How to View Private Browsing History on iPhone?

Today, users are more concerned about their online privacy than they were ever before. The reason is the increased number of cybercrime cases that have scared everyone on the internet out there.

Due to this reason, almost every browser including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc. has now integrated a private browsing window. This allows the users to surf the internet without leaving a single trail of their information to anyone.

Private browsing however comes with pros and cons both. On one hand, it can safeguard our privacy by eliminating the risk of being tracked but, on the other hand, it is a big concern for parents whose children spend time on the internet.

Since using a private browser is as simple as using a regular browser, anyone can access it. Additionally, you cannot only browse privately on desktop but your smartphones as well and since even kids nowadays have smartphones, the parents need to keep a track of their children’s internet activities.

If we talk about iPhone’s browser, it also allows private browsing but, the main question here is, can you view Safari’s private browsing history?

Whether you are a parent who wants to keep their kids in check or want to find a website from the history you once visited, this article will tell you how to view private browsing history on iPhone?

What Safari Can and Cannot Keep Private?

The private or incognito mode on your iPhone’s Safari browser indeed offers a safer browsing experience but, does it actually keeps every single thing private? Here is what the Safari can and cannot keep private even when you are in an incognito mode:

Things hidden

  • The web history on the private mode of Safari isn’t stored when you close the tabs.
  • It does not let most of the websites add tracking cookies to your iPhone.
  • Any password or data provided in this mode isn’t saved.
  • The auto-completion of saved passwords or data is not allowed.

Things not hidden

  • Unfortunately, your IP address is exposed while browsing on a private mode.
  • Your internet service provider can see your smartphone and its behavior even when you are using an incognito mode.
  • The servers of the website you visit can see your activity.
  • If you save any bookmark in the private window, it will be available in a normal browser as well, even if you have closed the incognito tabs.

How to View Private Browsing History on iPhone – 3 Easy Ways

Luckily, there are a few applications that allow you to revisit the browsing history of your iPhone’s private browser. The only issue here is that these apps are either not credible or are pretty expensive.

This is why it is suggested to reduce your browsing activities on a private browser rather than spending money on any of these applications.

Previously, iPhone users were able to view their private browsing history but, since the iOS versions keep on updating, this luxury was dismissed. Despite the fact, many users are still able to view their incognito browsing history, how?

Here are three easy ways that you can try:

  1. View the Website Data List

This list in the settings of your iPhone lets you check every single website you have visited on the Safari browser including those visited in Private mode as well. Remember, the list only shows the main websites visited, and not the exact page you browsed.

If you find any unfamiliar website in the list, don’t worry as it also shows the requests along with the websites. Via the Website Data List, you cannot see the date and time at which you visited the website on either of the browser modes.

Following are the steps that will lead you to the Website Data List on your iPhone:

  • Open Settings.

  • Type Safari in the search bar and open it.

  • Locate Advanced present at the bottom of the list and tap on it.

  • Here you will see Website Data, tap to enter.

  • Finally, an entire list of websites visited to date can be viewed from there.

Note: The newer iOS versions i.e., 11 or later might not display the website data that you visited using Private mode or have deleted from your browser.

  1. Through iCloud backup

iCloud backup is probably the easiest way to retrieve your private browsing data. But, in order to utilize this method, you must have a proper backup in your iPhone with Safari synced with it.

Here is how you can find out the deleted browsing data on your iPhone:

  • Before starting, make sure to run a backup process so that the most recent backup data is created.
  • Now, open Settings on your iPhone.

  • Choose General

  • Locate the option Reset by scrolling down a bit, tap on it.

  • From the options, choose “Erase All Content and Settings”.

  • Enter your passcode to proceed further.
  • As the process finishes, your iPhone will restart.
  • Once restarted, set it up.
  • While setting it up, you will be shown an option to Restore from an iCloud Backup, tap on it.
  • This will restore your browsing history including the deleted ones as well.
  1. Check the private window tabs

Since the private browsing history on your iPhone isn’t stored anywhere, it is practically impossible to see it. The only way to figure out your recent activity on the private browsing mode is to open Safari and check if any of the tabs are opened in the Private window.

This can help you revisit your recently visited websites because when you close Safari without removing the tabs from Private mode, the websites stay there. Moreover, Safari lets you open hundreds of tabs at once.

So, if you are one of those people who don’t close the tabs, you can easily look for your private browsing history by visiting these tabs. But, if you close the tab as soon as you are done with your work, there cannot be any way around to check out which sites you had visited earlier.

If you have very few tabs open and you want to see some older private browsing history, try pressing the back button so that you can see all the visited sites on a single tab.

However, if you have visited only one site on a single tab or you don’t have all the tabs opened in your Private browsing mode, you won’t be able to revisit your incognito browsing history.

Software That Can Help to View Private Browsing History on iPhone

Always remember, every software discussed below works differently so, make sure to understand each before trying it out.

  1. Keylogger Software

This application is used to record almost everything you do, touch, or type on your phone. If you type anything to search in the Private mode of Safari, the app can help you determine what it was. Furthermore, this app also lets you view all the websites you visited in the incognito mode of Safari.

Note: Due to strict security concerns, Apple doesn’t allow this app to be installed. You can only get this application if you have got your phone jailbroken.

  1. SQLite

Another very famous tool that claims to trace and access the activities carried out on iPhone’s private browser is SQLite. In the database file, the entire list containing URLs of all the websites that you have visited in Safari’s incognito mode are stored.

To view the private browsing history on your iPhone, you need to have the database file containing these URLs and an SQLite browser that offers easy access to the database.

For the Mac users, the steps are mentioned below:

  • Open Finder and select the Go
  • Now press and hold the Option key and as soon as Library appears, click on it.
  • From here, open the Safari
  • Click and drag the file named ‘WebpageIcons.db’ to the SQLite browser.
  • You will see the Browse Data tab, click on it.
  • Finally, you can view all the URLs you have visited even those via a Private browser.

Note: This browser works for most of the users but is highly susceptible to be infected by hackers as they can easily inject malicious code into the devices having SQLite browser installed.

All in All

Now you know, viewing the private browsing history on your iPhone is a tedious task no matter whichever option you choose. Since these browsers are integrated with private modes that are designed to offer you a secret browsing experience and nothing is stored, it is surely challenging to revisit the websites you opened.

Though there are some methods and software tools as well that can do the job for you, it is important to be very careful while choosing any of the software mentioned above. The foremost reason is security as any of these software are highly vulnerable to being hacked.