Brave private tab Duckduckgo search engine

I have been using Brave for more than a year.

I used to have Google as my search engine in normal tabs and Duckduckgo as my search engine for private tabs.

Now I recently reset my PC and reinstalled brave. But now I am unable to get private tab with duckduckgo. I have to type :d everytime to make the switch from google to DDG. I want to have it default search engine but only for private tab.

How do I do this? There are no settings or anything.

They remade the private window start screen to give it a “clean look”
and made it really hard to use the feature.

to get it back:

  1. close Brave browser.

  2. open the file
    %LocalAppData%\BraveSoftware\Brave-Browser\User Data\Default\Preferences.
    It is a JSON file you can open with a texteditor. (VsCode for example)
    if you have no experience with working with JSON files please be very careful. i have no idea what happens if you make an error here.

  3. format the file if your text editor can do that (otherwise it will be hard to see what you are doing.

  4. find the "brave": {...} section in the file.

  5. add "use_alternate_private_search_engine": true, as the first child of the "brave": {...} section.

it should look like this (if formatted):

"brave": {
	"use_alternate_private_search_engine": true,


  1. save and open up brave browser again

good luck!

be careful to not break the file since it might break something.


I believe that we did have this as an option in previous implementations but you’re right, they don’t seem to be there anymore. Let me reach out and see if there any workarounds for this — if not I may have to open a feature request for this as I do believe that option should be available.

I made a reply yesterday that has the solution here but is is stuck in spam filter, waiting for review

Yeah flagged by the system — I went ahead and approved it and it can now be seen above.