyzed user needs and concluded that private browsing is something users really appreciate. When you enable this mode, everything you do stays completely private.

Only you know what you did while using it, and no one else will ever find out. It’s all about maximizing your privacy.

To activate private mode, follow these simple steps:

  1. Open Safari.
  2. Look for the double tabs icon on the lower right-hand side.
  3. Tap the down arrow to access the menu, where you can see your tabs and the group tab list.
  4. Select “Private” from there.
  5. You’ll notice that the search engine’s color changes, and you’ll receive a brief explanation of how this mode works.
  6. To start searching for things privately, just tap the plus icon in the bottom left corner.

What Information Remains Private And What Doesn’t In Private Safari Browsing?

"Private" written on sticky notes placed over a diary
Private

The title might seem a bit unusual at first, right? When we hear “Private browsing,” we naturally think it will keep everything we do online completely secret, and no one will ever know about it. However, that’s not entirely accurate; it’s a bit of a myth that some people like to believe.

In reality, private browsing does indeed keep many things private, but not everything. If you’re curious about what it does and doesn’t keep private, take a look at the table below:

KEEPS PRIVATEDOESN’T KEEP PRIVATE
When you use private browsing, it doesn’t remember any of the websites you visit or what you do during that session. Not even a tiny bit of that history is accidentally left behind. Everything gets wiped clean as soon as you stop using private mode.Private browsing doesn’t hide your bookmarked items and downloaded files. Instead, this data remains on your device, and anyone with access to your device can see it, even after you’ve stopped using private mode.
If you log in somewhere or enter your details, like account credentials or credit card information, none of that information will be saved by the browser. This means you can’t use autofill with it the next time you visit those websites.It also doesn’t conceal your IP address when you’re using private browsing. This means that your internet service provider or the service provider of any network you use while in private mode can access your private browsing history. They can see all your online activities by tracking them through your IP address.
Websites are also prevented from adding tracking cookies when you’re in private mode. These cookies, which track your online behavior, aren’t stored, and when you stop using private mode, the cookies are gone with it.Some websites you visit during private browsing can easily track your actions and know what you’re doing. There’s no way to prevent these websites from looking into your activities while you’re in private mode.
Any extra information you provide to websites or any actions you take on online apps isn’t tracked or stored. This way, all your information remains safe and private. It’s gone for good after you disable private mode.Private browsing doesn’t make you completely anonymous online. People can still see when you’re online and what you’re doing. So it’s essential to remain cautious about your online actions even when using private mode.
Information that remains private and that doesn’t while using the Private Safari Browsing

How To View Private Browsing History In Safari?

A magnifying glass over a thumb print with "Identifying" written at the center.
Identifying

It’s important to understand that accessing your browsing history in private mode on Safari isn’t as straightforward as it is in regular browsing. However, I’ve found some factors that can give you a general idea of how it works. Let’s dive into them:

See If The Tabs Are Open

You can tell if someone has private browsing tabs open, but it’s not a foolproof method.

If you happen to check at the right moment before the person using private mode closes their tabs or switches back to regular Safari, you might catch a glimpse of what they’ve searched for on those private tabs.

You can also use the back icon or swipe right on the screen to see the previous searches step by step until you reach the first search they made after enabling private mode. However, this method is not guaranteed to reveal their entire browsing history, just bits and pieces of it.

Go Through Safari History

You can find out which apps someone is using in private mode through Safari’s website data history. It might sound a bit surprising, but let me explain how it works.

This method works best if the device you want to check is primarily used by you, as you can make comparisons with the website data.

Here’s how to access this website data:

  1. Go to your device settings.
  2. Scroll down until you find “Safari” and tap on it.
  3. Near the bottom of the screen, you’ll see an option called “Advanced.” Tap on it.
  4. From there, you can access the website data.

Once you click on it, you’ll see a list of all the websites used on Safari, along with the amount of data they’ve consumed. You can use this information to estimate which additional websites were visited in private mode compared to the ones you normally use.

It helps you gauge if there’s been an increase in usage when you’re certain that no one else used those websites in regular Safari mode.

However, keep in mind that this is just an estimated idea and may not be entirely accurate.

iCloud backup

If your iCloud is regularly backed up, you can retrieve not only the regular Safari history but also the deleted one from your private browsing history. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Go to your device’s settings.
  2. Navigate to the “General” section.
  3. Find the “Reset” option and tap on it.
  4. A pop-up window will appear, asking for your password to confirm this action.
  5. After your phone is reset, it will restart, and you’ll need to set it up again.
  6. During the setup process, choose “Restore from your iCloud backup.”
  7. Select the relevant option that will grant you access to the deleted browsing history.
  8. This process will effortlessly provide you with the browsing history you’re looking for.

See Bookmarks

You can also use bookmarks to figure things out. Remember, any saved bookmarks, even from private browsing, show up in the bookmark section.

Therefore, if you notice additional bookmarks that you didn’t save, it might indicate that someone has used private browsing, as the browsing history won’t be there to confirm it.

Use Third-Party Applications

Certainly, third-party applications can be quite useful in such situations, making it effortless to find out about someone’s private browsing history. Here are some different apps or software options you can consider:

  1. Keylogger: This tool tracks everything you’ve typed on your keyboard. Thus, indirectly providing insights into private browsing history with accuracy.
  2. KidsGuard Pro: To use this, you’ll either need physical access to the phone you’re monitoring or iCloud access. It helps you uncover your private browsing history.
  3. SQ Lite: Another app that serves this purpose. It reveals the URLs of the websites you accessed while using private browsing on Safari.

These apps can be handy if you need to uncover someone’s private browsing history. However, always use them responsibly and in accordance with the law and ethical guidelines.

How to track private browsing history on iPhone

Do Private Safari Browsing Tabs Close Automatically When You Exit Safari?

A woman holding an uneven piece of paper that says "No!"
NO

If you’re using Safari’s private browsing mode, you might wonder if it automatically closes when you exit Safari.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t. You’ll need to manually close the private mode yourself. It doesn’t happen automatically when you leave Safari.

How To Disable Private Browsing In Safari?

Neon sign saying "you can't" on a black background
You can’t

I understand that you may have your reasons for wanting to disable this mode. While it has its advantages, it also has its drawbacks. Especially when it comes to children who might not always use it responsibly.

However, I must inform you that there isn’t a direct way to disable this option. Nevertheless, you can adjust the web content settings to restrict access to certain websites that you don’t want someone to view.

Final Thoughts

  • Private browsing on Safari means surfing the web without leaving a trail of your online activities.
  • In private mode, some information is kept private, while others are not.
  • To view private browsing history, you can check open tabs, data usage, iCloud backups, bookmarks, or use third-party apps.
  • Private tabs don’t close automatically when you exit Safari.
  • You cannot entirely disable private browsing on Safari. However, you can adjust web content settings.

What’s Next

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