iOS 17: Nine new features available in Safari

With each update to the iOS operating system, Apple adds new features to the built-in apps like Safari. In iOS 17, Safari gets new privacy functionality, search improvements, updated Siri integration, and more.

iOS 17 General Safari feature
This guide highlights all the additions to the ‌iOS 17‌ Safari features.


In ‌iOS 17‌, Apple expands on tab groups with a profile feature designed to allow you to separate your browsing for different use cases. You can create a “Work” profile and a “Personal” profile, for example, so that all your work-related browsing is kept separate from your personal browsing.

ios 17 safari profiles
Each profile has separate cookies, browsing history, extensions and website data. For example, you can turn off cookies and pop-up windows on one profile and leave them on for another profile. Profiles also have separate favorites and tab groups.

Safari profiles configured ios 17
Profiles can be configured by following these instructions:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down to Safari.
  3. Tap New profile.
  4. Choose an icon, name and background color for the profile.
  5. Choose your settings for Favorites and Tabs.
  6. Tap Done.

From there, you can edit profiles by tapping on them in the Settings app. In Safari, tap the tab icon with two overlapping squares, then tap the middle icon and select “Profile” to change which profile is active.

Locked private browsing window

Private browser windows are now locked and require secondary authentication to unlock and access. If you hand your unlocked phone to someone and they try to open your Safari private browsing tab, access is denied without another Face ID/Touch ID scan or a passcode.

Safari private browsing ios 17
The ‌Face ID‌/‌Touch ID‌ requirement keeps the private browsing tab private even if someone else has access to your iPhone or iPad. The private browsing tab is locked by default in ‌iOS 17‌, but the ‌Face ID‌/‌Touch ID‌ requirement can be turned off by following these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap on Safari.
  3. Scroll down to Require ‌Face ID‌ (or ‌Touch ID‌) to unlock private browsing.
  4. Press the button to turn it off and confirm with a ‌Face ID‌/‌Touch ID‌ scan. When disabled, the button will be greyed out.

Private search engine

In iOS 16, you can choose a default search engine to use with Safari, but in ‌iOS 17‌, you can choose separate search engines for standard browsing and private browsing.

ios 17 private search engine
Options include Google, Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckGo and Ecosia. If you leave it at default, the same search engine that is set for default browsing is used.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down to Safari.
  3. Tap Private search engine.
  4. Tap one of the search engine options to select it.
  5. Exit the settings.

Tracking URLs

URLs in ‌iOS 17‌ can strip any tracking information appended to the end of the URL so that websites cannot track your browsing using URL identifiers. This feature is automatically enabled for private browsing in ‌iOS 17‌, but it can be enabled for all browsing.

safari tracks all browsing ios 17
To remove URL-based tracking for all browser windows:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down to Safari.
  3. Tap Advanced.
  4. Tap Advanced tracking and fingerprint protection.
  5. Turn on “All Browsing”.

Enabling this ensures that all URLs opened in Safari strip the additional tracking information that is sometimes inserted at the end of a URL.

Hide IP address from websites

In ‌iOS 17‌, there is an option to hide IP addresses from both trackers and websites, or just trackers, when using the iCloud Private Relay feature. With Trackers and Websites selected, the IP address will be kept hidden and websites will not be able to determine your location using this information.

ios 17 safari hide ip address
In ‌iOS 16‌, ‌iCloud‌ Private Relay is designed to hide IP addresses primarily from known trackers, so this is an extension of the feature.

Search improvements

Search is more responsive in ‌iOS 17‌, so it displays search results faster. It also brings up a wider range of search suggestions for you to choose from.

ios 17 safari search
Apple has added favicons to the best website search suggestions, and search results coming from your bookmarks, tabs, and search history are clearly marked.

Listen to Side

‌Siri‌ in ‌iOS 17‌ can read a website to you, which is useful if you come across a long article or other content that you want to listen to while doing something else. The feature works as long as Reader View is available on a website.

ios 17 safari listen aside

  1. Open Safari.
  2. Navigate to the content you want ‌Siri‌ to read.
  3. Tap the Aa icon in the address bar.
  4. Select the Listen to Page option.

From there, ‌Siri‌ starts reading the content of the page. You can pause by tapping the Pause Listening option and resume with the Resume Listening option. Locking your screen gives you dedicated playback controls.

‌Siri‌ will also read a page if you open a website for a featured article and ask ‌Siri‌ to “read this for me.”

Shared passwords and access keys

In ‌iOS 17‌ (and iPadOS 17/macOS Sonoma) there is an option to securely share passwords and access keys with friends and family members. With the sharing feature, passwords for shared media accounts, utilities, bills and more can be given to multiple people.

ios 17 shared passwords
Each person can access, add to, and change shared passwords, with setup available by going to the Passwords section of the Settings app and selecting “Get started” under the “Family Passwords” heading.

This isn’t strictly a Safari feature, but it makes it easier to sign in to websites where you use shared login credentials.

Privacy settings

Note that privacy-focused settings, which include Block All Cookies, Privacy-Preserving Ad Tracking, and Check for Apple Pay, have been moved from the “Privacy & Security” section of Safari Settings to the “Advanced” section, which is more hidden.

ios 17 privacy settings safari

Read more

An overview of all the new features in the ‌iOS 17‌ update can be found in our comprehensive iOS 17 overview.

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