Whenever you type a search query into Safari on an iOS device it quickly returns results from Google Search. This search integration is great, if you are into Google, but what if you would prefer to use a different search engine? All is not lost; you can quickly change the default search engine on the iPhone.

The ability to choose a rival search engine is great because not everybody is a fan of Google. Whether you dislike Google as an entity; or wish to search more privately; or simply think a rival search engine offers a better service, iOS has you covered.

Here we are going to look at the different search engines you can use in Safari for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

See also:

The Search engines available in Safari for iOS

Changing the Safari Search Engine in iOS

You can use the following search engines in iOS:

  • Google: The default option. It returns results from Google in your local territory (such as Google.co.uk).
  • Bing: Microsoft’s alternative to Google Search.
  • Yahoo: A search engine built by Yahoo. It is powered by Bing so results will be similar to Bing.
  • DuckDuckGo: A new option that will be available in iOS 8. DuckDuckGo has a no-tracking privacy policy and promises not to track its users.

How to change the default search engine in iOS

It is pretty easy to change the default search engine to one of your choosing. Follow these steps to change the default search engine:

  1. Open Settings.
  2. Click Safari > Search Engine.
  3. Tap on the Search Engine you wish to use. (The current default will have a blue tick next to it).

Now open the Safari app and enter a search term into the Smart Search Field. It will return results using the search provider you chose.

You can only use these four options (Google, Bing, Yahoo and DuckDuckGo) as the default search engine providers. But note that you can use Safari with just about any web search engine simply type its URL into the Smart Search Field and tap Share > Add Bookmark > Save to save it as a bookmark.

DuckDuckGo is an interesting search engine to try out if you're particularly security conscious. It is a new search engine (it launched in 2008) that emphasizes your privacy. It also avoids the so-called "Filter Bubble" where you get results tailor made to you (while this can be a good thing, it can mean you get the same results repeatedly).

Gabriel Weinberg, founder of Duck Duck Go, at Gel 2013 from Gel Conference on Vimeo.

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