View Browsing History on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch from Safari
Unlike the desktop browsers, there are no obvious “History” menus in Safari on the iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad to help you navigate through webpages you visited earlier that you may want to access again. But that doesn’t mean there is no browsing history feature, instead it’s just slightly hidden, and accessing the browsing history in Safari is super simple though it may not be immediately evident given how it’s accessed in iOS.
Viewing Browser History in Safari for iOS
There are three important things to remember when using the iOS Safari History feature:
- Tap and hold on the Back [<] button in Safari to view browser History
- Tap any link in History to immediately jump back to it
- Tap and hold the Forward [>] button in Safari to navigate ahead in history, or to go back to where you started
Assuming you have enough browsing history to be able to navigate through it, tapping and holding on the back button will show the History screen like this on an iPhone or iPod touch:
It’s generally easiest to view the Safari History in landscape mode on the smaller screened iPhone and iPod touch displays since you’re able to see more of the page titles and URL’s, though it’s still visible in vertical portrait orientation as well.
On the iPad, the Safari browser History is accessed exactly the same by a tap-and-hold on the Back or Forward buttons, but it’s viewed slightly differently because there is more screen real estate to work with, instead appearing as a hovering pop-up over web pages:
Everything from a single browser window will be stored in History unless that window has been closed, but even still some of that information can be recovered if someone was persistent enough.
Showing & Accessing Complete Browser History from Days Past
What if you want to see browsing history from sites you visited yesterday? Or what about two days ago? You can find the complete browsing history in iOS by doing the following:
- Tap the Bookmark icon (it looks like a little book)
- Tap “History”
- Drill down into specific dates, tap on any date folder to see the complete history from that day, or tap on any link to open that web page again
On the iPhone, this is what it looks like:
Tapping through on History you will then see the page history for the current day, then individual folders containing history from previous days:
Thanks to Anita for suggesting this additional tip in the comments
If you are looking to prevent Safari from keeping track of web browsing history, the easiest way to do that is to simply turn on Private Browsing in iOS, a feature readily available on the iPhone and iPad, which will prevent any history from being stored. It’s quite obvious when it’s turned on because the Safari web browser turns black, signifying Private Browsing is enabled. On the other hand, if you forgot to enable the private browsing feature and now have a bunch of web history you’d rather not be viewed, recovered, or found by others, you can always choose to manually clear out the browser history and caches instead by going to Settings > Safari > Clear History.