Incognito mode unmasked: What it does and what it doesn’t do


Don’t be fooled into thinking that Google Incognito Mode hides everything you do online.

Smartphones are an important life tool and yet also a privacy nightmare. If you don’t take proper precautions, you could expose yourself to unintentional friends or family members who pick up your device and stumble across the wrong app or folder. Thankfully, phone makers offer a number of ways we can protect ourselves, such as the mysteriously named Incognito Mode.

But first, let’s back up a second: Use a screen lock. Choose the one that works for you, be it a PIN, password, pattern, print or face. A screen lock provides the first layer of defense and should have (almost) everything you need to protect yourself. However, there are some with whom we share our screen locks, such as a partner or trusted family member or friend (if you’re a parent, don’t believe for a second that your kids don’t know your password). gone…they are).

read moreShould you be using the privacy-focused Brave browser?

Since few people may be able to get past our screen lock, there is a need for a second line of defense against undue embarrassment. One such defense is Google Chrome’s Incognito Mode, or private browsing. However, Incognito mode isn’t perfect. In fact, it has limitations that you should be aware of.

Here’s what Google Incognito Mode does and doesn’t.

What is Incognito Mode?

The word secret means to hide one’s true identity. Incognito mode on Android devices is just that; It’s a way to hide when you travel the web. The Incognito Mode realized in Google Chrome on Android basically hides your browsing history so that other people can’t see the websites you visit. In fact, it hides your footprints across the web.

how to turn on incognito mode

incognito mode is available In the Chrome browser app on Android phones and tablets, as well as the Chrome desktop browser for Macs, Windows machines and, of course, Chrome OS.

On your Android device, open Chrome and tap the three-dot menu button in the address bar. A drop-down window appears with several available actions, such as staring a page or opening a new window. One of the options is “New Incognito Tab”. Tap on it and Chrome will open a new, private tab. You’ll see a little spy-like icon with a fedora and glasses and a confirmation that “You’ve gone incognito.”

Congratulations, you are now browsing privately. You can jump between incognito tabs and regular tabs by tapping the Tabs tool in the address bar. You’ll browse privately only when you’re in a real incognito tab.

What does it mean to browse privately?

Incognito mode, or browsing privately, is a device-specific protection. If you use Incognito Mode on one device but not on another device, that other device’s browser history is still vulnerable.

read more: Best Privacy Browser on Android

At its simplest, incognito mode prevents other people taking the device from seeing your browser history. In this mode, Chrome itself does not save your browser history, nor any data you type in web forms. Assuming you’re signed in to Chrome, Google Chrome won’t sync your private browsing history to your account. Chrome will remember cookies, site data, and permissions you grant while you browse, but this information is deleted when you close the Incognito tab (of course, you can manually delete your browsing history at any time) .

If you use Private Browsing, no one who picks up your device will know you’ve visited your bank’s website or – ahem – “other sites” which can cause embarrassment.

Some information is still visible to others

That said, Incognito Mode prevents Chrome from logging your surfing sessions on your phone. This doesn’t prevent a whole range of others from seeing your online activity.

For example, any website you visit will know that you have visited, as will its advertisers. Any website you sign into will know that you have browsed that site because it has logged in to the sign-in. If you’re at work or school, anyone who runs the network will have access to your browsing history. The same goes for your internet provider at home. That means AT&T or Verizon Wireless if you’re out and about, or Comcast or Verizon FiOS in your home. Search engines will also have access to your browsing history and may even show you search suggestions based on where you are or what you are doing.

Can Your ISP See Your Browsing History? Here’s what you need to know.

What can these entities actually see? Here is a list:

  • your ip address, which is a way of identifying your place of origin.
  • your real, real time activity as you access any website or service.
  • In addition – and this is important – your identification If you sign in to a web service. This includes sites owned by Google such as Gmail.
Incognito mode doesn’t hide you from law enforcement.

Incognito Mode doesn’t hide you from law enforcement, which can trick your wireless or wired Internet provider into figuring out your IP address and revealing your history.

But wait: there’s more. Chrome itself doesn’t store any files you may download while browsing in Incognito mode; However, those files are doing Saved in the main Downloads folder. The files are still there after you close your private browsing session. This means that anyone can find and open them.

Any bookmarks you create in private mode are saved in Chrome. This means that if you save a bookmark for an adult website or service, it will appear in your Bookmarks folder. In addition, any preferences, settings, and accessibility adjustments you make during private browsing can be saved in Chrome as well.

Google may be tracking your porn habits in Incognito mode

Why bother using Incognito Mode?

There are specific reasons. You may not be completely safe when browsing privately, but you are at least safe from some embarrassment and the potential to harm your close family and friends.

For example, if your family shares a tablet or PC, please use private browsing—especially if you have children in the household. Kids can easily get into trouble on the device, so don’t give them easy access to their favorite adult or financial sites.

If your family shares a tablet or PC, please use Private Browsing.

Another example: You are using a public computer. Let’s say you have to fill out a form at a doctor’s office or a similar machine. See if you can switch on Private Browsing mode so that others using the machine can’t go back to the page and stumble upon your data.

Finally, if you don’t want your partner or significant other to know what you’re doing online, private browsing is the best way to keep that information to yourself. This is a must-have for things like gift-shopping and surprise parties.

How do you turn off private browsing?

It’s quite easy. Since Incognito Mode runs in its own tab in addition to your regular Chrome tab, it’s easy to detect. Tap the Tabs button in the upper right corner of the browser and it should show two series of tabs: Regular on the left and Private on the right. Private tabs are often darker. Tap the “x” button in the top right corner of each incognito tab to close them.

Alternatively, Android offers you a very powerful way to avoid the hassle. Let’s say you were enjoying some adult content but in a hurry turn off your screen and leave the tab active in Chrome. Anyone with Chrome open will land right smack in the middle of that content. Chrome in Android gives you the option to end all incognito tabs from the quick settings menu. It appears as a silent notification. Just tap on the notification “Close all incognito tabs” and it will silently shut everything down. Crisis averted big time.

It is important to turn off Incognito Mode. Everything remains open until you actually close the incognito tab.

Do other apps and browsers have Incognito Mode?

They make sure. Google has Incognito Mode in its Play Store and Maps app. Incognito Mode for Play Store is still in testing and hasn’t been fully rolled out. The idea is to allow you to browse and search through apps without having to record your searches. Incognito Mode for Google Maps Allows you to hide your travels and your discoveries. None of these solutions prevent other apps from seeing what you are doing.

YouTube has incognito mode, Too. This prevents others from seeing your search and viewing history. The limitations are the same as they are with Chrome.

Safari for iPhone, iPad, and Mac supports private browsing. Access it by tapping the Tabs button in Safari and then selecting “Private” to open a new tab. Apple says Safari won’t remember the pages you’ve visited, your search history, or your Autofill information once you close a tab in Private Browsing mode.

Microsoft Edge is in the browser for Windows 10 machines private mode, and supports Firefox private browsing For most platforms. Like other apps, these prevent the browser from recording your browsing history when it is in proper mode. We also like the Brave browser and have a great roundup of all the best web browsers for privacy.


Google Chrome’s Incognito Mode isn’t a perfect solution, but it does have its uses. Keep in mind, this doesn’t affect most apps at all. If you download an adult content app, it’s entirely up to you whether to hide in a folder or lock it with a passcode.

Whether you have something to hide or not, Safe Browsing folks!

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