Incognito Mode: Things You Were Dying to Know
Smartphones have become an indispensable part of life but are also a privacy nightmare. If you fail to take proper precautions, you might expose yourself and your loved ones to cybercriminals and hackers.
Luckily, there are some ways to keep your information hidden when you’re surfing the web. One such method is using the incognito mode when using Google Chrome. However, incognito mode is not infallible, and it comes with its limitations. That’s why it is a good idea to delete the incognito history.
Here’s what you must know about this privacy browsing method.
- What is incognito mode & how to turn it on?
Incognito means to hide your true identity. So when this mode is enabled on your device, you can hide your tracks as you surf the web. In addition, this mode hides browsing history so others cannot see your visited websites.
Incognito mode is available in the Google Chrome app and desktop version.
To turn it on, open the browser and click on the three dots, and from the drop-down menu, choose New Incognito Tab. The new tab will open, and you can see a spy-like icon with glasses and a fedora.
- What things are not recognized when browsing in incognito mode?
In the incognito mode, things that are not recorded include permissions, your browsing history, site data and cookies, information entered in forms, etc.
But your activity can still be tracked by the network’s owner, like your employer, school, or even your ISP.
Furthermore, when you log into a website, the site will remember the activity even if you were browsing in incognito mode.
It is critical to note that this mode works locally and not outside of it. So it will not store the data mentioned above on your system, but it has nothing to do with the websites or servers you visit.
For example, if you log in to an online shopping website and buy something, the website will record everything you have done on the website. The website will record your browsing history and the products you ordered. But your computer will not remember you opened the website and ordered products.
That’s why you need to delete your browsing history even in incognito mode if you don’t want those details remaining.
- What information is visible to others when browsing in this mode?
Incognito mode prevents Google Chrome from logging your web surfing sessions. But it does not stop everyone from seeing your online activity.
When you visit a website, the entities can see your IP address, real-time activities of using the website or service, etc.
If you truly wish to anonymously surf the web, use a VPN service. VPNs encrypt data and ensure your information remains hidden. In addition, they mask IP addresses so that nobody can figure out your location.
- When should you use this mode?
You can use the incognito mode if you wish to browse privately on computers used by others. Or, you can use this mode to look for something without impacting your previous activity, see less targeted ads in the future, view websites without saving them in the browser history, sign into multiple accounts for websites that don’t support various logins, etc.
- Do other web browsers and apps have incognito mode?
Yes, other apps and browsers do have an incognito mode. For example, Google’s Maps and Play Store have an incognito mode.
The incognito mode for the Play Store is still in its testing phase and hasn’t fully rolled out. When it does, you can browse and search for apps without recording all your searches. As for Google Maps, you can use this mode to hide your searches and travels. But kindly note that this will not prevent other applications from seeing what you are doing. For complete anonymity, you need to use VPNs.
YouTube also has this mode, and you can enable it to prevent others from viewing your search and history. However, the limitations are the same as with Play Store, Maps, and Chrome.
Safari for Mac, iPad, and iPhone also supports private browsing. You can access it by clicking the tabs button in the web browser and choosing Private to open a new tab. With this turned on, Safari will not remember the websites and pages you have visited and won’t even know your search history, AutoFill information, etc. You can come out of the private browsing mode by closing the tab.
The bottom line
The incognito mode allows private browsing but does not hide IP addresses or your activities from the ISP, website owners, or even network owners. But if you don’t want people to see your searches and browsing history, you can surf the web by enabling this mode. If you want to get out of the private browsing mode, simply close the tab and resume surfing the web normally.