How FaceID works in private browsing in Safari

If you have recently updated to iOS 17 and you still don’t know some of its most useful functions, today we bring you one that is related to security and internet browsing. In this latest version of the operating system, a FaceID unlock may now be required to access private browsing tabs in Safari. So if you want to know more about this function, and how it is configured, in this post we are going to explain everything to you.

In order to make private browsing even more private, Apple has decided to incorporate an extra security step when accessing certain content in our browser. FaceID is the key to all this, and it is not the first time we have seen this protection measure in other Apple applications. A clear example is when, in iOS 16, they decided to incorporate FaceID to access our deleted photos and the Hidden album, in the Photos app.

How to activate FaceID for private browsing

Before explaining the process, it is very important that you know that, first of all, you must have at least one aspect of FaceID configured on the iPhone. That is why if we do not have FaceID activated and working on the iPhone, we will not be able to have this function.

Additionally, this tool is available in iOS 17 for phones that are older. So, if we have an iPhone XR, XS or iPhone 11, we will be able to have it activated without any problem.

The first thing we are going to do is go to Settings > Safari. In this context menu we will have to go down to the bottom, until we find a box with several available options:

  • Prevent tracking between them
  • Hide IP address
  • Require FaceID to unlock private browsing
  • Scam Website Notice

Of all these options, we are going to have to stick with the third, which is called Require FaceID to unlock private browsing. Here we can enter a scenario where several things can happen. The first of them is that, when we start Safari for the first time after having installed iOS 17, and we want to access private browsing, a warning message will appear that will tell us if we want to leave this option configured. If we accept, this would be activated directly from the browser.

We may also come across the case that we prefer to configure this later. Again, if we have missed this wiggle in Safari, we can postpone this configuration. Therefore, when we access this section of the settings, we will find this option disabled.

Safari icon

Be that as it may, when we activate the switch, when we open Safari, nothing will appear, unless we do the following. If we are in a private browsing window, and we exit the application (it is not necessary to close it), when we reopen it and want to access this navigation tab, we will be told that we need to unlock with FaceID to see the content.

If this option is not activated, and we do what we indicated above, when we want to access the private browsing tab again, the content will be shown to us without us having to do anything additional.