How to ditch Google and switch to DuckDuckGo

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The door mat at DuckDuckGo HQ.
The door mat at DuckDuckGo HQ.
Photo: DuckDuckGo

DuckDuckGo is a private search engine. Unlike Google, it doesn’t track your internet use, save your searches, or track your location. DuckDuckGo’s reason for existing is to protect your privacy on the internet, but it’s also a great search engine. And when it doesn’t find the results you want, it’s easy to run that search in Google.

Today we’ll see how to switch all your searches to DuckDuckGo, and how to add a one-tap Google backup search.

How to increase the font size in Mobile Safari

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Do you see what we did here?
Do you see what we did here?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

The iPhone and iPad are usually great at making web pages easy to read, even when they have lots of small text. Double-tap on a column of text, and it automatically zooms to fill the screen. Double-tap it again and you’re back where you began.

But sometimes a page behaves badly. You see it often on Internet forums, or the mobile-friendly (!) version of Reddit, for example. The text is tiny, and runs from edge to edge. There’s no way to zoom in. Even if you turn your device on its side to make the screen wider, the text just reflows — the same tiny letters, but in even longer lines.

This weekend I got sick of this, and set out to find a way to increase the font size in Mobile Safari with a bookmarklet. It didn’t take long.

Killzapper zaps annoying webpage elements

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killzapper removes web pages annoyances
Killzapper can remove pretty much anything from a web page.
Photo: Robert McGoldrick/Flickr CC

Did you ever visit a website and find something annoying? The answer is, of course, yes. Ad-blockers and content blockers strip a lot of the junk from a page, but there may be other elements — videos, popups, hideous profile photos on forums, which just annoy you. Today, we’ll see how to get rid of those irritating elements with a single click, using Brett Terpstra’s Killzapper.

Force YouTube videos to play full-screen in Safari on iPad

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full screen youtube iPad safari
Is it time you took a break from YouTube?
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

If you’re watching YouTube on your iPhone or Mac, then you can just tap a button to watch the video in proper full-screen, just you and a skateboarding dog, with nothing to distract you. But on the iPad, the same “full-screen” button just maximizes the video into the browser tab, with all the Safari chrome still surrounding it. And because it doesn’t use the native iOS video view, you can’t watch the video in Picture in Picture mode.

Happily, we can fix that. Today we’ll see how to make YouTube play its video in full screen on your iPad, with one tap, using a bookmarklet.

How to really use bookmarks on iPhone and iPad

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old school bookmark
Try loading this bookmark in Safari.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

You probably already know how to save a bookmark on your iPhone or iPad, but you might not know just how many neat things you can do with them. You can customize your Safari home screen to show the bookmarks you want, but that’s just the beginning. Let’s find out how to really use bookmarks on your iPhone.

How to search in a page or website in Mobile Safari

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safari search
Mobile Safari's search is good, but hard to use.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Ever since iOS 9, iOS has had a dedicated share extension to search the current web page in Safari. You just hit the sharing arrow, then choose Find in Page on the bottom row of options, and then you can type in your query. It works, and it works well, but it’s a very clunky method for doing something that requires a single keystroke (Command-F) on the Mac.

Today we’ll look at some alternatives for finding text in a web page on iOS, along with a bonus tip for site-wide searches.

How to add a bookmarklet in Mobile Safari

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bookmarklet code
In 2017, you still have to copy-and-paste Javascript to save a bookmarklet on iOS.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Bookmarklets are those little bookmarks you click to run mini “apps” in your web browser. You might have one that saves the current page to your Instapaper account, or one that launches a Google search focused only on the current site. Bookmarklets can translate highlighted text on a page, send something to your to-do list, or pretty much anything. On the Mac, installing a bookmarklet is easy. You just drag it to the bookmarks bar in Safari and you’re done. On iOS, though, it’s still a real pain.

So, bookmark this how-to (in the usual way), and have it handy for those times you need to install a bookmarklet on an iPhone or iPad.