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Safari: how to change the default Google search engine on iPhone and Mac

mac iphone safari google Safari: how to change the default Google search engine on iPhone and Mac

Most of you, who have Apple products, most certainly use Safari with Google to search the internet. Indeed, your device is designed like this by default. However, if you want to change Safari’s default search engine on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Mac, you can.

1. The difference between the search engine and web browser

Even if on smartphones the difference is not as obvious, you should not confuse a search engine and a web browser. A search browser does not exist, it is someone who has tangled up the brushes with the 2 terms.

The Navigator gives you access to the web. It is thanks to him that you will be able to enter the web address, the URL of the sites on which you go, including the search engine. The best known examples are: Safari, Google Chrome (different from Google), Opera, Mozilla Firefox, etc.

The search engine cannot be used without a browser. You access it via a site (google.fr for example). Thanks to algorithms, it will respond to your requests when you do not know the name of the site. When you are looking for information, he is the one who gives you a list (sometimes huge) of answers leading you to sites. The most used is Google, but there are also Qwant, Ecosia, Yahoo !, bing, etc.

Now, in most cases, when you type in the address bar of a browser, there are 2 features. You enter either:

  • The site address to go directly to the site, this functionality has always existed;
  • Your search, which is equivalent to searching directly with your default search engine.

In both cases, there are proposals for both sites and searches.

Where it gets complicated is with tablets and smartphones. Indeed, some search engines have their own application, such as browsers.

2. The default search engine

Now that you differentiate the search engine from the browser let’s talk about “default”. It’s cwhich will be used automatically, with no effort on your part.

When you type a search in the top bar of your browser, whether on iPhone or Mac, it will search with your default search engine. If not, you will have to start by going to its site before carrying out your research.

mac safari search bar Safari url: how to change the default Google search engine on iPhone and Mac

Regarding the default browser, this is the one that will be used as soon as you click on a link that is not already in a browser (a document, Messages, Mail, Maps, etc.).

3. Change the default search engine on Safari

3.1. Search engine on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

On iOS and iPadOS, the default browser cannot be changed, it will remain Safari. However, you can still download and use its application.

Safari, on iPhone and iPad, includes a proposal from 4 search engines. To change it:

3.1.1. Open the app Settings ;

3.1.2. Go to Safari > Search engine ;

3.1.3. Choose between Google, Yahoo, Bin and DuckDuckGo.

iphone safari search engine Safari: how to change the default Google search engine on iPhone and Mac

The one you want is not on this list? Look on the side of the App Store, some search engines are available.

iphone app store Safari search engine: how to change the default Google search engine on iPhone and Mac

3.2. Search engine with macOS Catalina Safari

Normally, each browser allows you to change the default search engine. The approach varies for each of them. Let’s focus on Safari.

3.2.1. Safari Proposals

It is not clearly marked “default search engine”, but it is just as clear and quick to access.

3.2.1.1. Open Safari ;

3.2.1.2. Click on the address bar, above it;

3.2.1.3. If something is written, erase everything (no need to press the Enter key);

3.2.1.4. On the left, in the same bar, click on the magnifying glass;

3.2.1.5. Choose between Google, Yahoo, Bin and DuckDuckGo.

mac safari search bar url Safari suggestions: how to change the default Google search engine on iPhone and Mac

You will notice that the 4 search engines offered are the same as on iOS and iPadOS.

3.2.2. Safari extensions

We agree, 4 choices is not a lot. And going to the site of a search engine every time is neither fast, nor practical, nor pleasant.

To be able to make another one your default search engine, its Safari extension must exist.

3.2.2.1. Open the Mac App store ;

3.2.2.2. Look for the search engine of your choice;

3.2.2.3. Click on Get and Install, like installing a normal app;

mac extensions app store Safari search engine: how to change the default Google search engine on iPhone and Mac

3.2.2.4. If requested, enter your password;

3.2.2.5. Open Safari ;

3.2.2.6. Go to Safari > Preferences ;

mac safari preferences Safari: how to change the default Google search engine on iPhone and Mac

3.2.2.7. In the menu at the top, click on Extensions ;

3.2.2.8. Locate your search engine / extension and tick it.

mac safari preferences extensions Safari: how to change the default Google search engine on iPhone and Mac

3.2.3. The alternative: Safari settings

You will have noticed, between the 4 proposals and the extensions, it is far from covering all the existing search engines. Chances are you still haven’t found your favorite.

In this case, you can change the default home page and new tab. This will not change the default search engine, which will be used in the bar, but with each new page or new tab, you will be directly on the site of the right search engine.

3.2.3.1. Open Safari ;

3.2.3.2. (optional) Go to your favorite search engine and copy the address;

3.2.3.3. Go to Safari > Preferences > General ;

3.2.3.4. In “Home page”, enter (or paste) the address of the search engine;

3.2.3.5. In “New windows open” and / or “New tabs open”, choose the home page.

mac safari preferences general Safari: how to change the default Google search engine on iPhone and Mac

…).

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