How to Check Private Browsing History on iPhone
It is now established that everything we do online can be traced back to us or our devices to some degree. Almost every website and service uses some form of tracker to get a sense of your web activity. While you may not be concerned about what kind of data is collected while browsing for general purposes, you may need to protect your identity, data or IP address when it comes to something worse.
This is where private browsing comes in because it allows users to stay anonymous online, avoid website trackers, and protect themselves from malicious websites. Like many web browsers, Apple’s native Safari browser also offers an incognito mode that lets you browse the web without worrying about your activity being tracked by websites you visit or recorded on your iPhone.
But what happens to your browsing history? Can you check it after a private browsing session on Safari and can you access all your tabs again from a private session? This is what we are going to talk about in this post.
Related: How to Disable Private Browsing Mode in Safari on iPhone
How to Enable Private Browsing on an iPhone
Starting a private browsing session on iOS 15 is easy. Open the Safari app on your iPhone and press the Tabs icon in the lower right corner.
When the tab preview screen appears, tap the ‘x’ tabs section or Home Page basically.
You will now see the tab groups appear from the bottom. Here select Private.
You will now enter private browsing mode in Safari. You can start browsing the web privately by tapping the + icon in the lower left corner which will open a tab with your default start page.
An easier way to enable Private Browsing is to long-press the Tabs icon from anywhere in Safari, then selecting the New private tab overflow menu option.
Can you view history when browsing privately on iOS?
No. As is the case with any web browser, the purpose of private browsing is not only to protect your identity and activity from malicious websites, but also to hide your activity after you end a private session. .
When you check your browsing history by tapping the Bookmark icon at the bottom of the Safari screen, you’ll only see a list of all the websites you’ve visited when browsing normally (not when private browsing is on ).
This way, you won’t be able to see your browsing history when using Safari with private browsing mode enabled.
Does Safari delete private tabs after closing?
Contrary to what you’d expect, when you close the app, Safari doesn’t entirely close your “Private” tabs like Google Chrome or Brave. When you close the Safari app on your iPhone by swiping it up from the recent apps screen, any tabs that were open in Safari will remain in memory and reappear when you open Safari in the future.
This applies to normal and private browsing sessions on Safari. This way, all tabs that were previously open in the Private tab group will reappear on your screen when you switch to Private from other tabs.
While this is great for getting you back on track with what you may have been through in normal (non-private) sessions, things can get quite awkward when you switch to the Private tab group. This can be worrying for those of you who tend to forget what you were browsing.
Another thing to note here is that unlike other browsers, closing the Safari app on iOS with private mode active does not open the app’s start page. Instead, Safari reloads any tabs that were previously open in the private window. This can be quite annoying for those of you who forget to regularly exit private mode and directly close the Safari app. It is therefore important that you close your private tabs and switch to non-private mode when you are done browsing the web anonymously.
So while you can’t check browsing history when using incognito mode on Safari, you can still have access to all tabs that were open in a session as long as it isn’t closed manually. .
How to Access Your Private Tabs Again After Closing Safari
Since all tabs that were open in a Private tab group on Safari do not disappear when you close Safari, you can easily access them by simply opening the Safari app on your iPhone. This would work if you forced Safari from the recent apps screen directly from private mode, as any tabs that were previously open will reappear in the same order.
If you left the private tab group when you closed Safari, you can access it again by following the same steps as when you turned on private browsing mode.
When you select Private In the tab groups pop-up screen, you should be able to see all the tabs that were open during your last session. You can then tab to any of the tabs you want to open.
An easier way to access your private tabs is to long-press the Tabs icon in Safari, then selecting the Private overflow menu option.
If you (others) don’t want to see which tabs were open in private mode on Safari, you can see the post below to disable it in Safari on your iPhone.
▶ How to Disable Private Browsing Mode in Safari on iPhone
If you want to boost your privacy while browsing online, you can also take advantage of Private Passthrough within Safari by following our dedicated guide below.
▶ How to use Private Relay in iCloud Plus
That’s all we have on how you can check your private browsing history on an iPhone.