How to Set Safari Security Settings on Your iPad mini

By Edward C. Baig, Bob LeVitus

Along with the riches galore found on the Internet are places in cyberspace where you’re hassled. Luck for you, your iPad mini allows you to change the security settings to protect yourself on the web. To get started, tap the Settings icon on the Home screen and then tap Safari.

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

  • Search Engine: Tap the search engine you desire.

  • Passwords & 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, email addresses, and other information to use when it fills in a form.

    • Tap the Names & Passwords on/off switch to enable or disable, respectively, 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 Saved Passwords and enter your iPad password to manage the passwords you use at particular websites.

    • Tap Credit Cards to manage and enter the credit card numbers you’re comfortable sharing.

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

  • Open New Tabs in Background: If you enable this setting, new tabs that you open in Safari will load even if you’re reading a different page in another tab.

  • Show Favorites Bar: Apple lets you quickly access favorite bookmarks when you enter an address, search, or create a 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.

  • Show Tab Bar: You can display the open tab buttons in a bar near the top of the Safari display or not, another matter of personal preference.

  • 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.

  • Quick Website Search: Determine whether or not to use website shortcuts when you’re searching within a website. For example, you can type wiki FDR to show Wikipedia entries for Franklin Roosevelt.

  • Preload Top Hit: Here you get to choose whether the iPad can provide search engine suggestions, or preload the top hit, or both.

  • Block Cookies: This doesn’t refer to the crumbs you may have accidentally dropped on the mini. 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 Always Block option, you will theoretically never again receive cookies on the mini. Or you can choose to accept cookies only from the website you’re currently visiting or only from the websites you happen to visit. You can also tap Always to accept cookies from all sites. Tap Safari to return to the main Safari Settings page.

    If you set the mini 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.

  • Do Not Track: As the name suggests, if you turn this setting on, the iPad will not trace your cyberfootsteps.

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

  • 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 because 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 drag 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 users should mess with this setting. It’s generally a good idea to leave things as they are, but go with whatever makes you comfortable.

  • Advanced: Although the Advanced settings are indeed advanced, you might want to drop by if you’re curious about how much data you’re consuming at different sites. Developers might also want to check out Advanced settings to turn on a web Inspector feature that most readers need not concern themselves with.