Apple Safari’s New Privacy Feature: Locking Private Tabs with Face ID

Apple Safari's New Privacy Feature: Locking Private Tabs with Face ID

Apple’s latest iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 updates have introduced a range of exciting features, including Contact Posters, NameDrop, and Standby mode. However, one of the standout additions is the ability to lock private tabs in Safari using Face ID or Touch ID. This new privacy-enhancing feature ensures your sensitive browsing remains confidential, even when sharing your device with others. In this guide, we’ll show you how to make the most of this security feature.

How to Lock Safari Private Tabs with Face ID or Touch ID

  1. Accessing Private Browsing: The process of locking private tabs begins with accessing the Private Browsing mode in Safari. Simply swipe from the Tabs screen to reveal this option. Locked tabs will display a message confirming that “Private Browsing is Locked.”
  2. Initial Setup: When you open Safari for the first time after updating to iOS 17, a pop-up will appear, allowing you to quickly set up Face ID authentication for locking private tabs. If you happen to miss this step, you can enable it manually.
  3. Manual Activation: To manually enable Face ID or Touch ID for locking private tabs, follow these steps:
    • Open the ‘Settings’ app on your iPhone or iPad.
    • Scroll down and find ‘Safari.’
    • Inside the Safari settings, enable the ‘Require Face ID to Unlock Private Browsing’ toggle.
  4. Using Face ID or Touch ID: Once you’ve enabled this feature, Safari will prompt you to unlock your private tabs using Face ID or Touch ID, even if your device is already unlocked. This added layer of security ensures that your private browsing sessions remain inaccessible to others.
  5. Automatic Locking: It’s important to note that Private Browsing will automatically lock your tabs when you exit Safari, leave Private Browsing mode, or lock your device. This ensures continuous protection for your private browsing activities.

Additional Privacy Features

Apart from the ability to lock private tabs, Safari in iOS 17 offers several other privacy-enhancing features:

  • Advanced Tracking and Fingerprinting Protection: Protects your online privacy by blocking advanced tracking methods and fingerprinting.
  • Enhanced Extension Control: Automatically disables extensions with website access, enhancing your browsing security.
  • Option to Hide IP Address: Safari also provides the option to hide your IP address, adding an extra layer of anonymity to your online activities.


With the introduction of iOS 17 and iPadOS 17, Apple continues to prioritize user privacy and security. The ability to lock private tabs in Safari using Face ID or Touch ID is a welcome addition, ensuring that your sensitive information remains safeguarded. To enjoy these features, make sure to update your device and enable the necessary settings in Safari.

Is this feature available for all iOS devices?

This feature is available for a wide range of iOS devices, including iPhones and iPads. Check if your device is eligible for the iOS 17 update to utilize this feature.

Can I lock private tabs with Touch ID instead of Face ID?

Yes, you have the option to use either Face ID or Touch ID to lock your private tabs, depending on your device’s capabilities.

What happens if I forget to lock my private tabs?

Private tabs will automatically lock when you exit Safari, leave Private Browsing mode, or lock your device, ensuring your privacy is maintained.

Are similar features available in other browsers like Chrome for iOS?

Yes, Chrome for iOS offers a similar feature that allows you to lock Incognito tabs behind Face ID or Touch ID for added security.