What Does Google Chrome’s Incognito Mode Really Hide? Probably Not As Much As You Thought


YOU might think you’re keeping your browsing hidden with the Incognito Mode on Google Chrome, but is it really as safe as you thought?

We’ve put together a helpful guide that reveals exactly what Incognito Mode does (and more importantly, doesn’t) hide.

Alamy Incognito Mode is a feature that lets you hide your browsing habits from your online history

What is Incognito Mode and how do I activate it?

If you use the Google Chrome web browser, you may have heard about Incognito Mode.

It’s a feature that’s built into the browser, no matter if you’re using it on PC, Mac or your smartphone.

Incognito Mode is designed to (partially) conceal your internet activity, and the websites you visit.

To use it, you’ll need Google Chrome installed.

On PC, simply press CTRL-SHIFT-N on your keyboard to launch it.

Alamy Some users utilise Incognito Mode to watch adult videos – but your internet provider can still see what you’re doing

For Mac users, you’ll need to hit CMD-SHIFT-N instead.

And iPhone users need to go into the Chrome app settings and choose Open Incognito Tab.

What does Incognito Mode do?

Incognito Mode is extremely useful, because it can stop your browser saving information about what you do online to your computer.

For instance, any websites you visit while in Incognito Mode won’t show up in your browsing history.

You also won’t store any new cookies (read our cookier explainer here), which are small computer files that let websites know if you’ve been on their page previously.

It also won’t save any site data – for instance, if you’re logged into a website, you’ll be logged out in incognito mode.

And information won’t be stored for later use in web forms that you fill in.

This makes Incognito Mode really useful, particularly if you’re trying to hide what you’re doing from other people in your household.

If you’re looking for a birthday present for your partner, using Incognito Mode will mean they won’t be able to see what you’ve been looking at.

Or if you want to search for something on the internet, but don’t want websites to constantly serve you ads for that product in the future, Incognito Mode will prevent those sites from knowing you were interested in an item.

What doesn’t Incognito Mode hide?

We’ve established that Incognito Mode stops Google Chrome from saving your browsing habits on your own computer.

What it doesn’t stop is everything else.

Anyone on your Wi-Fi network could potentially use special spy software to view what you’re browsing, regardless of Incognito Mode.

And your employer will be able to use similar technology to see what you’re browsing at work, too.

It’s entirely possible that your employer logs every website you visit while at work.

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