How to Turn Off Private Browsing Mode on iPad

Go public with browsing again

What to Know

  • Disable private browsing mode: Open Safari > tap tabs button > Private > Tabs to change back.
  • You can also open a new non-private Tab by holding down on the Safari icon then tapping New Tab.

This article teaches you how to turn off the private browsing mode on an iPad. It also looks at any limitations with the mode.

How Do I Disable Private Browsing on Safari?

Private browsing on Safari is a useful tool on your iPad and other Apple devices as it blocks websites from tracking your search behavior and your browser remembering what you looked at. However, sometimes you may want to disable it or turn it off so those same functions are restored. Here's how to disable private browsing on Safari.

These instructions refer to iPadOS 15 and above.

  1. On your iPad, tap Safari.

  2. Tap the tabs button in the top right hand corner of the screen.

    Steps required on an iPad to find the tabs options in Safari.

    If you're using your iPad in landscape mode, you may not need to complete this step as the tabs menu can sometimes already be open.

  3. Tap Private.

  4. Tap Tabs at the top of the Tabs Group list to switch back to non-private browsing.

    Steps in Safari on an iPad to choose different tabs.
  5. You can now browse in a non-private fashion so cookies and search history can be stored on your iPad.

    When you switch back to normal tabs, it does not close the private tabs. If you want to close those so that whoever uses it after you can't see what you were browsing, close the tabs first before going back into regular mode.

How Do I Remove Private Browsing Mode?

It's not possible to permanently remove private browsing mode from your iPad but there are other ways to avoid using it and in an even quicker fashion than before. Here's what to do.

Private browsing is disabled by default on Safari. You need to turn on private browsing to be able to switch it off.

  1. While on your iPad's home screen, hold your finger down on the Safari icon.

  2. When a new menu opens up, tap New Tab.

  3. Safari will now open a new tab for you to use and it won't be one with private browsing enabled.

    Steps required to open a new tab in Safari on iPad without opening the app first.

Why Would I Want Private Browsing?

Private Browsing offers numerous features when browsing online and these are both useful and not so useful, depending on your needs. Here's a brief look at what happens when Private Browsing is enabled.

  • The iPad does not keep track of your history. With Private Browsing enabled, it doesn't keep track of the websites you visit or your search history. Retracing your steps is harder but it means maximum security if someone looks at your iPad. 
  • Safari blocks certain cookies. Safari automatically blocks certain types of cookies from external websites. It already does this to an extent, blocking unwanted trackers, but it does so more so in Private Browsing mode. 
  • The search/URL bar turns black. When Private Browsing is enabled, the Safari search bar goes black to highlight you have the mode enabled. 
  • Private Browsing isn't an ultimate fix. If you don't want a website to know the IP address you're browsing from or similar, you need to use something like a VPN rather than rely on Private Browsing. 
  • How do I check the private browsing history on an iPad?

    Unfortunately, History only shows what you've visited in Regular mode. Even if you view your History from Private Mode, only the sites visited in Normal Mode will show.

  • How do I delete browsing history on an iPad?

    In Safari, tap the History icon in Safari to open the History list. Then, select Clear at the bottom of the screen to delete it. If you've been using private browsing, you can also clear a window's history by closing it: Select the Tabs button and then tap the X in the upper-right corner of a pane to close it.

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