How to change Safari preferences on my iPhone

Updated April 17, 2017

Most web browsers let you configure browser settings and preferences from a settings menu that you access from a toolbar inside the program or application, but the Safari browser on your Apple iPhone is arranged differently. To access Safari browser preferences on your iPhone, you'll need to go to the "Safari" section in the device's main Settings menu. After opening the settings menu, you can set your preferences for a number of Safari's features, including the default search engine, pop-up blocking, autofill, private browsing, anti-phishing, JavaScript and cookies.

Tap the "Settings" application button with the silver gears icon on your iPhone's home screen.

Swipe to about half-way down the Settings screen. Tap the "Safari" tab to open the Safari settings screen.

Read the various settings options, which the iPhone groups into themed sections -- General, Privacy, Reading list and Security.

Tap each settings tab to open the settings for this section. For example, tap "Search Engine" in the General section and then tap to select your preferred default search engine from the list of available search engines.

Touch the "Safari" button in the top left of the screen to return to the main Safari settings screen.

Swipe the tabs next to some settings options to toggle various Safari features to the "ON" or "OFF" position. For example, you can activate or deactivate private browsing, fraud warning, JavaScript and pop-up blocking by swiping to "ON" or "OFF" on the main Safari settings screen.

Touch the "Accept Cookies" tab and then select "Always," "Never" or "From Visited" from the list to set your Safari cookie preferences.

Tap the "Clear History" tab, and then tap "Clear History" in the confirmation pop-up pane to clear your browsing history from Safari. Touch "Clear Cookies and Data" and then tap "Clear Cookies and Data" again to delete all cookies that could be used to track your Web usage on Safari.

Press the "Home" button below the display screen to exit the Safari settings menu and return to the iPhone's home screen. Tap the "Safari" app button to launch and use the Safari Web browser with the changed preferences.


Swipe to the bottom of the Safari settings screen and tap the "Advanced" tab to access advanced settings. This feature allows you to view stored website data and activate or deactivate the Web Inspector function for connecting Safari on your iPhone to Safari on your computer with a USB cable connection.

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About the Author

Adrian Grahams began writing professionally in 1989 after training as a newspaper reporter. His work has been published online and in various newspapers, including "The Cornish Times" and "The Sunday Independent." Grahams specializes in technology and communications. He holds a Bachelor of Science, postgraduate diplomas in journalism and website design and is studying for an MBA.