5 Replies Latest reply: Apr 3, 2009 11:57 PM by Antidjinn
Antidjinn Level 1 (0 points)
I realize it what is listed in the box that opens when I turn the feature on, but what does it actually do?

Here is why I ask: I have never bothered with it on my desktop mac since no one else has access to it. Today when I upgraded to beta 4.0, there were all my most visited sites as favorite websites on the welcome screen.
But I also have a notebook I take on the road and I have always turned on Private Browsing on that machine. When I upgraded Safari on that machine there were all the sites I had visited (different from those on my home machine) despite the fact that I always turned on Private Browsing when I launched Safari. There should be no sites listed because there should be no history and I have no bookmarks on that notebook. So obviously, some kind of search history is saved despite the fact it isn't shown under History. Obviously it is saved for months. Obviously, there is really nothing private about it. If this data had actually been sensitive, then anyone with access to my computer could have checked it by launching Safari; it would have been on the splash page.

Yes, I am aware that I can just clear these favorite sites, but the fact that they even appeared as favorite sites means the Private Browsing feature isn't really doing what it says.

iMac 2.4 GHx Intel, Mac OS X (10.5.6)
  • westongallagher Level 4 (1,795 points)

    I would check your bookmarks as top site pulls from there as well. Also If you added any third party search things it could be saving a search history that you might be unaware of. Example is inquistor. As far as I know Private browsing doesn't keep any browsing/search history. Although there is a cache file that you might want to delete.

    More on that listed below, gathered from here: http://www.maclife.com/article/feature/50things_every_mac_geek_shouldknow?page=0%2C2

    It looks like a bunch of gobbledygook to normal people, but your IT dude could find some dirty laundry lurking here, unless you purge Safari’s cache in the Terminal.
    If you think that checking Private Browsing in Safari’s preferences actually keeps the websites you visit private, think again. Anyone--your boss or IT guy included--can see exactly where you’re surfing by executing the following Terminal command: dscacheutil -cachedump -entries Host
    To purge Safari’s cache for real, execute this Terminal command: dscacheutil -flushcache

    Hope that helps,
  • Antidjinn Level 1 (0 points)
    Thanks, I don't actually have a boss or IT manager, I just keep the laptop free of any personal info in case it ever gets lifted in an airport or from my hotel room.
    It seems stupid that whoever programed Safari 4.0 would set it up so that it would be immediately obvious the first time you load it that Safari's Private Browsing feature does absolutely nothing. If Apple wanted to maintain the facade that this "feature" is actually functional then they should not deliberately pull the curtain on themselves.
  • Antidjinn Level 1 (0 points)
    It would be interesting to find out how many divorces resulted from this upgrade. Probably no small number of spouses upon installing 4.0 were surprised to find that their top favorite sites were those the spouse thought were being visited on the sly. I guess I could send an e-mail to Apple, but they have never show interest in input from the peanut gallery and will continue to smugly follow their "vision." At best, they would just have the fanboys shout me down as a hater.
  • Graham K. Rogers Level 5 (5,430 points)
    SAfari 4 is a beta. That means that you and I are testing it for Apple in a real world situation where anomalies appear. I did not find that sites visited under private browsing appeared in the favourites but some inserts that those pages loaded did appear. Top right is a bug icon. I pressed that and sent my findings to Apple.

    Try it.
  • Antidjinn Level 1 (0 points)
    The fact that Safari 4 is beta is irrelevant. The fact that the previous version of Safari maintains a log of all sited visited despite being instructed not to is the issue. Safari 4 did not discover the old blocked site because some magical time travel bug caused data that never was saved to be resurrected. It did so because a full long of every site visited is maintained for some purpose. Reporting a bug in 4 beta is fine if that is what floats your boat, but the bug that is actually being discussed here is from a previous version.