What Is Incognito Mode?

Incognito mode is a way you can surf the internet with your web browser. If the computer has multiple users, other users can’t look at the browser history and see where you have been. Even the cookies are deleted at the end of the incognito browsing session.

There are many reasons why you may want to use incognito mode. Those reasons include:

  • If you need to access two accounts at the same time that use the same service, incognito mode will allow this. For example, you may have two Facebook accounts that you need to use at once. This is called “isolated browsing.”
  • Get around news media paywalls. If you need to read a news article but you’ve already reached your free article limit for the month, incognito mode allows you to get around this. News sites leave cookies on your computer, which is how they know you’ve been there before. Since incognito mode disposes of cookies every time a session ends, the paywall will think you’re a new user when you visit again in incognito mode. However, keep in mind that paying for online news services can have other benefits.
  • Preventing other users on the computer to see websites that you’ve visited. If you want to buy your significant other a great gift online, you can do so without being found out.

How Private Is Incognito Mode?

Keeping online accounts private when using a public computer in a library, café, or other private place. Incognito mode prevents the browser from saving login data and financial information.

We are now back to the big question regarding incognito mode and true privacy. Although incognito mode hides your activities from people on a shared computer, the rest of the world knows where you have been. Websites are still able to see your IP address, and your internet service provider is going to be able to track what you are doing. If the computer has a virus, anyone who has hacked your computer will be able to see you, and so will intelligence agencies through their monitoring activities. In other words, you can’t completely hide. Regardless of how stealthy you try to be, you are still being tracked in some way. Even your virus software is keeping track of your activities to keep your computer safe from threats.

All incognito mode does is change the behavior of your browser. The way everything else behaves doesn’t change. Normally, a browser stores browsing history data. When you visit a website in regular browsing mode, the visit is recorded in your history, cookies from that website are saved, and data that can be autocompleted later are stored. Your browser also saves your download history, searches entered into the address bar, passwords, and pieces of webpages so they will load faster in the future (cache). If other people use the computer, they will stumble upon this stored information in some way. While you can disable some data collection in the browser privacy settings, incognito mode is just easier to deal with.

How to Activate Incognito Mode?

If you want to use incognito mode, activating it is rather simple. You will usually find it in the browser controls. For instance, Chrome has three vertical dots in the upper right corner of the screen. Click the three dots and then click “New Incognito Window.” To exit incognito mode, you simply click the three dots and opt to exit.


In Firefox, you can click the word “Firefox” in the upper left corner and then click “New Private Window.” In Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge, you can go to the tools menu and activate “InPrivate Browsing.” If you are using any other browser, you will find incognito mode in similar locations within the menu.

4 Important Things you should know;


Well, nothing really is private these days but if you’re thinking that switching to incognito mode is going to magically cloak your internet behavior, you’re wrong.


Before the NSA revelations and the incognito page redesign, Chrome had a funny line in there. Thanks to Dailykos we can all enjoy it. Listed under Be wary of was Surveillance by secret agents.


The point of incognito mode is not to hide your identity from the rest of the world, it’s to hide your interactions with the internet from the PC you’re using (and the Google account you’re logged into).


VPN Maybe…
Maybe not “truly” (ahem, secret agents), but we can surely try. Using VPN is usually the easiest and most effective way. A VPN masks physical location and IP address. So the website you’re visiting doesn’t really know who or where you are.



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