The best iOS browsers for your iPhone and iPad
Thanks to Apple’s iOS 14 update, you can finally change your default web browser on your iPad and iPhone, here are some of the best ones…
Comparing 7 of the best browsers for Apple iOS devices
Spending all day shopping and reading on the internet can get tiring, especially when adverts leap out at you from more than one screen. These are 7 of the best browsers to bring you peace and privacy. From buttons that delete your search history to new ways of saving and simplifying your reading material, get one of these downloaded on your iPad and iPhone pronto.
On Apple mobile devices, you will have Safari pre-loaded as soon as you power up the first time. Being the default browser doesn’t make it a bad choice though. With Apple, their software, including Safari, is designed to help you use your iPhone or iPad, so there are less worries about privacy and them using your data (see: Google). In fact, Safari puts in place blockers to prevent anyone tracking your progress online and so you’ll be able to see who is trying to follow you.
The browser also has a tip top incognito mode, which will keep your web page history secret and keep your private details safe. Another really useful features is the Reader Mode, which strips web pages down to the bare bones of text and you can also quickly save articles to your Reading List and home page. As you’d expect, Safari works smoothly opening links to the App Store and iTunes and overall offers a safe, fast and good looking web experience on the go.
By now you may well be familiar with how Google works, in relation to your data. Specifically, your online movements are tracked when you use Google Chrome. If you are comfortable with this, Chrome remains the world’s most popular browser and sports features that work well on iPads and iPhones. Add to that, if you use Chrome on your desktop, you can quite easily handoff webpages, emails and bookmarks Mac to iPad/iPhone or vice versa.
Chrome is also a nifty mover, when it comes displaying pages, taking up to 50% less time to serve up pages in Data Saving Mode. Chrome also features a ‘drag down to refresh’ feature and Google Translate can convert text into another language, showing how handy it is to have those Google apps just built into the browser.
It may seem unnatural to use a Microsoft browser on an Apple device but Edge has some really effective features, as befits a project that shares some DNA with Google Chrome. That just means it has plenty to recommend it. Security is a big feature for this browser, so that is a major plus. Tracking Prevention and AdBlock Plus are two big reasons to download Microsoft Edge. Hide your browsing history from third parties and stop websites you haven’t visited from following you around you online.
Fancy earning Microsoft Rewards points to put towards Xbox and Microsoft Store gift cards, sweepstakes or donations? Start collecting by using Microsoft Bing on Edge for your web browsing and Cortana voice searches. Edge is a useful and secure alternative if you want something different to Safari.
Mozilla’s Firefox has been around a few years and was a developer’s favourite for a while. What that means for Apple fans is it can be a good alternative to some of the better known browsers. Firefox features Enhanced Tracking Protection which can block social media trackers, cookie trackers and fingerprint trackers. Firefox also works very smoothly if you already use it on a desktop browser; whizzing you between webpages and bookmarks on two or more devices. So if you’re looking for a good alternative to Safari and Chrome, consider Firefox.
With a name you won’t forget DuckDuckGo is the iOS browser choice if high security and data privacy is very important to you. DDG will delete your data and browsing history, when you tap the flame icon unless you chose to fireproof the website. DuckDuckGo is a dedicated app with great security features for iOS devices. Privacy is everything, so you’ll need Face ID or Touch ID to get this unlocked.
DuckDuckGo also lets you know how safe websites are with a privacy score rating from A to F and a list of what the browser has successfully blocked. With Global Privacy Control built in, no third party trackers or websites can collect, share or sell your personal data. And with its Enforce Encryption power, DuckDuckGo will land you safely on the most secure version of every website (HTTPS not HTTP).
Another solid option for your browsing comfort is Opera. Called Opera Touch, once upon a time. Whether it’s the standard bottom navigation or the purple Fast Action Button, Opera Browser is award-winningly slick. Everything can be done in a single tap, from opening and refreshing to closing your tabs. Opera comes with blockers for ads and pop-ups so you can feel less hassled online. And while you are doing all that, Opera gives you a crisp and clear interface, making it easier to shop, blog or do a little research on the move.
No need to open an incognito tab for total privacy and secrecy, Ghostery doesn’t gather your data unless you opt in. And even then, everything’s kept anonymous. You can’t be monitored, tracked or profiled.
And it’s not just the internet you can enjoy like no one’s watching, but the apps on your Apple iOS device too. Ghostery’s WiFi Protection Browser connects you to their VPN, so you can filter and block trackers almost everywhere on your iPhone or iPad.
Also, the Automatic Forget Mode stops adult content being stored in your browsing history and the URL bar helps you spot suspicious websites and phishing scams. You can even stop cookie pop-ups with its dedicated blocker. All of which makes Ghostery Privacy Browser a strong back-to-basics contender for web browsing on your iOS devices.
Why should you use the same browser on all iOS products?
Using the same browser for all your Apple products, means your search profile can be synchronised over all of them. Choose the best browser for your Mac, as well as your iPhone and iPad, then create an account and sign in on all your devices, so your browsing history, bookmarks, tabs and encrypted passwords can sync up automatically. Everywhere.
Using Safari on all your Apple iOS devices, for example, means iCloud Keychain will can unlock your iPhone, iPad or Mac by remembering your passwords for you. Signed into your iCloud account, using the same Apple ID, you’ll see the web pages open on your other iOS devices, as well as your Reading Lists. And wherever you’re using the Safari web browser, you can use the Handoff feature to continue reading on another screen from where you left off.
Prefer Chrome? Sign into your Google Account on all your devices to personalise your search results and ad settings, as well as autofill your payment details and passwords quicker than you can type.
Microsoft Edge’s newest feature lets you sync your history and open tabs across your signed in devices. It can link your iPhone and iPad with your Windows PC, sharing your Cortana voice-search settings and everything saved in your Password Manager, as well as the usual data you’d expect.
Finally, you can use Opera Browser on all your devices without signing in or creating a special account. When you’ve scanned the QR code to set Opera Browser on your desktop, you can use the Flow feature to share your current tab, links, notes, videos or files from your iPhone and iPad to your Mac or laptop. Not quite the same as syncing, which is automatic, but convenient enough to be worth consideration.
So what’s the best browser for iPad, iPhone and iOS devices?
It really depends on what you’re trying to do. Apple would tell you Safari’s the best browser for their iOS devices. It’s the only one designed and downloaded specially, onto your iPad and iPhone, to protect your data and give you the best experience online. Unlike Opera Browser and Mozilla Firefox, which also use Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention, Safari lets you save links for later.
Opera Browser can’t bookmark webpages, and while it’s possible on Mozilla Firefox, you can’t delete or manage your PC’s bookmarks on your iPhone or iPad as they’re listed separately.
But Safari isn’t suitable for everyone. Your Windows PC or Android mobiles and tablets can’t use it, which is why you might consider Google Chrome or an alternative, if you’re using more devices than your iPad or iPhone.
From DuckDuckGo to Ghostery, plenty more browsers offer you greater privacy. Choose your new browser based on how much secrecy and protection you need, as well as the features you’d enjoy such as Apple Pay or Google Pay.