Safari Bug: Saves Privately Browsed URL in your MAC
Browsing privately allows us to freely surf web without saving its history, but if you are using Safari browser in your Mac then beware as the each URL that you surf through are saved in database file that is very easily accessible. The issue was first reported by in MacIssues.
I was troubleshooting some issues with Safari and opened up ~/Library/Safari/WebpageIcons.db, and in that file, I was surprised to find all the URLs of sites (stored in plain text) that I and others using my Mac visited in “private windows” in Safari. The URLs seem to stay in there basically forever unless you clear out all your browsing data (which defeats the entire purpose of using a “private window”).
— Tyler C (MacIssues reader)
Safari saves all the favicon images and URLs in the
The file can be accessed with any SQLite browser. As the database is not encrypted, and if you are not using FileVault for your Mac, then anyone can technically access the file, they can even open the file in a text editor to see the visited URLs.
Sadly Safari does provide any privacy settings for handling this database. So for the time being you can follow the below mentioned steps to protect your privacy
Manually Delete Icon Database
To manually delete the Icon File you can follow following steps
- Open Go menu in the Finder, hold the Option key to display Library
- Go to the Safari folder
- Delete the file named “Webpageicon.db”
Copy and paste this entire line into the Terminal utility and hit Enter
rm -f ~/Library/Safari/WebpageIcons.db
Use different web browser
Chrome, Firefox, Opera does not encounter such bugs and your can use these browsers with a relaxed mind
Use Encrypted System
You may choose to use your private system and not the public ones. Make sure that your Mac is running FileVault so that no-one can access your computer without Mac’s administrative password.
The first option is however very tedious and you might have to do it after every private browsing. We prefer the less hassle free option like, using a different browser or using an encrypted system. Stay Safe 😉
Image Credits: MacIssues