Apple made several changes to Safari in iOS 15, and among them was the way iPhone users can enable private browsing. Understandably, people were confused when the ability to switch to a private tab apparently disappeared in their browsers. The good news is that private browsing is still easily accessible in Safari, although the option is even more hidden now than it once was in iOS 14. A private or incognito tab allows users to browse the internet without saving their browsing history. It also prevents the browser from saving fillable fields and is a useful feature for hiding search history on a shared device.
With iOS 15, Apple has completely redesigned its Safari browser. The most significant design change was the address/search bar, which was moved from its usual place at the top of a tab to the bottom. Fortunately, Apple offers the ability to revert back to the old design via the settings menu. In addition, Safari also received new features such as customizable tab groups and the ability to swipe between tabs. Unfortunately for Apple, the iOS 15 release was also full of bugs. Safari in particular was susceptible to a major security vulnerability that allowed hackers to view users’ browsing history through the browser’s IndexedDB API. This issue was quickly fixed with the release of iOS 15.3.
Related: How to Customize Safari New Tab Home on iPhone
On iPhones running iOS 15, there are two ways to enable private browsing in Safari. The easiest way to open a new private tab is by long-pressing the Tabs button (two overlapping square icons) located at the far right of the address bar. In the pop-up that appears, click on “New Private Tab.” An alternative way to open a private tab is to tap the Tabs button once. On the button that says “1 tab”, click to expand the view, tap “Private” and then “Done”.
When Private Browsing is enabled in Safari, the color of the address/search bar changes to let users know they are in Incognito mode. If an iPhone has light mode enabled, the address bar in a private tab will change from white to gray. On the other hand, if using dark mode, the address bar changes from gray to black. According to Apple, in Private Browsing Mode, Safari will not remember the pages visited, search history, or even any autocomplete information after the tab. Apple also does not keep cross-site tracking statistics in this mode, which adds another security layer to Safari’s existing anti-tracking protection.
While private browsing on an iPhone running iOS 15, clicking the Tabs button displays all open private tabs at once. After that, users can tap the “x” icon on each tab to close the ones they no longer need manually with a long press.” Done” brings the option to close all open private tabs at once.