How to change the default search engine on your computer or phone

Your web browser allows you to freely switch search engines. reception-bg/Getty Images

  • You can change your web browser’s search engine through the browser settings on your computer or the application or system settings on your phone.
  • Your browser’s search engine is what it uses to find anything you type in the URL bar.
  • Almost all browsers let you switch between at least Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference Library for more stories.

If you’ve ever found a new website, it’s almost certainly by using a search engine like Google or Bing. Search engines are so important that every major web browser has a whole selection of them built into the software – just type something into the URL bar and your search engine will find it.

But every user has a search engine they prefer. And if your browser doesn’t use that one, surfing the web can get frustrating.

Fortunately, every web browser allows you to switch search engines. They all offer at least Google, Bing, and Yahoo, and most offer a few additional options as well.

Here’s how to change the search engine on your Mac, PC, iPhone/iPad or Android device.

How to change the search engine on your Mac or PC

The steps for changing your browser’s search engine depend on the browser you are using. But in general, you have to open your browser window Settings Where Preferences menu, then click To look for. There you will find the options to change your search engine.

Google Chrome

1. Open Chrome and click the three dots stacked in the upper right corner.

2. To select Settingsthen click Search engine in the left sidebar.

3. Use the Search engine used in the address bar option to select the search engine you want to use.

The Google Chrome search settings page.  Search engine options are highlighted.

Chrome, like most browsers, has a dedicated search settings page. Google; William Antonelli/Insider

Microsoft Edge

1. Open Edge and click the three dots in the upper right corner, then select Settings.

2. On the page that opens, click Privacy, Research and Services in the left sidebar.

3. Scroll down the page and click Address bar and search.

The menu

‘Address bar and search’ is the last option on this page. Microsoft; William Antonelli/Insider

4. Use the Search engine used in address bar option to choose your search engine.

firefox

1. Open Firefox and click the three stacked lines in the upper right corner.

2. To select Settingsthen click To look for in the left sidebar.

3. Use the drop-down menu under Default search engine to choose your browser’s search engine.

The Firefox search settings page.

Firefox includes eBay and Wikipedia as search engine options. Mozilla; William Antonelli/Insider

Safari

1. Open Safari and click Safari in the upper left corner of your screen.

2. To select Preferencesthen click To look for at the top of the menu that opens.

3. Use the Search engine: drop-down menu to choose your browser’s new search engine.

Safari's search settings menu.

Safari gives you five options for search engines. Apple; William Antonelli/Insider

How to change the search engine on your iPhone, iPad or Android

iPhones and iPads

The default web browser on Apple devices is Safari. You can customize it with the Settings app.

1. Open the Settings app and scroll down to select Safari.

2. Faucet Search enginethen select the search engine you want to use.

The Safari settings page in an iPhone's Settings app.

You will manage Safari through the Settings app. Apple; William Antonelli/Insider

You can also download Edge, Firefox, and Chrome apps. To change the search engine in these apps, open their in-app settings menus.

android

Different Android devices have different default web browsers. But usually new phones start with Google Chrome.

1. Open the Google Chrome app and tap the three dots stacked in the upper right corner, then select Settings.

2. Below Basicsfaucet Search engine.

The Google Chrome Settings menu on an Android phone.

Chrome’s search engine options are under the “Basics” heading. Google; William Antonelli/Insider

3. Select your new search engine.

If you’re using a different browser app, check that app’s Settings menu.

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