How to Always Start Safari in Private Browsing Mode on a Mac


Apple Mac Safari Browser Logo

If you use Safari on a Mac and would like for your browsing history to stay private but don’t want to always think about having to turn it on, there’s a way to open a new private browsing window every time you launch Safari. Here’s how.

What Is Private Browsing in Safari?

Private Browsing is a mode where Safari doesn’t save your browsing history, AutoFill information, changes to cookies, recent searches, and download history between sessions. The mode also inclues Apple-centric privacy features, such as preventing sharing of browsing information through iCloud. And if you have Handoff enabled, browsing windows do not get passed to your other Apple devices.

Even with all those features, you should be aware that Private Browsing mode does not conceal your browsing history from websites on the internet that might use your IP address to track you across sites, hosts of your network (such as a school or business), or your ISP.

RELATED: The Many Ways Websites Track You Online

How to Always Launch Safari with a New Private Browsing Window

First, launch Safari. In the menu bar at the top of the screen, click “Safari” and select “Preferences.”

Click Preferences in Safari menu on Mac

In the Preferences pop-up window, make sure you’re on the General tab. Look for the option called “Safari Opens With:” located beside a drop-down menu.

Find Safari opens with in Preferences on Mac

Click on the drop-down menu and select “A New Private Window” from the list of options.

Select A new Private Window from drop-down menu in Safari for Mac

Close the Preferences window, quit Safari, and launch Safari again. You should see a window with a “Private Browsing Enabled” notice along the top.

A Private Browsing window in Safari

Now you’re free to use the window as you typically would. Just make sure you close it when you’re done.

RELATED: Five Worthwhile Uses for Private Browsing Mode (Besides Porn)

It’s worth noting that the option we just set only works when you first open Safari.  By default, new windows you open after that will not be private. If you want to open additional Private windows, you’ll need to select File > New Private Window from the menu bar, or use the Shift+Command+N shortcut. Good luck, and happy browsing!

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