How to Change Search Engines on Mac

You don't have to stick with the default on any browser

digital image of a Search button

Gregor Schuster / Corbis / Getty Images Plus

When you enter one or more keywords in your web browser’s address bar or search box and press Return, they are automatically submitted to your browser's default search engine and a set of results are displayed. The search engine used to generate these search results may be Google, Bing, Yahoo or one of several others depending on the configuration of the browser you're using on your mac.

What many people fail to realize is that you aren’t stuck using this default option, and can change it to whichever search engine you like by following the simple instructions outlined below.

Search engine query URLs vary based on provider, and can be obtained from their respective help documentation. For example, the query URL for the DuckDuckGo engine is https://duckduckgo.com/?q=search&kp=-1&kl=us-en

How to Change the Search Engine in Safari for Mac

The default browser in macOS, Apple Safari uses Google as its out-of-the-box search engine, a setting that can be easily modified.

  1. Open your Safari browser.

  2. Select the Safari menu, located in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.

  3. When the drop-down menu appears, select Preferences.

    Preferences location in the Safari menu on macOS.
  4. Safari’s Preferences interface should now appear, overlaying your browser window. Click Search, located in the row of icons along the top of the window.

    Safari for macOS Search Preferences
  5. Select the drop-down menu labeled Search engine and select one of the following options: Google, Yahoo, Bing or DuckDuckGo.

    Safari for macOS Search Engine options.
  6. Click the red and black X in the upper left-hand corner of the Preferences interface to complete the process and return to your browsing session.

How to Change the Search Engine in Chrome for Mac

The default search engine in the Google Chrome browser is also Google, no big surprise there! Take these steps to change it to a different provider.

  1. Open your Google Chrome browser.

  2. Select the Chrome main menu, represented by three vertically-aligned dots and located in the upper right-hand corner.

    The menu location on Google Chrome web browser for macOS.
  3. When the drop-down menu appears, select Settings.

    The Settings option show in Chrome for macOS menu options.
  4. Chrome’s Settings interface should now be shown in a new tab. Scroll down until you locate the Search engine section.

    Chrome for macOS Search Engine settings
  5. Click the drop-down menu accompanying the option labeled Search engine used in the address bar and select Google, Bing or Yahoo!.

  6. If you’d like to add options to this list, first click Manage search engines.

  7. Click Add, located in the Other search engines section.

  8. The Add search engine dialog should now be displayed, overlaying your main browser window. Enter the search engine name along with its corresponding query URL and optional Keyword value, if desired.

    Chrome for macOS Add Search Engine interface
  9. Click the Add button to complete the process. 

How to Change the Search Engine in Firefox for Mac

Mozilla’s Firefox browser also employs Google as its default search engine, a preference that can be updated in less than a minute.

  1. Open your Firefox browser.

  2. Select the Firefox menu, located in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.

  3. When the drop-down menu appears, select Preferences.

    Location of Preferences on Firefox for macOS main menu.

    You can also enter the following text into Firefox’s address bar, in lieu of choosing this menu option: about:preferences

  4. Firefox’s Preferences interface should now appear in a new tab. Click Search, located in the left menu pane.

    How to get to Firefox Search Engine preferences.

    You can add more search engines to Firefox by clicking on the ‘Find more search engines’ link at the bottom of the Search Preferences screen.

  5. Select the drop-down menu found in the Default Search Engine section and select Google, Bing, Amazon.com, DuckDuckGo, eBay, Twitter or Wikipedia.

    The alternative search engine options in Firefox for macOS.

How to Change the Search Engine in Opera for Mac

At this point you’re probably sensing a theme here. Yes, Opera for macOS uses Google as its integrated search engine. You can change this setting by following the instructions below.

  1. Open your Opera browser.

  2. Select the Opera menu, located in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.

  3. When the drop-down menu appears, select Preferences.

  4. Opera’s Settings interface should now appear in a new tab. Scroll down until you locate the Search engine section, and click the drop-down menu found within it.

  5. Choose Google Search, Yahoo!, DuckDuckGo, Amazon, Bing or Wikipedia

    Opera Search Engine options on macOS.
  6. To add new options to this list, first click Manage search engines.

  7. Scroll down to the Other search engines section and click Add.

    Where to add search engines to Opera on Mac.
  8. Enter the search engine name along with its corresponding query URL and optional Keyword value, if desired.

    Opera Add Search Engine interface
  9. Click Add to complete the process.