Software & Apps

Can Private Browsing Be Traced on iPhone? (Explained)

Can Private Browsing Be Traced On Iphone

There is an increasing awareness about the importance of keeping our privacy protected. Many iPhone users seem to think that private browsing is the solution to keeping your internet activity anonymous, but does it really keep your browsing completely private? Unfortunately, it does not. In fact, it offers little privacy protection against external parties wishing to track your internet usage.

What Is Private Browsing and What Does It Do?

The Safari and Google web browsers give you the option to browse privately, but how private are you? Private browsing on an iPhone prevents your internet activity, such as your search history and cookies being stored by your phone.

Private browsing also doesn’t save any private information such as email addresses or passwords and inhibits the ability to autofill online forms. Normal browsing allows cookies and data tracking to accumulate. This allows certain service providers to get an idea of who you are and what you are interested in.  

When a browser caches online content such as usernames, passwords, and images, it helps to expedite logging into websites and auto-filling online forms. This is often very useful and helps users avoid tedious repetition. However, the storage of this data can put your privacy at risk

Most of the time, your cookies and data gather the information that is used by companies to improve the performance of their website or for marketing purposes. This information can also be sold to third parties. Although most of these activities are not malicious or harmful, they can be if your information falls into the wrong hands. 

The private browser does what it claims to do – it allows you to browse the internet without your browser recording your search history, storing cookies, or saving certain private information

Essentially, it is the same as using a standard internet browser and then deleting your history and cookies once you are done. This is ideal if you want to keep your internet presence secretive from the people that will look at or use your phone, but it doesn’t do much to stop external parties from viewing your outgoing traffic 

Unfortunately, the term ‘Private browsing’ is a bit of an oversimplification. While it is great at stopping your browser from recording certain information and data on your phone, many users have the misconception that all their data and traffic is completely off the radar. This is most certainly not the case. 

What Private Browsing Doesn’t Do and Why You Can Still Be Tracked?

The purpose of private browsing is to stop your device from automatically storing your information, such as your search history or cookies. However, it is worth noting that websites and files that you download or bookmark will still be saved. These will not be kept private by the private browser, and anyone can view these files just as easily as they would be able to with a normal browser.

It is also important to close your private browser when you are finished as your private browsing session continues if your browser is still active in the background.

Although private browsing prevents people from viewing the logs of your history and data on your device, the data or traffic sent from your device is still able to be tracked as it remains unencrypted.

So if you are logged into a public network, such as at work or school, the logs of your internet activity will still be visible to the owners of the network and your internet service provider

Not only does private browsing do very little to keep you anonymous online, but it also does not help in hiding your location. Since the outgoing traffic is not encrypted, websites can still identify the location of where you are connecting from. This means that a private browser cannot be used to access websites that are not available in your current location on standard browsers.

The IP address of your phone and data related to it are still fully visible to external parties when private browsing. Anyone monitoring the traffic on the network that you are using will still be able to see your online activity

Even though cookies are not stored on your browser, websites can still track your phone and your behavior through their website. The servers that host the websites can also see this information.

Your network service provider can still view your online activity and data whether you are using private browsing or not. Some devices and networks even have monitoring software installed that will be able to record your internet activity even if you are private browsing.


As you can see, there isn’t much additional privacy that comes with private browsing. Private browsing is great if you want to stop anyone using your phone from seeing what you have been up to online, but it does little to stop your browsing activity from being tracked.

If you want to keep your browsing private from everyone, other options are far more effective than the private browser or incognito mode.

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