Google Chrome 101: How to Change the Default Search Engine on Your iPhone or Android Phone

How to Change the Default Search Engine on Your iPhone or Android Phone

Even if your default mobile browser is Google Chrome, you may not want Google to also be your search engine. Maybe you're not impressed with Google's search results all the time, maybe you want a more private search experience, or maybe you just don't want Google's hands over everything in your life. Whatever the case, it's easy to switch from Google to another default search engine.

Those of you who have a Microsoft PC might like to choose Bing as your default search engine in Chrome, and it's totally possible on both Android and iPhone. Aside from Bing, the other default options you can choose for the address bar (omnibox) search feature in Chrome from include Ask, AOL, and even Yahoo. If you have an Android phone, you can even choose other search engines such as DuckDuckGo.

Change the Default Search Engine (Android & iOS)

Whether you're on Android or iOS, the method here is identical. First, tap the three-dot menu in the top-right corner, then hit "Settings." Inside the Settings window, hit "Search Engine" where you'll be able to select between AOL, Ask, Bing, or Yahoo. Once you've selected, just hit "Done" to confirm.

Choose a Custom Search Engine (Android Only)

If you don't like any of the default alternatives that Google has provided for you, there's a way you can choose your own default search engine, but only on Android.

For example, if you wanted to make your default search engine DuckDuckGo, which is known for privacy for its users, you would just visit duckduckgo.com in Chrome. DuckDuckGo should immediately ask you if you want to add it to Chrome, so tap that option. Afterward, tap on the ellipsis (...) icon in the top right of Chrome, hit "Settings," then "Search Engine." Now, DuckDuckGo will appear under the Recently Visited header where you can tap to select it.

Almost any website you can search can become your default search engine, so you could even make Gadget Hacks at gadgethacks.com your default search engine if you wanted. However, most search engines or websites will not prompt you with an "Add to Chrome" button. Instead, the only way to get it to show up in your "Search Engine" settings is to perform a search on the site first. Afterward, Chrome will recognize it as a possible search engine and add it to the Recently Visited section.

Other search engines and sites you can try out include Ecosia (which donates some profits to non-profit conservationist organizations), Gigablast (an open-source search engine), Baidu (Chinese), Yandex Search (Russian), Library of Congress (for research), WonderHowTo (all the how-tos you need), and Shodan (a hacker's search engine). Check out Wikipedia's list of search engines to see the hundreds available, though any website with a search bar would probably work.

Choose Your Search Engine Settings (Android Only)

On Android, you can fine tune some location and notification settings for each search engine individually. If you're using an iPhone, you can only change location settings for Chrome as a whole (notifications may not be an option).

From the "Search Engine" section from inside "Settings," tap a search engine to select it, then tap "Location and notifications are allowed." If you tap "Notifications" from the list, you'll be able to tweak all sorts of settings, from sounds to where your notifications will appear. If you tap "Location access" instead, you'll be able to choose whether to grant or deny that specific search engine access to your location.

Cover photo by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks; Screenshots by Brian Lang/Gadget Hacks

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