How To Enable Private Browsing In Chrome

If you've used other browsers such as Firefox and Safari, you may be familiar with "Private browsing," which is a mode where the browser doesn't track or save your browsing history or search information. Google's Chrome has a similar function known as "Incognito mode." Here we'll walk you through how to turn on incognito mode and show you a few of its advantages. You may find that even if you have nothing to hide from your family members, there are a few situations where, for security reasons, it's a smart idea. If you really want to keep your searches private, check out the list of the Best No-Tracking Search Engines. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

How Do I Turn On Incognito Mode?

  1. Open a new Chrome window
  2. Click the menu button in the upper-right corner (the three dots)
  3. Select "New incognito window"
  4. OR, press Ctrl+Shift+N in Windows or Command+Shift+N on Mac
  5. Read the privacy information and continue browsing

Can Incognito Mode Keep My Boss From Seeing What I Do On My Work Computer?

Not if you're using your company's internet connection. Your employer can use data from their servers and internet service provider to access information on your browsing and download history. Incognito mode is just for limiting what is saved by Chrome on your computer. You're better off keeping any personal activity limited to computers that aren't provided by your employer.

When Is Incognito Mode A Good Idea?

  • When you're logging into Facebook on a friend's computer
  • When you have separate email or Twitter accounts for work and personal use
  • When you don't want your browsing history influencing your search results
  • If you're Christmas shopping and don't want family members to see your Amazon searches

How Do I Turn Off Incognito Mode?

To exit incognito mode, simply close out of all active windows that are running incognito. When you open a new browser window, it will be a regular Chrome window.

How Else Can I Keep Websites From Storing My Information?

While private browsing modes don't save cookies, which keeps your browsing history from affecting what you are shown online, some people want even more anonymity when they browse the internet. For those people, web proxy servers and VPNs are an option. To learn more about them, read up on exactly What Is A Web Proxy Server?

In Depth

Did you know that your internet browser tracks your activity while you are surfing the web? It keeps track of sites you visit and searches you perform, it saves information you enter into forms, and it records other data to make your online experience smoother and more personalized. It saves that information as small files called cookies and as your browsing history.

Anyone can review that saved browsing history, so some people do not want their online activity to be saved. All browsers allow a special private mode that prevents the browser from permanently saving your browsing information. Let's take a closer look at how this private mode works and how to enable it in Chrome.

Private browsing in Chrome is called "incognito mode," and it is very easy to enable. Open Chrome and click the menu button in the upper right corner. It looks like three vertical dots. Then click "New incognito window." A new window opens and tells you that you have gone incognito. Read the information about this privacy mode before you continue browsing. This method of launching the Chrome privacy mode also works on mobile devices powered by iOS and Android. You can also open an incognito session on Windows PCs with the keyboard combination, Shift, Ctrl, N, or Command, Shift, N, on a Mac.

A new window opens and tells you that you have gone incognito.

You can always tell that you are in private mode because the tab background turns gray and the incognito icon appears in the upper left corner. While in private browsing mode, Chrome will not remember searches or information you type into forms, such as usernames and passwords. It will not save your browsing history, and it will save cookies only until all incognito windows are closed. A cookie is a small file normally stored on your computer for longer periods of time. Websites use these files to track information about your browser and your activity while at the website. To close a private browsing session, simply close all Chrome incognito windows.

People use private browsing for a number of reasons. The most common is to prevent unwanted and potentially embarrassing websites and searches from appearing in their browser history. Another use of private browsing mode is to perform searches that are not influenced by a user's surfing history. Under normal circumstances, a user's search results can be influenced by what Google knows about the user from past searches and pages visited. Because private browsing does not save cookies, these factors are removed from search results while in private mode.

Private browsing also allows users to be logged in to a webpage or service using multiple accounts at the same time. For example, in private mode, a person could be logged into two Facebook accounts in the same browser window, each one in a different tab. This capability is useful for users who have two accounts for a given service. For example, you might have two gmail addresses or twitter accounts: one for work and one for personal use.

This capability is useful for users who have two accounts for a given service.

Another good use of private browsing mode is to sign in to personal accounts on computers or mobile devices that are not your own. Say you want to check your email or Facebook feed on a friend's computer. If you do so in normal mode, you would first have to sign the friend out of their accounts and then sign in. You would also have to remember to sign out when you are finished, then your friend would need to sign back in. If you use private browsing mode, your friend can stay signed into his or her accounts while you sign into yours in a private window.

Chrome does not forget everything when in incognito mode however. It remembers bookmarks you create and downloaded files, even after the private window is closed. It is also important to note that private mode does not make your browsing activity completely invisible. Websites you visit, your employer or school, and your internet service provider might still be able to reconstruct your activity based on server data and your IP address, which is a unique string of numbers that identifies each computer on the internet. Incognito mode merely prevents your browsing history from being stored on your computer.

Private browsing mode is a useful tool for anyone who cares about privacy on the internet. While it does not completely hide your browsing activity, incognito mode in the Chrome browser is a good way to decrease your exposure to threats against your privacy. It can be especially helpful when multiple people share the same device, when using public computers, or in any situation where you do not want the browser to remember your browsing and search history or your personal information such as usernames and passwords. Start your incognito session in Chrome for Windows by opening Chrome and pressing Shift, Ctrl, N, together on your keyboard.