BROWSING the internet using the incognito mode in Google Chrome means the web browser won’t remember your activity – although you are far from being totally hidden from view.
Here’s a step-by-step guide how to switch on – and off – the feature.
EPA The Incognito mode can be used on mobile devices, including iPhones
How to go incognito in Google Chrome
On your computer open Chrome in a new window.
Click on the More tab in the top right corner, symbolised by three dots in a vertical line, and select ‘New Incognito Window’.
The More tab is symbolised by three dots
A new window will appear, to make sure it is in the incognito mode, look for this on the page:
If you see this, you’ve gone Incognito in Google Chrome
It is possible to switch between Incognito windows and regular Chrome windows.
You’ll only browse in private when you’re using an Incognito window.
To stop incognito browsing simply close down the window by clicking the cross in the top left hand corner.
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 cookies 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.
Reuters Austrian lawyer and privacy activist Max Schrems prepares his laptop
What doesn’t Incognito Mode hide?
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.
Your internet service provider (so BT, Virgin, and so on) will also be able to see what you’re doing online.
That means the police can also get access to what you view in Incognito Mode, simply by requesting that information from your internet provider.
The websites you’re using will also be able to track that you’re online on their page, too.
Google will know where you’re browsing from, and what you’re looking at.