You can now change your default iOS browser to Firefox or DuckDuckGo

If you’ve updated to iOS 14, you can now change your default iOS browser to either Firefox or DuckDuckGo if you wish. Both browsers have been approved by Apple to take advantage of the new option to change your default web browser from Safari. (Google’s Chrome had already been approved.)

Both browsers claim that the switch will further boost your privacy protections …

We highlighted the ability to change your default web browser and email app as one of the best iOS 14 features. Apple likely introduced the option as one of a number of responses to growing antitrust concerns about the company.

The company does still require browsers to be approved, a necessary protection against app spamming: without that vetting process, any app could add web-browsing capabilities and then be presented as a potential default browser.

Firefox claims that it offers better protection against tracking than Safari.

Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention offers solid privacy protection for the full device that you can make even stronger in Firefox. By setting Firefox to Strict Enhanced Tracking Protection, you’ll be shielded from known tracking content embedded in videos, ads and other content through tracking codes, as well as invasive cryptomining and fingerprinting trackers. 

Device fingerprinting is the ad industry’s latest workaround to anti-tracking measures introduced by Apple.

Firefox also stresses its not-for-profit status, implicitly contrasting itself with Google’s Chrome without actually naming either company or browser.

Firefox is an independent browser, backed by Mozilla, the not-for-profit organization. We believe you should be able to decide who sees your personal info, not just among your friends, but with advertisers and companies on the internet — including us. In contrast to other major tech companies, Firefox products don’t harvest, sell or monetize your personal data.

DuckDuckGo makes a similar privacy pitch.

Among other more robust privacy protections, our browser, by default, blocks most trackers from loading at all (as opposed to just partially protecting you from them once they load). This means companies like Google, Facebook, and many others you’ve never even heard of are actually stopped from tracking you across the web.

The company says DuckDuckGo also proactively redirects you to https versions of pages if you use legacy http links.

We crawl the web and maintain a list of sites that support encrypted connections, and then make sure you use those encrypted connections whenever possible via our Smarter Encryption technology. With an encrypted connection, the exact page you are browsing (and content you submit on that page, e.g., your searches) can’t be seen by Internet providers (ISPs) and Wi-Fi snoopers.

To change your default browser from Safari:

  • Go to the App Store to download the browser you want to use
  • Open the Settings app
  • Scroll down to the browser
  • Tap the browser name
  • Tap Default Browser App
  • Tap the browser you want to use

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