How to Change Search Engines on Mac

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

When you enter a phrase in your web browser’s address bar or search box and press Return, it is automatically submitted to your browser's default search engine. The search engine used to generate the 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.

You can change the default search engine to whichever search engine you like by following the 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 Safari.

  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 will appear. Select Search, located in the row of icons along the top of the window.

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

    Safari for macOS Search Engine options.
  6. Select 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. Follow these steps to change it to a different service.

  1. Open Google Chrome.

  2. Select the Chrome main menu, represented by three vertically-aligned dots 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 will open in a new tab. Scroll down until you locate the Search engine section.

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

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

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

  8. The Add search engine dialog will appear, 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. Select Add 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 Firefox.

  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.

    Alternatively, enter the following text into Firefox’s address bar: about:preferences

  4. Firefox’s Preferences interface will appear in a new tab. Select Search, located in the left menu pane.

    How to get to Firefox Search Engine preferences.

    You can add more search engines to Firefox by selecting Find more search engines 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

Opera for macOS also uses Google as its integrated search engine. You can change this setting by following these instructions:

  1. Open Opera.

  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 will appear in a new tab. Scroll down until you locate the Search engine section. Select 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, select Manage search engines.

  7. Scroll down to the Other search engines section and select 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. Select Add to complete the process.