Smart Safari Settings for You iPad with iOS 10

By Edward C. Baig, Bob LeVitus

Safari is your iPad’s portal to the web. Along with the riches galore found on the Internet are places in cyberspace where you’re hassled. You might want to take action to protect your privacy and maintain your security.

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, DuckDuckGo, or, if you’ve enabled a Chinese keyboard, Baidu. Other settings found here let you determine whether the iPad can make Search Engine Suggestions and Safari Suggestions.
  • Passwords: Use a finger to authorize Touch ID (or type your password), and you can view and edit the passwords you use all over the Internet.
  • 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 and 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 Credit Cards to manage and enter the credit card numbers you’re comfortable sharing. Tap Saved Credit Cards to view the cards you’ve saved on your tablet or to add others.

Turning on AutoFill can compromise your security if someone gets hold of your iPad. It can also affect security across all your iCloud-enabled devices.

  • 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.
  • Favorites: Apple lets you quickly access favorite bookmarks when you enter an address, search, or create a tab. Tap the category of sites for which you’d like to see icons in that category (News, Business, Technology, whatever). A check mark appears next to your selection. Or if you’re cool with it, leave the default category setting as Favorites.
  • Show Favorites Bar: 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 preload the top hit in the background.
  • Block Cookies: We’re not talking about crumbs you may have accidentally dropped on the iPad. 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, take action and block cookies from third parties and advertisers: Tap the Always Block option, and you will theoretically never again receive cookies on the iPad. Or 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 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.

  • 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: You met this option earlier. Tap it 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.
  • Check for Apple Pay: If you come to a website that accepts Apple Pay (Apple’s mobile payments service), the site can check whether you have Apple Pay enabled on your tablet. Make sure this switch is off if you’re not comfortable with this idea.
  • 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. Go with whatever makes you comfortable.

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.