Smartphones are a critical device yet vulnerable to privacy nightmare. If no precautions are taken, you can quite literally expose yourself to unwanted friends and hackers. Thankfully, phone manufacture offers a range of ways to protect ourselves, such as the mysteriously-named incognito mode.
Incognito mode isn’t infallible, however, and it too has its limitations you should know about.
Here’s what Google incognito mode is all about what it does and what it doesn’t do.
What is the incognito mode?
The word incognito itself means to work in disguise or to hide one’s real identity. Incognito mode on Android devices is almost the same. It is a way to hide as you use the web. This more in Android hides your browsing history so others can’t see the web sites you’ve visited. This masks your footprints across the web.
How to Use Incognito Mode?
Incognito mode you will find in the Chrome browser app on Android phones and tablets, and also the Chrome desktop browser for Macs, Windows machines, and of course ChromeOS.
On your Android device, open Chrome and tap the three-dot menu button in the address bar. A drop-down window is visible with many actions, like starring the page or opening a new window. Here you will find the “new incognito tab.” Tap that and Chrome will open a new, private tab. You’ll see the little spy-like icon with a fedora and glasses and a notification that “you’ve gone incognito.”
It’s done! You can now browse privately. Switch between incognito tabs and regular tab by tapping the tab tool in the address bar. When you are browsing in the real incognito tab you are browsing privately not when you are browsing in the regular tab.
What does it mean to browse privately?
Incognito mode, is device-specific protection. If you use incognito mode on one device, but not another, then the second device’s browser history is still vulnerable. When working on incognito mode prevents others who pick up the device from seeing your browser history.
In this mode, even Chrome does not save your browser history, nor any data you type into web forms. Google Chrome will not integrate your private browsing history across your account if signed into Chrome. Chrome will track cookies, site data, and permissions granted while you’re browsing, but all this information is deleted upon closing the incognito tab. Of course, you can also delete your browsing history manually any time you choose.
Some information is still visible to others
Although incognito mode stops Chrome from logging your surfing sessions on your phone, it cannot prevent a whole range of others from seeing your online activity.
The website you visited and the advertisers both will know about it. Any website you sign in to will also know you browsed that site because it logged the sign-in. Your network will also have access to your browsing history. The same is the case with your internet provider at home. Also, search engines, too, will have access to your browsing history and may even show search suggestions as per your browsing history.
Incognito mode does not protect you from law enforcement.
There’s more who can access your history.
Chrome itself does not store any files you may download but your files are saved to the main folder of downloads. These files are still there once you close your incognito tab after ending your browsing session. Anyone can find and open them.
Any bookmarks that you create in private mode are saved to Chrome. Any preferences, settings, and accessibility adjustments you might have done during private browsing may be saved to Chrome, too.
How to turn off private browsing?
It’s quite easy. As incognito mode works on its separate tab apart from your regular Chrome tabs, it’s simple to locate. Tap the tab 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. The private tabs are mostly dark-colored. Tap the “x” button in the top right corner of each incognito tab to close them.
Closing incognito will close everything. Means everything remains in the open until you close the incognito tabs.
Do other browsers and apps have incognito mode?
They all sure have. You will find incognito more in Google’s Play Store and Maps apps also. Although the Incognito mode for the Play Store is still in testing and is yet to be fully rolled out. This helps you to browse for and search through apps without having your searches recorded. Incognito mode for Google Maps helps you hide your travels and your searches.
You will find YouTube has an incognito mode, also. It prevents others from seeing your browsing history. The limitations are the same as they are with Chrome.
The Microsoft Edge browser for Windows 10 offers InPrivate mode, and Firefox supports Private Browsing for most platforms. All these prevent the browser from recording your browsing history when in the proper mode.
Google Chrome’s incognito mode isn’t the right solution if you want to go completely untraceable, but it does have its uses. Just remember, it doesn’t impact most apps anyway. Whether you have anything to hide or not, have safe browsing!