Apple released the iOS 17 update for all supported iPhones (launched in 2018 and later) earlier this week. With the update, Apple introduced several new quality-of-life features—including the ability to use Face ID or Touch ID to unlock private tabs in the browser. This move appears to be another step toward improving privacy—following a similar implementation in last year’s Photos app with the ‘Hidden’ category requiring Face ID/Touch ID authentication.
Once you’ve downloaded the iOS 17 update, you can open the Safari browser, tap the tabs icon, and swipe right to access private tabs. However, iOS 17—by default—requires authentication via Face ID or Touch ID to unlock these tabs. Therefore, the tabs become accessible only after biometric authentication.
Moreover, as observed by 9to5Mac, this authentication requirement exists even if your device is already unlocked. Simply put, suppose you hand your phone to someone else and wish to prevent them from accessing your private tabs. In that case, this feature provides an additional layer of privacy.
However, it’s not compulsory to use this feature. In our case, the feature was enabled by default after updating to iOS 17 on our iPhone. Apple also offers the option to disable this feature entirely. To do so, navigate to Settings > Safari > Turn off ‘Require Face ID to Unlock Private Browsing.’
With iOS 17, Apple has also brought other useful features like the better Dual SIM management, which lets users have the convenience of organizing their messages based on their primary and secondary SIM cards—a feature that can be important for those who juggle work and personal affairs with separate SIMs. Apple has also provided users with the option to set different ringtones for each SIM, which is useful for both personal and work scenarios.