How to change Safari's default search engine

Safari search bar iPhone X
Safari search bar iPhone X (Image credit: iMore)

As you know, Safari was created by Apple and comes bundled into iOS and macOS, making it the go-to option for many Apple fans. If that sounds like you, you may find it useful to be able to customize your browsing experience by changing the default search engine used by Safari.

When you type a URL or search term in Safari's address bar, the browser uses a search engine to return your results. In this case, Google is the factory default, but it's super simple to switch things up to use your search engine of choice. This guide will walk you through a handful of quick steps to show you how to change Safari's default search engine on your iPhone or Mac.

How to change Safari's default search engine on iOS

  1. Locate and launch the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Once in Settings, scroll down until you see the Safari icon.
  3. Tap Safari.

iPhone screenshots showing Settings panel. (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Here, you'll find multiple ways to customize your web browsing experience, but right now you're looking for Search Engine, which is located under the SEARCH heading.
  2. Tap Search Engine.
  3. Finally, choose your preferred search engine.

iPhone screen showing search engine selection. (Image credit: iMore)

How to change Safari's default search engine on macOS

  1. Open Safari on your Mac.
  2. Click the Safari drop down menu from the main menu bar at the top of the screen.
  3. Select Preferences, or use the "⌘," keyboard shortcut.

Safari (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Select the Search tab from the Preferences popup.
  2. Click the drop down menu next to Search Engine.
  3. Finally, choose your preferred search engine.

Safari (Image credit: iMore)

Safari currently allows you to pick one of four major search engines — Google, Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo. Once you've made your selection, the changes will be applied and you'll immediately be able to see the search results from the new default engine. Keep in mind, you can change your default at any time using the above steps.

It's also worth noting that, just because you've set a default search engine doesn't mean you can't still use the others. All you have to do is type the URL (,,, etc.) in Safari and you can use any one you wish, whenever you want.


It's super easy to change your default search engine in Safari. If you have any questions, make sure to drop a line below!

Stephanie A Barnes

Stephanie Barnes is a contributor at iMore. She fell in love with technology after building her first PC as a little girl. She later followed that passion to become a front-end/iOS engineer before switching to writing full-time. Stephanie's writing on technology, health and wellness, movies, television, and much more can be found all over the internet, including at HuffPost, HelloGiggles, PopSci, MindBodyGreen, and Business Insider. At iMore, she covers everything from breaking news to product roundups with the latest and greatest devices, apps, and accessories on the market. Stephanie also writes the occasional how-to guide to help readers get the most out of their Apple's devices and services.