Apple redirects Google Safe Browsing traffic in iOS 14.5

How to use the Smart Search bar in Safari on iPhone and iPad
How to use the Smart Search bar in Safari on iPhone and iPad (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Apple has confirmed it is redirecting Google Safe Browsing traffic in iOS 14.5 through its own servers to better protect user info.

Apple's head of WebKit engineering has confirmed that Safari is now redirecting Google Safe Browsing traffic through its own servers to protect user information in iOS 14.

Commenting on a recent The 8-bit article, Maciej Stachowiak, Apple's head of WebKit stated:

This article is a bit confused on the details of how Safe Browsing works, but in the new iOS beta, Safari does indeed proxy the service via Apple servers to limit the risk of information leak.

As we have previously explained, Safari on iOS uses a Fraudulent Website Warning to protect user privacy data. From Apple:

Apple protects user privacy and safeguards your data with Safari Fraudulent Website Warning, a security feature that flags websites known to be malicious in nature. When the feature is enabled, Safari checks the website URL against lists of known websites and displays a warning if the URL the user is visiting is suspected of fraudulent conduct like phishing. To accomplish this task, Safari receives a list of websites known to be malicious from Google, and for devices with their region code set to mainland China, it receives a list from Tencent. The actual URL of a website you visit is never shared with a safe browsing provider and the feature can be turned off.

Safari checks any web page you try to visit against a list of websites known to be malicious, represented by hash prefixes. As noted, whilst the URL of the website is never shared and the feature can be switched off, Apple is now also routing these requests through its own servers to further limit the possibility of a data leak.

You can read our full explanation on Safari Fraudulent Website Warnings here.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design.

Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9

  • Whats to stop Apple from adding websites to the list, or blocking other websites that shouldn't be on any list? Not to mention Apple could redirect its users to their proxy servers, and serve up Apples versions of web pages to an actual real websites pages. Plus the worst part is Apple could technically capture every piece of login information to other websites, if Apple, or any of Apples employees wanted to.
  • Sounds legit. The Apple kind of legit.