An Apple executive has revealed a new feature in iOS 17 that allows you to change the default search engine on your iPhone when using Safari in private browsing mode, according to Bloomberg Friday.
The admission came during the ongoing Google artitrust lawsuit brought forward by the US Department of Justice, where Apple was brought on as a witness in the lawsuit regarding its multibillion-dollar deal that makes Google the default search engine on iPhones.
John Giannandrea, Apple’s senior vice president of machine learning and AI, revealed that in iOS 17, which ships with the new iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro, users can set two default search engines: one for regular browsing and one for private browsing.
For those who don’t want Google gleaning their data in private browsing mode on iPhone, they now have an option to choose an alternative search engine. Or maybe you don’t mind having Google as your default search engine, but would prefer DuckDuckGo while in private browsing. With iOS 17, it’s now possible. And for added privacy protection, it’s not a bad idea to also use an iPhone VPN.
The ability to change your default search engine in iOS 17 comes as the US DoJ ratchets up pressure on Big Tech and the power it has over online markets. The US government accuses Google of maintaining a monopoly in online search and online ad sales. While the trial is ongoing, a central issue has been deals Google made with Apple, Samsung and Mozilla to make its search engine default to their browsers.
While it’s possible to change the default search engine in settings, people seldom do. One report found that 99% of phone users in the UK have Google set as the default search engine. Google controls nearly 92% of the online search market, giving it much greater access to user data. It can then use that data to continue fine-tuning its search, making it harder for competitors to break through.
How to change default search engine in iOS 17
- Go to Settings.
- Tap on Safari.
- Look for Search.
- Select either Search Engine or Private Search Engine.
- Choose either Google, Yahoo, Bing, DuckDuckGo or Ecosia.
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