Can Private Browsing Be Traced On iPhone? A Detailed Look

The concept of private browsing was first introduced by Apple Safari in 2005. We can now find its roots stretching to all modern browsers. Private browsing mode reflects a privacy feature that helps Safari users protect their browsing data. Nevertheless, this is the beginning of the privacy disruption. How? Private browsing isn’t as safe as it seems. This means that it’s possible to trace your browser data.

However, there’s still a light of hope. We’ll guide you on what measures you can take to ensure safe, private browsing on an iPhone.

How does private browsing help the user?

  • It forbids the data browsed to appear in the history of the iPhone.
  • The Private Mode tabs couldn’t be seen on any other Apple device, even if it’s connected to you.

What is its function?

  • It gives us results that aren’t influenced by the already searched keywords.
  • Saves time – or else we must go through the whole history to delete the upsetting entries, clear the cookies, etc.

How can we activate Private Browsing on an iPhone?

  1.  Start “Safari” on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Touch & hold the “Tabs” buttons on the bottom right of the browser.
  3. Now select any of the “Private or New Private tabs,” and it’s done.
  4. The Private Browsing Mode is now turned on.

As of now, you’re browsing privately, but what if you need to exit the private mode? Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Long press the “Tabs” button;
  2. Click “[number] Tabs.” This will bring you back to normal mode.

Since our subject revolves around Private Browsing, let’s cover how to Switch on and off the Incognito mode on Chrome using an iPhone (iPad).

Steps to turn on the Incognito Mode

  1.     Start Chrome
  2.   Touch & hold the “Tabs” option (the square having a number) in the bottom right of the screen.
  3.     Now click on the “New Incognito Tab,” and it’s turned on.

How to exit the Incognito Tab quickly

  1.     Click the “Tabs” button.
  2.     Select the Tabs from the top center of the screen.
  3.     Choose the tab except the one having incognito mode, and it’s done.

Uplift your privacy protection – Secure IP addresses against trackers and more

Apple prioritizes Safari users by giving them additional privacy settings which keep them safe from user tracking. Still, iPhones can be hacked and exposed to other threats online. Let’s not forget that this security means only hiding the IP from the trackers, not the websites. Moreover, this IP protection exists just for the Safari browser. The benefits are still valuable, after all.

To get these options, simply open the “settings,” click on “Safari,” then go to the “Privacy & Security” option.

Here, we can get the options to activate (or deactivate) any of the following:

 IP Address Protection: Safari contains a list of its own trackers; hence keeping this on saves the IP from them when browsing the web.

Blocks Cookies: When turned on, it can put an end to the addition of cookies to the websites.

Stops Cross-site tracking: As the name suggests, this restricts third-party cookies for the Safari browser, which minimizes the tracing of the websites. Turn this on to get advanced privacy protection.

Is browsing in Private mode truly Private?

The justification of privacy works solely for the iPhone device. Yet, browsing the internet stretches a device’s activities to an extent. This means it’s a complex online system that we can’t control.

For this reason, it’s possible that you can be tracked. How? Let’s have a look:

  1. The website visited by you collects your data (particularly when you log in) as it needs the data to get back to you.
  2. The user’s ISP observes that you’re using its infrastructure to get access to a website.
  3. People using the Local Wi-Fi are assumed to work in a similar way as the ISP, hence they can notice your activities too.

Private browsing is hard to secure in such circumstances.

Six possible ways third parties can use to trace Private Browsing on an iPhone

1. IP address

Every home has a unique address, and so does every online device. The unique address of an online device is known as an IP (Internet Protocol). If you could hide the IP from the website, it would have no idea where to deliver the data. The only information will be visiting the site because the images, texts, and fonts need an IP to be delivered.

2.  Account Activity

Whenever you log in to your social account in private browsing, it gets to know that you’re using it. Hence, logging any account in the Private Browsing mode is the most absurd way to pull down any of the privacy protection methods of the device.

