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Smart Safari Settings on Your iPad

Safari on your iPad enables you to protect your privacy and maintain your security while you're surfing the 'Net. To get started, tap the Settings icon on the Home screen and then tap Safari.

The following settings enable you to tell your iPad what you want to be private and how you want to set your security options:

  • Search Engine: Tap the search engine you desire (just as long as that search engine happens to be Google, Yahoo!, Bing, or Baidu).

  • AutoFill: Safari can automatically fill out web forms by using your personal contact information, usernames and passwords, or information from your other contacts. Tap AutoFill and then tap the On/Off switch to enable or disable AutoFill.

    • Tap Use Contact Info if you’re comfortable using the information found about your Contacts.

    • Tap My Info to select yourself in your contacts so that Safari knows which address, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and other information to use when it fills in a form.

    • Tap the Names & Passwords On/Off switch to enable or disable Safari’s capability to remember usernames and passwords for websites. You also get to decide whether credit card information can be used and saved.

    • Tap Clear All to permanently delete all saved AutoFill names and passwords.

    Turning on AutoFill can compromise your security if someone gets hold of your iPad.

  • Open New Tabs in Background: Enable this, and when you open new tabs in Safari, they’ll load, even if you’re reading a different page in another tab.

  • Favorites/Show Favorites Bar: Apple lets you quickly access Favorite bookmarks when you enter an address, search or create a new tab. If you’re cool with this, leave the default setting as Favorites. If you enable the Show Favorites Bar option, you’ll be able to see Safari’s Bookmarks bar between the smart search field and Tab bar.

  • Block Pop-ups: Pop-ups are those web pages that appear whether or not you want them to. Often, they’re annoying advertisements. But on some sites, you welcome the appearance of pop-ups, so remember to turn off blocking under such circumstances.

  • Smart Search Field: Here you get to pick whether the iPad can provide search engine suggestions, and/or preload the “Top Hit.”

  • Cookies: Cookies are tiny bits of information that a website places on the iPad when you visit so that the site recognizes you when you return. You need not assume the worst; most cookies are benign.

    If this concept wigs you out, you can take action and block cookies from third parties and advertisers: If you tap the Never option, you will theoretically never again receive cookies on the iPad. Of course, you can always receive cookies, too. You can also tap Always to accept cookies from all sites.

    If you set the iPad so that it doesn’t accept cookies, certain web pages won’t load properly, and other sites such as Amazon won’t recognize you or make any of your preferred settings or recommendations available.

    Tap Safari to return to the main Safari Settings page.

  • Clear History: Tap this button to erase everything in Safari’s History, leaving nary a trace of the pages you’ve visited.

  • Clear Cookies and Data: Tap this button to clear all your stored cookies (see the earlier bullet on cookies for more details).

  • Fraudulent Website Warning: Safari can warn you when you land on a site whose producers have sinister intentions. The protection is better than nothing, but don’t let down your guard. The Fraud Warning feature isn’t foolproof. The setting is on by default.

  • JavaScript: Programmers use JavaScript to add various kinds of functionality to web pages, from displaying the date and time to changing images when you mouse over them. However, some security risks have also been associated with JavaScript.

    If you do turn it off, though, some things might not work as you expect. But this setting is found under the Advanced topic for a reason, meaning that Apple doesn’t think too many of you should mess with this setting. Go with whatever makes you comfortable.

  • Advanced: Although the Advanced settings are indeed advanced, you can drop by if you’re curious about how much data you’re consuming at different sites. Those statistics are found here.

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