Keep Your Web Surfing History Private

 Adjust Options in Settings to Keep Your Safari Web Surfing Private

When it comes to covering your web surfing tracks, before you start using Safari, you’ll want to adjust a handful of the options available from within Settings. To do this, from the Home screen of your iPhone or iPad, tap the Settings option. Then scroll down within the main Settings menu and tap the iCloud option.

From the iCloud Control Panel menu within Settings (shown in Figure 1), turn off the virtual switches associated with Safari and Keychain. This will prevent your iPhone or iPad from remembering usernames, passwords, and credit card payment details related to the websites you visit.

It will also keep your device from syncing details pertaining to Safari’s saved Bookmarks, Reading List, Favorites, and History folders with other computers and iOS mobile devices that are linked to the same Apple ID/iCloud account. It’ll also disable Safari’s iCloud Tabs feature.

Using iCloud tabs, someone who is using your iMac (or MacBook), for example, could see exactly what websites you’re visiting, in real time, from your iPhone or iPad—if the computer is logged in to your Apple ID/iCloud account.

Next, return to the main Settings menu on your mobile device. This time, tap the Safari option (see Figure 2). From the Safari submenu within Settings, scroll down to the Privacy & Security heading and turn on the virtual switch associated with the Do Not Track option. This will prevent Safari from creating and updating a History folder, and storing information about webpages you access or view in the future.

Tap the Block Cookies option, and from the Block Cookies submenu, select the Never option, which will prevent Safari from storing any preferences related to websites you visit.

Return to the Safari submenu and then tap the Smart Search Field option. Turn off the virtual switches that are associated with the Search Engine Suggestions and Preload Top Hits options.

After you do this, if you or anyone else uses the Search field within Safari on your mobile device, listings for past web searches and details pertaining to websites you’ve previously visited will no longer be displayed.

These steps will prevent most people who might pick up your iPhone or iPad and use it to surf the web from discovering what you’ve done online in the past.

However, additional steps that can help cover your tracks include taping on the Clear History and Clear Cookies and Data options, which are also displayed as part of the Safari submenu within Settings.

Tapping the Clear History option will delete everything that’s currently stored within Safari’s History folder; the Clear Cookies and Data option will delete all data currently saved within the Cookies folder of Safari, including information that’s relevant to websites you’ve visited in the past.

Safari also has the ability to access (and potentially share) your current location as you’re using an iPhone or iPad. Safari, along with many social media apps (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, etc.) has the capability to access Location Services-related data.

To prevent this for Safari and other apps, from the main Settings menu, tap the Privacy option. Then, tap the Location Services option from the Privacy submenu.

From the Location Services submenu, you can leave the virtual switch associated with the main Location Services option turned on, but then scroll down and turn off the virtual switch associated with Safari, as well as any specific social media apps installed on your device.

In the future, if you access a website that requires your current location, you will need to enter it manually.

Activate the Passcode Lock Feature to Keep Unauthorized People from Using Your iPhone or iPad

Yet another thing you can do to prevent unauthorized people from accessing your iPhone or iPad is to turn on its Passcode Lock feature. To do this, from the main Settings menu, tap the General option and then tap the Passcode Lock option (see Figure 3).

From the Passcode Lock submenu, tap the Turn Passcode On option, and when prompted, select and then re-enter a four-digit passcode of your choosing.

Once activated, this four-digit passcode will be required any time the iPhone or iPad is turned on or awakes from Sleep mode. If you’re using an iPhone 5S, you have the option to activate the Touch ID sensor, so only recognized fingerprints (or the use of a four-digit passcode) will unlock the smartphone.

Instead of using a four-digit passcode, you can opt to use a longer alphanumeric password to keep people from accessing your iOS mobile device.

To use a password, from the General menu within Settings, tap the Passcode Lock option and then tap the Turn Passcode On option. Also from the Passcode Lock submenu, turn off the virtual switch that’s associated with the Simple Passcode feature and make sure the Require Passcode option is set to Immediately.

Keep Tabs on what Your Kids Are Doing Online with iOS Mobile Devices

As a parent, it’s a really good strategy to keep constant tabs on what your kids are doing with their Internet-enabled iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

To do this, not only should you make sure that the privacy measures for Safari that have been outlined thus far are not used, you should also activate the Restrictions option on the mobile device your child is using.

Depending on how the Restrictions options are set up, they will prevent users (aside from you and anyone else with the override passcode) from altering the device’s Settings, accessing certain types of online or purchasable content, installing or deleting apps, making in-app purchases, and using certain functionality built into the device.

To turn on Restrictions, launch Settings, and tap the General option. From the General menu within Settings, tap the Restrictions option. Located near the top of the Restrictions submenu is the Enable/Disable Restrictions option (see Figure 4). Tap it to turn on the master switch for this feature. You will be promoted to create and enter a four-digit passcode.

It is absolutely essential that you remember this passcode, or else you could wind up locking yourself, as well as your kids, out of the device or prevent various features and functions from being used in the future.

Also, make sure that your kids don’t discover this code. You might want to change the Restrictions passcode at random times in the future.

Once activated, you can decide specifically which features and functions someone other than you can access from the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch by turning on or off the virtual switches associated with Safari, Camera, FaceTime, iTunes Store, iBooks Store, Installing Apps, Deleting Apps, In-App Purchases, Siri, and AirDrop.