safari-icon

Apple’s browser on iOS and macOS includes a nifty content recommendation capability, called Safari Suggestions (not to be confused with suggested search words and phrases).

The feature activates when you start typing into Safari’s Smart Search field, popping up nicely designed interactive content previews for iTunes media, news, Wikipedia articles, weather forecasts, apps from the App Store, film showtimes, locations nearby and more.

Sometimes these suggestions are not related to your searches at all, sometimes they slow you down due to background activity and other times you simply might not care about them. You can, thankfully, turn Safari Suggestions off on your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad or Mac with just a few taps/clicks, here’s how.

Before we get to it, let me just point out that Safari Suggestions may not be available in all markets.

“Not all features of Safari Suggestions may be available in all languages or regions and some features of Safari Suggestions may vary by region,” states Apple.

For the full breakdown of the Spotlight Suggestions-friendly regions, check out Apple’s iOS Feature Availability and macOS Feature Availability webpages.

Safari Suggestions and privacy

Safari Suggestions currently support the following items:

  • News stories from online publications
  • Wikipedia articles
  • iTunes media
  • App Store apps
  • Weather forecasts
  • Professional sports team and player info
  • Stock prices
  • Help and support documents from Apple
  • Points of interest and locations nearby
  • Suggestions from your search engine
  • Movie showtimes
  • And more

These content previews may appear after entering a word or phrase in Safari’s Smart Search field.

For instance, if you enter the search phrase ”weather cupertino” Safari may provide a suggestion in the form of an up-to-date interactive preview containing handy information on the current weather conditions in Cupertino, California.

Click the preview and Safari opens an appropriate webpage with more information. Many other Safari Suggestions sport these interactive previews, some of which might include  clickable buttons or links to do context-specific cations like sending an email, getting directions, making phone calls, playing song previews and more.

If Safari Suggestions are enabled on your device, the following non-identifiable data will get sent to Apple when you run a search query in the Smart Search field:

  • Your search queries
  • The Safari Suggestions you select
  • Your device’s location, precise or approximated
  • Related usage data such as the names of the music and video subscription services you may be using and types of subscriptions

Your account name, number, password and search results won’t be sent to Apple.

You can disable Safari Suggestions if you don’t need them or find them a nuisance, which’ll prevent the browser from sending both Safari Suggestions usage data and your search queries to Apple.

Safari Suggestions can be turned on and off independently of Location Services for the feature. Location Services help Safari suggestions deliver recommendations that are more relevant to your current location.

More on these data gathering practices can be fond in Apple’s Privacy Policy.

How to disable Safari Suggestions

iPhone, iPad and iPod touch:

1) Launch Settings on your iOS device.

2) Tap Safari in the Settings list.

iOS 9 Safari disable Safari Suggestions iPhone screenshot 001

3) Slide the Safari Suggestions toggle to the OFF position.

You can now close out the Settings app and switch to Safari to see the changes.

Tip: If you’d also like to turn on or off suggested search terms in Safari, toggle the Search Engine Suggestions switch.

Mac:

1) Open Safari on your Mac.

2) Select Preferences in the Safari menu.

3) Click the Search tab.

OS X El Capitan Safari Suggestions Mac screenshot 001

4) Deselect the checkbox next to Include Safari Suggestions.

Exit out of Safari Preferences, click the Smart Search field and start typing to see your changes.

Disabling location for Safari Suggestions

As mentioned, Safari Suggestions use Location Services to deliver relevant search suggestions.

You can opt out of Location Services for Safari Suggestions, but Apple may still use the IP address of your Internet connection to approximate your location by matching it to a geographic region in order to try to tailor Safari Suggestions to your current location. Note that disabling Location Services for Safari Suggestions also disables them for Spotlight Suggestions.

iPhone, iPad and iPod touch

1) Go to Settings → Privacy → Location Services on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad and tap System Services at the very bottom.

2) Slide the switch next to Location-Based Suggestions to the OFF position.

Disable Location Based Suggestions iPhone

Exit out of Settings for the changes to take effect.

Mac:

1) Launch System Preferences on your Mac.

2) Click the Security & Privacy pane.

3) Click the padlock icon to unlock the preference pane, enter your Mac administrator account’s name and password and click Unlock to continue.

OS X El Capitan Safari view saved passwords Mac screenshot 001

3) Click on the Privacy tab, select Location Services in the lefthand column and select Details next to System Services in the righthand column.

4) Deselect Location-Based Suggestions.

Disable Location Based Suggestions Mac

And that’s all there’s to it!

Need help? Ask iDB!

Got stuck? Not sure how to do certain things on your Apple device? Let us know at [email protected] and a future tutorial might provide a solution. You can also submit your how-to suggestions at [email protected].