Safari, the default iOS web browser, is perhaps the most widely used app on any iPhone. From search engines to websites or blogs, it takes us to places on the internet. But as we navigate through this web, we often unknowingly leak a lot of personal identifiable information (digital footprints). This information often includes our IP address, geographical location and even our search keywords, browsing patterns and preferences. Browsing the web using a good private browser on your iPhone is the first line of defense against this identity leakage. In this post today, I’ll share 5 best private browsers for iPhone to help you browse safer and protect your digital footprints.
What exactly does a private browser app for iPhone do?
Private browsers do more than just providing an incognito browsing window on your iPhone. They essentially help you protect your personal information (as discussed above) from prying eyes. A good private browser on the iPhone protects you by:
- Blocking ads, trackers and cookies.
- Enforcing encrypted connection (https) for better security
- Providing enhanced protection through VPN
- Providing a one-click way to erase browsing history and cookies.
My personal thoughts about blocking ads on websites
I am a publisher myself and I run ads on this blog. The income generated from these ads is one of the ways I’m able to fund the cost of maintaining this blog. I don’t charge anything from my readers for providing this awesome content. I therefore urge you to at least support those publishers who provide valuable and quality content. As a website visitor, you have full authority over how you wish to use the web, but think about the time and efforts of those publishers who bring you all this content for free!
The best free private browsers for iPhone in 2022:
DuckDuckGo is the most famous private search engine which is often considered as a great alternative to Google. Why? Google tracks you, but DuckDuckGo doesn’t. Google profiles you to personalize your search results, but DuckDuckGo doesn’t. Now with its web browser app for iPhone, DuckDuckGo takes your privacy to the next level. Here are some of the most remarkable features of this app:
- One touch ‘Fire Button’ to close all tabs and erase data. Once tapped, a fire will blaze up your browser screen to turn all your search history and data into ashes.
- ‘Privacy Grade’ – Based on the use of privacy practices, scripts and trackers, DuckDuckGo assigns a default privacy grade to websites you visit. It then enhances that grade by blocking trackers, ads and malicious scripts so that the website becomes fit for visiting.
- ‘Enforces ‘https’ connection wherever possible. A https connection ensures that the sensitive information you transmit over the web (such as while doing an online transaction) is routed securely over a secured network.
- Ability to ‘fireproof websites’, i.e., you can whitelist websites of your choice so that cookies related to those websites are not erased once you tap the ‘Fire Button’. For example: If you use Facebook mobile, you can fireproof it so that the cookies are not erased and you remain signed in.
The DuckDuckGo browser is my favorite private browser for iPhone. I encourage you to go ahead and give it a try.
2. Firefox Focus
After DuckDuckGo, the next best private browser for iPhone is FireFox Focus, a free and open-source privacy focused web browser developed by the Mozilla Foundation. The unique thing about FireFox Focus is that you can either use it as a standalone private browser app or as a content blocker with Safari, the default browser app on iPhone. Following are some of the striking features of this web browser app:
- Blocks ads, analytics and social media trackers
- Blocks deep content trackers such as embedded videos, news articles and photo slideshows (enable this on experimental basis as it may cause a website to stop functioning as expected)
- Ability to block web fonts – thereby making webpages load even faster
- One-tap button to erase browsing history and cookies
- Siri shortcuts to automatically clean your browsing data
3. Opera Touch
An upgraded version of Opera Mini, Opera Touch is a light-weight, fast and secure web browser app for the iPhone. I’ve tested it against many web browser apps on the iPhone and I can confirm that it provides the fastest web browsing experience; thanks to its native ad blocker and built-in web 3 support.
The following are some of its features worth mentioning:
- Native ad-blocker
- Cryptocurrency mining protection – blocks malicious websites from using your iPhone’s resources to mine cryptocurrencies.
- Block cookie dialogues
Its iPhone app currently lacks the feature to block online trackers. I hope it is included in subsequent updates.
4. Microsoft Edge
Who doesn’t know Microsoft? A private browser brought to you by a brand name like this is surely worth a try. Although built on the same chromium software, Edge provides quite better security and privacy features than Google Chrome. Here are some of its features worth mentioning:
- Built-in integration with Ad-Block Plus to block ads on your iPhone
- Tracking Prevention – on a scale ranging from Basic, Balanced to Strict.
- Blocking of third-party/all cookies
- Blocking pop-ups
When you visit a web-page with Edge browser on your iPhone, you can check how many trackers it has blocked on that web-page. The more the number of trackers blocked = the better your privacy!
5. Brave Browser
A relatively new name in the web browser community, Brave browser takes internet security and privacy on your iPhone to the next level. Unlike other web browsers where you have to turn individual settings for security and privacy, Brave takes a default approach to block all ads and trackers.
Here are some of its striking features:
- Blocks ads, web trackers by default
- Enforce ‘https’ connection everywhere
- Block phishing attempts
- Block scripts
- Fingerprinting protection
On its homepage, Brave browser also provides a cool summary of how many trackers it blocked and how much time it saved you!
Want to upgrade your private browsing experience on iPhone even higher?
All these private browsers do a great job to block trackers and scripts, making it difficult for websites and advertisers to track you. But they don’t protect your online activities from your Internet Service Provider. Your ISP can still track which websites you visit and what you do online. They don’t usually do this. But then why even leave a trace?
Using a VPN app on your iPhone in tandem with a good private browser can provide a rock-solid foundation to your online privacy.
How do you browse privately on your iPhone?
Name your favorite private browsers for iPhone. How do you manage your privacy and security online? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.