Apple’s software systems are generally considered more secure due to their closed nature, but it is not irregular for security experts and enthusiasts to find glaring security bugs these days, as Apple’s devices and platforms become more popular. A fellow blog come across a bug in OS X which allows you to check Safari private browsing history on any Mac! Find out how to do so after the title image.
People generally use Private Browsing Mode in Safari (Incognito in Chrome) to browse the web without leaving any tracks. It is popularly used for pr0n, but of course people also use it for things like searching answers for deeply personal problems, buying a gift for a close friend, or significant other, etc.
Now, a reader of MacIssues blog has come across a bug in Safari whereby you can check Safari private browsing history! It is not a bug in the technical sense of the word; perhaps calling it an ‘open vulnerability’ would be more apt. In either case, it does not make the issue any less serious. The very purpose of using Private browsing mode is to not leave any tracks; the browser is not supposed to be recording anything. So, for Safari to be keeping track of your private browsing history kills the entire purpose of private browsing in the first place.
Check Safari Private Browsing History – Step by Step
Step 1: First, you need to download a program that can read SQLite databases. There are many available. We recommend SQLPro for SQLite (App Store).
Update: As Mak points out in the comments section, DB Browser for SQLite is strongly recommended, too. It’s apparently quite beginner-friendly.
Step 2: Now, using the SQLite database reader program, open up the WebpageIcons.db in ~/Library/Safari/ folder.
Step 3: You will now be able to see all the URLs Safari has been to while in Private browsing mode.
This isn’t as easy as checking history from within Safari, but anyone with a little technical know-how can easily check Safari private browsing history. Hopefully, Apple will patch this exploit in an update to Safari.