How to Change Default Search Engine in Safari on iPhone, iPad, and Mac

In the digital age, search engines have become an integral part of our online experience, guiding us through the vast expanse of the internet. Apple’s Safari browser, widely used across its ecosystem of devices including iPhone, iPad, and Mac, traditionally had Google as its default search engine. However, Apple recognized the importance of choice and user preferences, leading to a significant update that allows users to change the default search engine to a variety of options. This article will guide you through the process of changing the default search engine in Safari on your iPhone, iPad, and Mac, providing you with the freedom to customize your browsing experience.

Why Change the Default Search Engine?

While Google has been the dominant search engine for years, many users are increasingly concerned about privacy and data security. Alternative search engines often promote privacy-focused practices, ensuring that users’ search queries remain confidential. By changing the default search engine in Safari, users can take control of their data and tailor their browsing experience to align with their values.

Changing the Default Search Engine on iPhone and iPad

Apple’s iOS devices, namely the iPhone and iPad, offer a straightforward process for changing the default search engine in Safari. Follow these steps to make the switch:

Step 1: Open Settings

Unlock your iPhone or iPad and navigate to the “Settings” app. The app icon resembles a gear and is usually located on the home screen.

Step 2: Scroll Down and Tap on Safari

In the settings menu, scroll down until you find the “Safari” option. Tap on it to access Safari’s specific settings.

Step 3: Choose Search Engine

Within the Safari settings, locate the “Search Engine” option. By default, this will be set to Google. Tap on it to reveal a list of available search engines.

Step 4: Select Your Preferred Search Engine

From the list of search engines, choose the one you prefer. Safari provides options such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, and DuckDuckGo. Upon selecting your preferred search engine, it will automatically become the new default for Safari.

Step 5: Test the Change

After making the change, open Safari and perform a search to ensure that the new search engine is now in use. Your search results should reflect the choice you made in the settings.

Changing the Default Search Engine on Mac

If you’re using Safari on your Mac computer, the process of changing the default search engine is similarly user-friendly. Follow these steps:

Step 1: Open Safari Preferences

Launch the Safari browser on your Mac. In the top-left corner of the screen, click on “Safari” in the menu bar, and then select “Preferences” from the drop-down menu.

Step 2: Access Search Preferences

In the Preferences window, navigate to the “Search” tab. This is usually represented by a magnifying glass icon.

Step 3: Choose Your Preferred Search Engine

Next to the “Search engine” label, you’ll find a drop-down menu. Click on the menu to reveal a list of available search engines that you can choose from. Similar to the iOS process, Safari on Mac offers options such as Google, Yahoo, Bing, and DuckDuckGo.

Step 4: Save Changes

Once you’ve selected your preferred search engine, simply close the Preferences window. Safari will automatically save your changes, and your new search engine preference will be applied.

Step 5: Verify the Change

To ensure that the new search engine is now the default, open a new Safari tab and perform a search. The search results should reflect your newly chosen search engine.

The Privacy Advantage of Alternative Search Engines

One of the driving forces behind changing the default search engine is the growing concern about online privacy. Google, while immensely popular, has faced criticism for its data collection practices. As a response, alternative search engines have emerged with a focus on protecting user privacy. Two such examples are DuckDuckGo and Startpage.

DuckDuckGo: The Privacy-Centric Choice

DuckDuckGo has gained popularity for its strong emphasis on privacy. It does not track users’ search history, allowing for anonymous and unbiased search results. Additionally, it offers features like “bangs,” which allow users to directly search within specific websites by using shortcuts. To set DuckDuckGo as your default search engine, you’re not only enhancing your privacy but also supporting a search engine that respects your personal data.

Startpage: Private Search, Google Results

Startpage presents an interesting compromise between privacy and familiarity. It acts as a middleman between you and Google’s search engine. When you search using Startpage, your queries are anonymized before being sent to Google, and the search results are then displayed without any user-specific data. This way, you can benefit from Google’s search prowess while keeping your searches private.

The Customization of Browsing Experience

Changing the default search engine in Safari goes beyond privacy concerns. It’s about customizing your online experience to suit your preferences. Each search engine has its unique algorithms and features that can cater to different needs.

Google: The All-Powerful Search Engine

Google remains the go-to search engine for many due to its powerful algorithms and extensive index of web pages. It excels at delivering accurate and relevant results, making it the preferred choice for those who prioritize search efficiency.

Bing: A Visual and Information-Rich Option

Microsoft’s Bing differentiates itself through its visually engaging search results, which often include relevant images, videos, and news snippets. If you appreciate a more visually-oriented approach to search, Bing might be the search engine of choice for you.

Yahoo: News-Centric and Familiar

Yahoo’s search engine is often associated with news, and it provides a comprehensive overview of the latest headlines and trending topics. If staying up-to-date with current events is a priority, Yahoo’s search engine could be a valuable tool.


In a world where the internet is integral to our daily lives, the choice of a search engine holds more significance than ever before. Apple’s decision to allow users to change the default search engine in Safari on their iPhones, iPads, and Macs is a step towards greater customization and privacy. Whether you opt for the privacy-centric approach of DuckDuckGo, the privacy-enhanced Google results from Startpage, or the familiarity of Bing, the choice is now yours. By following the simple steps outlined in this article, you can take control of your browsing experience and align it with your preferences and values. So go ahead, make the change, and explore the internet on your terms.

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