Is Safari a search engine? All you need to know

Modified Nov. 3, 2023, 8:43 p.m.


If you wonder if Apple’s application Safari is a search engine, here are the precise answer about it and about Apple’s search engines to explain what is Safari.

Safari is not a search engine, it is a web browser developed by Apple. It means that it helps you to browse and render the web for you to understand the web page and be able to read the content. A search engine is a tool used to made research on the web, like Google.

Why is Safari not a search engine?

Now you may wonder why Safari is not a search engine. Let’s first shortly explain what is a web browser, what is a search engine and finally what is Safari. Once you understand the difference between a search engine and a web browser, you will understand why Safari is not a search engine.

What is a search engine?

A search engine is a web application used to search for web pages containing the information or content you are looking for.

A search engine is constantly parsing the entire web and knows the information and content that every web page contains. When you type the search request, the search engine will look into its database to find which page could contain the information or content linked to your search request and gives you all these web pages.

Google, Bing, and Yahoo are examples of search engines.

What is a web browser?

A web browser is an application located on the device you use. A web browser is an application that allows you to make requests toward a website located on a web server. A web browser sends requests to the web server to obtain the web page you asked for and render the page for you to read and interact with it.

It is the tool that you need to use to interact with the web, the tool you need to use as a search engine for example.

Some of the most famous web browsers are Firefox, Google Chrome, and Edge.

Yes, Google is both a web browser and search engine as I explained it here.

What is Safari?

Safari is a web browser developed by Apple and has been first released in 2009. If Safari was available on Windows in the past, the Windows version is no longer maintained by Apple and the last version was released in 2012. Today, Safari is only available on iOS, iPadOS, and macOS.

Safari is based on the WebKit rendering engine, which is also developed by Apple. Safari is the default browser installed on all Apple devices.

Safari is not a search engine at all and can only do what any other web browser can do. But if Safari is not the search engine on Apple devices, what is it then?

What is the search engine on Apple devices?

We now know that Safari is not a search engine, but like all mobiles and computers in the world, there is a search engine on Apple devices. As the search engine is a web application, it’s not directly an application on the device you use, but more a web page that is rendered with a web browser.


The search engine on Apple devices is Google, and Google is paying a lot of money to stay the default search engine on Safari. So each time you are making a search request on Safari, Safari is actually asking Google to send the result of your search request and Safari renders this result for you.

You can change the default search engine

On every web browser, there is a search engine used by default for your search request. This search engine is already configured to be used at the installation of the web browser. But you actually can choose which browser you want to use.

Just go to the preferences of the web browser you are using to be able to change it. I wrote an article about where are safari preferences.

Is there an Apple search engine?

As Google is paying a lot of money to Apple for being the default search engine in Safari, Apple has a few if not no reasons to develop their own search engine to use in Safari. Also, today Google is the best search engine by far and it would take years for Apple to develop a search engine that could compete with Google.

But there still exists one search engine developed by Apple.

Apple Spotlight

Apple Spotlight is actually a search engine, directly installed on Apple devices. It’s only used when you are doing a search request directly on the device, not on the web browser. It’s not as good as a real search engine like Google but can provide the information you need in a very fast way.

Apple Spotlight is also not only parsing the web to provide you the answer you are looking for but also parsing your device files. In this way, it can be used to search for anything you are looking for, information located on the web, or information located on your device.

What is the best search engine for Safari?

Everyone is looking for the best optimization, but there is no reason for the answer to this question to be different for Safari than for any other web browser. Today, Google is considered the best search engine that exists, it is the one providing the best information in a faster way.

But Google is also the search engine using user data the most. If you are looking for more privacy, I recommend trying



Maxime Levesque is a technical engineer with more than 5 years of professional experience. He is an expert in computer and phones, mostly on Apple products. Maxime is also the founder of TechBrowser.

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