3. Wi-Fi Router Logs

The Wi-Fi router carries out the routing of the data to the internet. This way, it understands which device uses which service or website. If reserved, these logs could work as a way to check the activities later.

4.  Internet Service Provider (ISP)

We could explain this by replacing the “Router” in the preceding entry with the ISP. Nonetheless, the infrastructure still requires knowledge of where the data is headed, and this information could be recorded. If they know you’re an American, they can sell the data to the data brokers or use it as a ransom.

5.  Plug-ins and Malware

When turned on, the Plug-ins installed on your device start to trace the activities even when you’re using Private Browsing. Malware works in a similar fashion; it cannot be affected by any means of Private Browsing.

6.  Browser Fingerprints

Your device can be tracked with the browser’s fingerprints even without using cookies. Consider HTML5, which is the core foundation of modern websites. HTML5 makes it easier for the website to track your identity by creating communication with your browser, hardware, and OS. This is restricted data and can neither be reached out nor erased.

How to use Private Browsing Anonymously

Here are some suggested ways to ensure safe Private Browsing without being tracked.

Never use your Original Account

You must have a disposable account that will be used whenever you need to log into the Private Mode. Even if it’s been tracked, it doesn’t affect your identity.

 Hide your personal data

Are you a person who posts about himself and shares pictures or names on your social accounts?

If yes, no private browsing could save your data from being traced. It doesn’t matter if your data isn’t associated with your IP or accounts; it’s still accessible.

Turn off the Extensions

Disable all extensions running in private mode to stop them from tracking data. Pay more attention to the extensions related to your social media, email accounts, and other services

Keep your device up-to-date

Update the Software regularly to maintain the smooth running of the device. Before iOS11, checking the Private Browsing data through the Website Data lookup was easy. We’re on iOS15 today, so upgrade your devices, as updating the software definitely has a point.

 Check if someone hacked your phone

 Be certain to check if someone controls your phone. This is because many cases to access the history of private browsing explain a scenario where someone installs special monitoring software in a phone. This is one way to know that your phone is hacked.

Remove malware

Any of the privacy protection tools can’t deceive malware. Hence, scanning your device for malware and viruses is always the best approach to keep your data safe.

 Use a Privacy Protected Search Engine

Each of the modern browsers from today tracks your activities. Google does this to display its ads. So, let’s shift towards more privacy-oriented search engines such as DuckDuckGo, Surfshark Search, and TOR Browser.

DuckDuckGo can be relied upon for the safety of private browsing, as this tool keeps the trackers at a distance. It connects you directly to the encrypted versions of the websites, protects you against tracing, and draws away the trackers. It’s available on the App Store.

TOR is created to make internet access as private as possible. The onion router (TOR) applies multiple layers of encryption and shapes the user’s IP by routing across three different world locations. For this reason, the privacy protection of this browser is being questioned by the people of the dark web. The bad sides of the browsers include low internet speed and displaying the visibility of the TOR usage to the IP address.

Utilize the Privacy Features of an iPhone

Now the iPhone includes a feature to hide IP addresses. However, this works only for the trackers. We can also relocate our data through iCloud Private Relay, which is not fully decisive. Check the next step if you want an absolute solution to hide your IP.

Install a VPN

Using a VPN provides data encryption to your device by transmitting it through a VPN server. As a result of this, the ISP will only detect an encrypted connection with the server. However, the services that you’re using will see the server’s IP. Also, this protects your data against the Wi-Fi-based surveillance system. Why use only a top VPN like Surfshark or NordVPN? They provide a 30-day free trial with a hundred percent money-back guarantee.

To sum up, internet anonymity is unattainable but can be achieved using the specific guidelines stated above.


Could we track private browsing on an iPhone? Yes. This is true to some extent, though the function does contain some limitations. Its primary focus includes the protection of your phone from people’s hands by checking your browsing history. Hence, you will need other measures to make it private. If you ever need a privacy-protection search engine at any point, Surfshark Search is among the finest options available.

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