Understanding Safari for iOS’s Settings

If you use Safari on your iPhone or iPad, then there are quite a few settings you can adjust to make the experience more suited to you liking. Today, we will show you how to adjust your Safari settings on your iOS device.

Safari on iOS has quite a few settings you will want to peruse. Many of these may never need adjusting, but it is still nice to know what they all do in case you ever need to change anything.

Today we want to go through each of Safari’s settings on iOS and explain briefly what they all do. Hopefully by the time we’re done, you’ll have a more complete understanding of them.

Search Settings

The first thing you will need to do is tap open the Settings on your iPhone or iPad and then tap “Safari”. The topmost Safari setting you will see are the Search settings.

The Search settings deal primarily with what search results are presented and how.

At the top is the “Search Engine” setting. By default, it is set to use Google, but you can change it to Yahoo, Bing, or DuckDuckGo.

Next, you can turn off any search engine suggestions you might see, which means you won’t see suggestions as you type in search terms. Also, if you don’t want Safari to make website suggestions, then turn off the Safari Suggestions feature.

The Quick Website Search option will display the top website suggestion as you type, and if you leave “Preload Top Hit” enabled, then Safari will automatically preload the first result in your search suggestions.

General Settings

Let’s next take a look at the General settings. The first option at the very top is “Passwords”. We’ve explained in the past how to use the passwords manager on Safari for iOS, so we suggest looking to that article if you want more information.

In the AutoFill settings, you can have Safari automatically fill in forms with your personal information, which you can edit by tapping on “My Info”.

You also have the option of automatically using a saved credit card, such as the one you might use for Apple Pay.

Looking through the General options further, you can choose whether you want frequently visited sites to appear on a new tab page.

Under the favorites option, you can choose which folder appears when you access your favorites.

If you have another Favorites folder you want to set as your default, you can change it here.

Finally, rounding out the General settings, there is an option to open links in a new tab or in the background. The last option, which you will most likely want to leave enabled, is to block pop-ups.

Privacy & Security

We next find ourselves on the Privacy & Security options. These are fairly simple and should be pretty easy to explain. The first item is the “Do Not Track” option, which means that websites with tracking cookies will be limited in how much they can track your browsing habits.

Under the “Block Cookies” options, you can decide how strict your cookies policy is. By default, it is set to “Allow from Websites I Visit”, which is probably the highest you want to go if you want to retain a vast majority of functionality as you surf the Internet.

Most website use cookies, so if you turn them off, your browsing experience is probably going to be less than ideal.

The “Fraudulent Website Warning” will pop up when Safari suspects you’ve encountered a phishing website, so you definitely want to leave that enabled.

Finally, if you want to clear out your history, cookies, and other browsing data, then that option is available under “Clear History and Website Data” at the very bottom of the list.

If you want more information on this last option, we suggest you read our article, which will explain it in more detail.

Reading List

The Reading List option is pretty easy to understand. Normally, if you want to save items to read later, you can shoot them over to your Reading List, which means they’ll be saved for later offline reading.

The Reading List is great, especially if you want to read stuff later on a plane and you don’t have a mobile connection.

If you don’t want to do this using your cellular data, such as if you have a data cap, then you can turn this option off.

Advanced Options

Finally, let’s end today’s discussion by talking about the Advanced options. For the most part, you’re never going to need to adjust these and it’s unlikely you’ll ever want to turn off JavaScript because it will break a great deal of websites.

This advanced stuff is probably never going to come into play but it’s good to know it exists.

The Website Data option will allow you to see how much data websites store on your device and if desired, clear it. This is no different from the “Clear History and Data” option described earlier except here you only clear website data, leaving your history intact.

That’s it for Safari’s settings on iOS. As you can see, there’s quite a bit to them but for the most part, you can probably leave the majority of them as their defaults and you will be just fine.

If you have any questions or comments you would care to add, please leave your feedback in our discussion forum.

Matt Klein is an aspiring Florida beach bum, displaced honorary Texan, and dyed-in-wool Ohio State Buckeye, who fancies himself a nerd-of-all-trades. His favorite topics might include operating systems, BBQ, roller skating, and trying to figure out how to explain quantum computers.