Whether you’re in an endless stream of researching a new topic you’re obsessed with, or something a little less savory, you may have wondered what your PS4 friends can and cannot see when using the system’s browser.
- Can the regular PS4 run at 60 FPS?
- Does PS4 support gigabit ethernet?
- 500 GB vs 1 TB PS4 (aka why are games so big?)
Since privacy is worth more than gold, getting a grip on what you’re PS4 is broadcasting to the world is worth looking into.
Which brings us to the main concern – can your PS4 friends see what website you’re looking at?
The short of it?
No, nobody outside of the immediate proximity of your console will be able to know what you’re using the (limited) browser for.
There is, however, some privacy upkeep to consider when using your console to go online.
What your friends can see while using the browser
Rest assured, your PS4 friends won’t be able to see which websites you’re looking at. In fact, your friends won’t even be able to tell that you’re using the PS4 browser.
- Don’t want you’re friends to know you’re online at all? Make use of the Appear Offline feature introduced in firmware update 3.50.
Others will be able to see that you’re online, but like browsing the PSN store, chatting with friends, watching Netflix, or navigating the home screen, your status will be blank.
Sony opted to treat the browser like an afterthought, and one of the only benefits of this is that it’s great for privacy buffs.
How to manage your browsing privacy
Even though your browsing activity isn’t shared online with others, there are a few things to take note of before surfing online.
The PS4 browser does keep a history of the websites you’ve visited, and if you haven’t set a password for your account, anyone who logs on will be able to see what you’ve visited should they open the browser.
The browser will also open up you’re last visited websites when you launch the app.
Want to keep your browsing history private?
Follow these steps before your next sketchy session:
- Set a password for your local PS4 account
- Clear your browsing history after each session
- Clear your PS4s keyboard auto suggestion
The first two are privacy 101, but clearing out the auto suggest feature shouldn’t be ignored if you want to avoid a particularly awkward situation the next time someone is sitting next to you.
What started as a quick message asking your friend to play Apex Legends can soon escalate into quite the pivot.
Apart from this, make sure nobody is looking over your shoulder (aka shoulder surfing). While your bank credentials most likely aren’t up for grabs, your dignity is another matter entirely.
Does the browser support ad blocking?
Whichever side of the spectrum your browsing habits are on there’s no escaping the annoyance of obtrusive ads. Thankfully, most modern browsers strip away the fat thanks to add-ons like uBlock Origin and Adblock Plus.
Unfortunately, the PS4 browser is not one of them.
While these options require a greater barrier to entry than browser add-ons, both offer platform agnostic ad blocking once implemented.