There are times where you simply do not want your Internet browsing to be stored. This is particularly true when you are gift shopping when you may be buying that special something for that special someone. Sure there are less forthright uses of Private Browsing functions but we are a kids friendly site, right?
With the release of iOS 5, Apple has made it easy to enable Private Browsing on your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. Essentially what happens when you are in Private Browsing mode, none of the normal information about where you visited is stored on your iOS device. That means cookies mostly but also means browsing history, cache, login information, and search information are not kept during that session. While nothing is ever completely anonymous, this is a quick way to keep your browsing history and information a little more private and secure. In fact, if you can live with not having Safari remember log in information or storing cookies (some sites require them however), you can stay in Private Browsing all the time.
But how do you get there? Easy.
Go to Settings>Safari on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. Here you will see all of the settings available for Safari. If you look about halfway down you will see a section named Privacy. Slide the Private Browsing switch to On to enable the feature.
Safari Settings on an iPad (Click to Enlarge)
If you have Safari open at the time you enable Private Browsing, a notification will pop up asking if you want to keep the tabs you have open in Safari open or if you want to close them. I always recommend closing whatever tabs you have open just to make sure that the browsing session you are about to initiate is private.
Notification of Open Tabs When Enabling Private Browsing (Click to Enlarge)
If you want to disable Private Browsing just slide the Private Browsing switch back to off and Safari will begin collecting cookies and other information once again.
How do you know if you are in Private Browsing mode in Safari on your iPhone or iPad? The toolbars and tabs at the top of the display are black instead of grey. See the two screenshots below.
Safari on an iPad in Normal Browsing Mode (Click to Enlarge)
Safari on an iPad in Private Browsing Mode - Note the Black Toolbars (Click to Enlarge)
Private Browsing does have a lot of good uses, particularly with the holiday season coming up. You can search for that gift without others knowing about it in a quick but discrete way.