There is a need for everyone to keep some browsing habits private, this can be as much from work colleagues, family members or to reduce online threats.
As a result, most browsers now include some form of private browsing mode which leaves no traces for anyone to see.
Here, we will take a look at how you can do this on most of the standard web browsers, and why it isn’t as private as you might imagine.
We will also see how you can go incognito while online to prevent anyone from seeing what you are doing.
Although Chrome might be the most popular browser, there are other options, and you can go much further than relying on their implementation of secure browsing.
What is Incognito Mode?
There are several reasons why this mode is used and can include:
- Privacy on a shared or public computer/ device. You might be using a computer in a library and don’t want your passwords to remain on the system. This can be the same as your browsing history because it can happen, the next person can see your login page to an account.
- Another area is if you have multiple accounts. Some services only allow you to sign into one registered account at once. If you have multiple Gmail accounts for work, you might need these open at the same time. When you open a new incognito window, you can get around this limitation easily.
- Bypassing Paywalls is another area where these are great browsing modes. Websites that allow a set amount of pages read or visits will block you when you have reached the limit. When you go incognito, you can access the site, and it will think you are a new user.
Setting Incognito Mode in My Browser
Google Chrome is the most popular browser, and it is the technology that many others are based. Here are the instructions on how you can enter the Google Incognito mode.
Open your Chrome browser and click on the small wrench icon in the top RH corner of your browser window.
Click the Chrome ‘New Incognito Window’ this opens a new window where you can browse securely.
If you want to use a shortcut, you can press the ctrl+shift+n to open a new secure browser window and enter a Google Incognito session.
Chrome doesn’t record visited sites, but any downloads or bookmarks created will be stored.
This browser also can’t stop other programs or apps from saving any data about you so it might not be the most secure browser to use in a workplace.
Alternative Secure Browser to Google Chrome
Another popular browser is Mozilla Firefox. It also allows browsing privately, and to access this, you hit the open menu which is signified by three horizontal lines in the top right corner and click on the mask icon for a new window to enable their private browsing mode. There is also a shortcut for this and is ctrl+shft+p.
Firefox goes further in what it deletes at the end of the session. Browsing history, search history, download history, web form history, cookies, or temporary internet files are all removed, but like chrome, bookmarks and downloads will be saved.
Firefox also warns users that both employers or ISP’s can still track pages you visit. This browser will also enable content blocking, and this prevents online trackers from collecting info about your browsing session.
Microsoft Secure Browsing
Microsoft has two inclusions, and luckily Internet Explorer is still supported. InPrivate browsing is the term given for this browser, and to access this, you need to open the tools menu after clicking the gear menu button.
Next, you need to scroll down to safety and hover so the sub-menu opens, and there you can click to open the InPrivate window.
Along with not storing the same items as other browserss, IE disables toolbars and extensions by default. The shortcut is the same as Firefox incognito shortcut ctrl+shft+p.
To be sure you are in a private mode, the address bar will display an InPrivate logo.
Microsoft Edge is the latest browser and uses the same terminology as IE for private browsing. To open a private window, tap the three dots and select ‘New In Private Window.’
Browsing Privately isn’t So Private
When you go incognito in Google or use any of the other browsers for the same, users might think they are out of sight and secure while online.
Here are 3 ways that hitting the incognito tab fails to protect you:
- You are not anonymous – only your online activity is erased. Tracking sites can still track, and your internet service provider will know what you have done.
- You Can’t Get Away From Surveillance – Your IP address remains the same. Any person or agency that can track IP addresses can trace activity back to you.
- Downloads are on your Device or Phone – It doesn’t matter if you are using a PC. Mac or Samsung Galaxy Incognito mode won’t erase anything you have downloaded.
How to Go Really Incognito Online
As much as all these browsers try and protect you while you are online. They can only do so much. One browser not on the list is Opera who have taken one more step towards the best solution.
They have included a VPN into their latest browser, and although not up to the level of something as good as a premium VPN package, it does help that little bit more.
The only solution is to use a virtual private network like ExpressVPN. This can be used in conjunction with all of the above browsers so your browsing data will be removed.
However, a VPN really shines when it comes to blocking anyone from seeing what sites you visit.
One other advantage of a VPN over all of the above is it can protect you at the system level rather than only your browser.
Why choose to be browsing in private when you can have a device that appears to be invisible.