Thursday, May 30, 2024
Smart Phones

You can change your iPhone’s search engine, but should you do so? Here are the top reasons why!

The talk of the town is the latest Apple-branded family of flagships: the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro and the iPhone 15 Pro Maxbest smartphones. With how popular iPhones are, of course these managed to climb their way to the top of the stantly.

But here’s the deal: that sweet, sweet “new phone” feeling isn’t just about improved hardware — or awesome feeling materials like titanium. It’s about software too. I mean, it isn’t a coincidence that iOS 17 was released just days before the iPhone 15 series became available.

And, pardon my French, but iOS 17 is awesome. It brought a ton of new and fun tricks to Apple’s ecosystem like Stand By, which can turn your iPhone into the best bedside clock or the ability to create unique stickers for use in Messages.

But iOS also allows users to change their default search engine. And I must ask: why?

What search engines are available in Safari on iOS 17?

Google is cool and all, but alternatives exist. Could any of them possibly be better? I don’t know! Which is why I’m taking you on this journey with me to find out.

So, for starters, here are the search engines that you can pick from in Safari on iOS 17:

  • Google: The gold standard
  • Yahoo: The one that wants to make you scream in excitement
  • Bing: Microsoft’s very own competitor to the Big G
  • DuckDuckGo: The best pick for paranoid web surfers
  • Ecosia: The one that druids will love, because it actually plants trees

So, all of these are search engines. That means that they can take what you’re searching for — known as a search query — and then run it through their very own, unique algorithm in order to produce the results that best suit your needs.

But, of course, you can’t get good results by searching for things the wrong way. Even though Google has gotten great at figuring out songs by lyrics or even you type out things like “Song that goes NA NA NANA NANANA” — foreshadowing, by the way — the point is that the search engine isn’t capable of actually reading your mind.

Hopefully. Just joking! Probably. Anyway!

The Method to my Madness

So! Our job today, class, is to figure out which one out of the search engines available on iOS 17’s version of Safari is best for you. And keep that in mind! The goal here isn’t to find out which is the best one in general, as they are quite different.

But in order to find out how they are different, we’re going to have to search for things. A lot! So here’s the list of queries that I’m going to run through each and every one of these search engines in order to gauge the results.

  1. iPhone 15 review phone arena
  2. What is water made out of
  3. Is soap dirty
  4. song that goes na nanana nanana nanananananana
  5. woodstock when
  6. Vr game
  7. Best VR game
  8. Best VR games for Quest 3
  9. What is the most financially successful VR game for 2022
  10. Chicken or egg
  11. Calculator online
  12. tool to tune guitars
  13. whats a tool that tune guitars
  14. pointing spiderman meme
  15. best search engine 2023

Most of these are self explanatory, but others have been specially curated by yours truly to demonstrate specific features. While with some I’m aiming to gauge how the specificity of the query changes the results, with others I’m trying to check if the search engine wants to send me shopping or not.

Oh, and just for the record: autocorrect is turned off and the minor errors that you may notice are completely intentional. Also, I’ll be prioritizing the topmost result, but may feature the topmost several ones, if something interesting happens to come up.

Lastly, it’s worth pointing out that I’m taking all necessary precautions in order for all of these search engines to not share cookies with one another, meaning that the results will be as pure as possible. Also, I’m doing this on a freshly reset iPhone, so it doesn’t know much about me yet either.

The actually interesting results

I know that you can’t wait to see what the difference between the search engines available on Safari in iOS 17 are, so without further ado, here’s the entire thing:

While it’s very difficult to point out which one of these search engines is the overall best performing one, I can absolutely say that certain types of users will get more of a kick from using specific ones, so you can look forward to a full breakdown of this idea later on in the article.

And, honestly, these are really interesting. I expected way more of an overall similarity, but you can definitely feel how the different algorithms work. Some of them overlap in the same ways, yet are different in interesting ways in other areas.

Most notable are the elements that you can’t help but notice, namely the instances where the search engine goes out of its way to present you with something both informative and visually appealing. Or, you know, a proper, functional calculator.

If I had to summarize the findings, I’d say that the search engines like Google and Bing, which come with way more AI-prowess , like to take risks. What I mean by that is that they are more likely to present you with something more specific, albeit if not always exactly matching what you wanted.

