iOS 17 Safari — all the new stuff coming to Apple's mobile browser

An iPhone screen with the Safari app tile in a prominent position
(Image credit: Nicole Lienemann /

iOS 17 is bringing several upgrades to Safari, the iPhone's default browser, that combined may be enough to tempt you away from a third-party browser like Chrome or Firefox.

You'll have to wait until the fall to try these for yourself (unless you want to try out the iOS 17 developer beta), but thanks to Apple's in-depth WWDC 2023 presentation, we already know a good number of features that are incoming to Safari. The updates should have the cumulative effect of making browsing simpler, more productive and more secure, so we can't wait to try them for ourselves.

You can read our summary of the top seven new iOS 17 Safari features below. If you're curious about other incoming updates for your iPhone, then have a look at our guides to FaceTime, AirDrop and the new Journal app in iOS 17 too.

iOS 17 Safari: Profiles

Profiles in iOS 17 Safari

(Image credit: Apple)

Apple's biggest announcement for Safari this year is the new Profiles system. Similar to Focus modes in iOS as a whole, setting up a Profile gives you an individual set of open tabs and tab groups, history, and favorites. You can swap between your work and personal profiles, or perhaps profiles for different projects you're working on, so you can focus more easily on the task at hand.

iOS 17 Safari: Private Browsing lock with Touch ID/Face ID

Whatever you're using Private Browsing mode for, chances are you don't want someone to accidentally see what's in your tabs when they happen to glance at your iPhone. Fortunately for you, iOS 17 will make lock these tabs up when you're not actively using them, requiring a Face ID or Touch ID check (depending on your iPhone) to open them back up.

iOS 17 Safari: Search improvements

The new search interface in iOS 17 Safari

(Image credit: Apple)

If you're using Safari, there's a fair chance you're searching for something. And usefully, iOS 17 is bringing some improvements to this. Apple promises search results in Safari will be more relevant, as well as easier to read. The demo showed several regular search results below a widget showing the current scores for the MLS game the user is looking for.

iOS 17 Safari: Private Browsing tracker removal

There's arguably not much use opening a private tab if other websites can still monitor what you're doing. In a further tightening of Safari security, Private Browsing windows in iOS 17 now block tracking cookies and delete the URL tracking tags that some websites add to the end of links that would otherwise keep tabs on your adventures across the web.

iOS 17 Safari: Autofill verification codes from Mail app

A graphic illustrating autofilling verification codes in iOS 17 Safari

(Image credit: Apple)

Your iPhone is already smart enough to detect when a verification code for a website comes into your Messages app, popping the code up at the top of your keyboard for easy input. That system's growing in iOS 17 to include the Mail app too, hopefully streamlining even more of your log-ins.

iOS 17 Safari: Password sharing

Users of iCloud's Keychain feature will be able to share usernames and passwords with select groups in iOS 17, with credentials automatically updating if you change something. This feature works across iOS apps, but Safari is likely to be the one that gets the most use out of this collaborative feature.

iOS 17 Safari: Auto-pause for GIFs

A nice quality-of-life ability in iOS 17 is the ability to pause all GIFs that show up on your iPhone by default, including in Safari. By using the Animated Images toggle in the Accessibility settings, the only GIFs that will play when browsing the web are the ones that you set to play yourself.

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Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.