iOS 8 Lets You Switch to Private Search Engine

As Internet search engines go, Google is a fairly inoffensive one, but if you're assiduous about online privacy, it's perhaps not the best choice. Privacy enthusiasts and conspiracy theorists alike should be pleased to hear that in iOS 8, users can choose to make another Internet search engine the default for Apple's Safari Web browser, and one of the options is the privacy-friendly DuckDuckGo.

Graham Cluley, a prominent security researcher, wrote up the procedure for ESET's WeLiveSecurity blog. iOS 8 users who would rather not use Google can instead select Bing, Yahoo or DuckDuckGo.

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Google, Bing and Yahoo are relatively known quantities, but if you're not familiar with DuckDuckGo, you're not alone. The search engine distinguishes itself by not tracking users or skewing searches toward advertisers' preferences. Everyone who searches on DuckDuckGo gets exactly the same results; the tradeoff is that the results are not quite as refined as those from larger engines.

Interested users should find the switching process easy. Simply boot up your iOS 8 device, navigate to the Settings menu and select Safari. From there, tap on Search Engine and then DuckDuckGo. If you find you don't like it, you can always switch back in the same way.

DuckDuckGo may be good for privacy, but keep in mind that it does not offer any additional security features; it is not any "safer" to search with than Yahoo, Google or Bing. Sifting through generalized search results may also require a little more effort than users are accustomed to, particularly for those users whom Google or Bing have gotten to know very well.

Otherwise, while it's not possible to keep your online presence 100 percent private, DuckDuckGo is as good a tool as any for staying as low-profile as possible.

Marshall Honorof is a Staff Writer for Tom's Guide. Contact him at mhonorof@tomsguide.com. Follow him @marshallhonorof and on Google+. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.