News: Top 6 New Safari Features in iOS 12 for iPhone

Top 6 New Safari Features in iOS 12 for iPhone

If there's one strength of Apple's that iOS and Android fans can agree on, it's the company's dedication to user privacy. With each new iteration of iOS, Apple builds upon these foundations, enhancing and increasing each iPhone's ability to protect its user's data. In iOS 12, Apple is adding six cool new features to Safari, each with its own unique way of keeping you safe online.

While Apple's latest software update isn't officially out until next month, all the new features listed below are available via the iOS 12 beta. If you'd like to try out these new features, plus all the goodies iOS 12 has to offer, check out our guide below to get started.

1. Enhanced Intelligent Tracking Prevention

When reading an article, you might see those "Like" and "Share" buttons from social media apps like Facebook and Twitter. While seemingly innocuous at first, these are actually quite nefarious, as seeing them means those social media services can track your movements, even if you don't interact with the buttons whatsoever. You might not be on their sites, but they know where you are.

With iOS 12, Apple is expanding the enhanced intelligence tracking prevention introduced in iOS 11 in Safari, so users won't see Like, Share, and Comment fields while browsing the web. It's less clutter getting in the way of the content users care about, but more importantly, it offers users better protection while surfing the web on iPhone.

If you still want to use these buttons, you can. According to Apple, Safari will ask your permission before lifting the blocks, giving you control over your own internet privacy. We're not exactly sure how this process works yet, but we expect iOS will prompt users for permission.

2. Password Reuse Auditing

Do you use the same password for multiple accounts? If you do, you probably know you shouldn't. If you're interested in changing your online ways, but feel a bit overwhelmed, iOS 12 is here to help you out.

When viewing your saved passwords in Settings in iOS 12, you can plainly see if you have a repeated password across multiple accounts. While you won't be able to see all of the other accounts that password is used on, iOS 12 will tell you how many there are, to give you an indication of how many times you might want to change your account's password.

The alert triangles let you know this account has a password used on other accounts.

Luckily, changing the password in question is quick and straightforward by tapping "Change Password on Website." After you create a unique password, it'll save across all connected devices.

3. 'Hey Siri' for Passwords

Apple is continuing to improve its digital assistant, with iOS 12 being no exception. Shortcuts might steal the show this year, but Safari makes good use of Siri, as well.

If you ever need to quickly pull up one of your saved passwords, simply ask Siri to do it for you. For example, if you say "Hey Siri — show me my Netflix password" the assistant will immediately launch the password manager. Authenticate yourself using Touch ID or Face ID, and the password is yours.

4. Security Code AutoFill

Two-factor authentication is a great way to protect your accounts from would-be intruders, but let's face it — having to retrieve a security code via SMS or another app, and then enter it each time you want to use the account in question can be a hassle. iOS 12 is changing the game, by allowing you to autofill your 2FA security codes.

You can learn about using Autofill for security codes by taking a look at our guide below.

5. Password Manager API

If iOS' password manager isn't cutting it for you, there are plenty of third-party options for you to try. The drawback, however, was that you couldn't access those passwords in Safari. That meant if you wanted Safari to autofill your passwords, you had no choice but to go with iOS' built-in password manager.

That changes with iOS 12 — Apple now opens its password manager API to third-party solutions. If you use a service like LastPass or 1Password, you'll now be able to autofill your passwords in Safari without a problem.

6. Defense Against Fingerprinting

On the web, 'Fingerprinting' is a way for trackers to develop a profile of your iPhone based on the browsing data and system configuration information collected from your device. This process is the antithesis of internet privacy, as trackers can use this profile of your iPhone to know exactly who you are when accessing a webpage.

Apple wants to fight this practice just as much as you do. With iOS 12, the company claims it will implement the following to help prevent fingerprinting:

• Present a simplified version of your system configuration, so more devices look identical to trackers.
• Only present the list of built-in fonts, so custom-installed fonts can't be used as a unique identifier.
• No longer support legacy plug-ins, so they can't be used to identify you.

The result is a similar if not identical browsing experience for you, while dramatically hindering the ability for trackers to uniquely identify your device.

The bottom line? iOS 12 makes Safari even more of a security powerhouse than it was with iOS 11. Between making it easier for users to access and maintain their saved passwords, to protecting their data while browsing the web, you'll be hard-pressed to find a safer mobile web alternative than 2018's Safari.

Cover image and screenshots by Jake Peterson/Gadget Hacks

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