But then again, that makes total sense. As time goes on and you continue to use these platforms, the AI will certainly become capable of building a user-profile to match your preferences. As in, with enough time and browsing, these risks will start being educated guesses based on actual data, and as such: probably more accurate.

In a way, though, it’s safe to say that it’s about what type of neat little bonuses each search engine can offer you. Hence:

But what about bonus features?

Right out of the gate, I’d like to exclude the obvious things: all of these support things like image-search and even if some don’t support voice-typing natively, the iPhone 15 — for example — does, so you can achieve that by other means.

This is why I’d like to go over a few of the truly unique features that each search engine has to offer, so that you can have a solid idea of what you can expect. That being said, be mindful that these are probably not exhaustive, as there are likely more that I didn’t get to find and try out.


  • Google Lens — Reverse image searching made easy. Or, you can just take a snap of a rock and ask Google what type of rock it is. Yes, there are types of rocks.
  • Generative AI (soon) — Not available to anyone and everywhere yet, but it will be pretty capable. Summarizing your results is just the starting point.
  • The Google ecosystem itself — I mean, the more integrated you are into the entire ecosystem, ranging from office tools to media streaming, the easier it will be for Google to find you the thing you want wherever it is most convenient for you.
  • A huge pool of queries to pull data from — Google is the biggest search engine and that matters, because all of that data is being utilized in real time to apply numerous improvements, possibly even daily.


  • Focus on emails — you can compose emails straight from search, if you have an address with Yahoo. You know, if you ever need to do that.
  • A custom home page — It looks cluttered, but it’s an effective Gnews alternative to those who want something more traditional and visual.
  • Straight to the point — Less guesswork and AI, more control to the user. This means that if you take the time to learn how, you can get very accurate results via Yahoo.
  • More, but…. Hard to find. I had to use Yahoo to search for Yahoo image search in order to verify that it supported it. Just an example.


  • Minimal and accurate — If you’re looking up something clear and simple like match results or weather, Bing can bring that up like no other search engine.
  • AI, even before the Big G — Again, not always available — or everywhere — but Bing’s AI is also capable of not only getting to know you, but creating custom summaries of information for you.


  • Privacy Inc — I mean, this is the only one that lets you choose how much of a trace you leave behind. Eliminating the concept of Search History is just the start.
  • Customization — You can choose not only how information is presented to you, but also how much of that information is then related to you as a user


  • Tree Counter — You see how close you are to planting a tree as you browse around and that’s actually really awesome. (Yes, I play druid)
  • You’re not a product — It does not create a user profile based on your activity to later sell to advertisers. What you see is what Ecosia makes a profit from, and 100% of that goes to nature.
  • Actually neutral when it comes to pollution. Not much to add here. That’s awesome.

And to close things off, this one isn’t related to any particular browser, but is sort of a neat thing you can take advantage of thanks to iOS 17. You can set different search engines to Safari and then a different one to Safari’s private tabs, so if you ever feel like hot swapping between the results of two search engines: this is how you can do that!

What’s the best search engine to use in Safari with iOS 17?

Might be a bit of a copout answer, but it truly is up to you and the things that are valuable to you. Providing a direct answer is pretty close to impossible, so instead I’ll try to put things as so:

  • If you browse often and care about getting more accurate info in a fast and clean manner, then Google or Bing are for you.
  • If you browse online for shopping opportunities quite often, then Google and Yahoo are your best bet, because they can really help you find what you need fast.
  • If you love AI, then Bing is the best option for you right now, as long as the features are available in your area. And, at least, until Google fully unleashes Bard into Search.
  • Is privacy a top priority? Then DuckDuckGo or Ecosia are the ways to go. But only one of the two plant trees in the process is carbon-neutral, so that may mean something to you.

And that’s about it. Each of these search engines has its quirks. Each managed to impress with a unique feature and each made me laugh in its inability to understand what I meant, but in different ways. The best advice that I can give to iPhone-fans, who are rocking iOS 17 and searching for their next favorite search engine is this: if by this point I haven’t helped you make up your mind, then just try all of them! It’s really fun and it’s sure to help you make your choice.


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