Home Blog Tips Is Incognito Mode Browsing Really Private? Short Answer: No
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Oct 13, 2022
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Is Incognito Mode Browsing Really Private? Short Answer: No

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On your Internet browser or another app, you may have seen something called “Incognito Mode.” Usually, the mode is represented by a spy or another secrecy symbol. But is it truly private? Well, not exactly. Let’s explain.

What Is Incognito Mode?

This kind of setting involves a browsing session on an Internet browser or app that does not save user data. When you start anonymous actions, you start with a clean slate. You don’t start with cookies, browser history, or other prior data.

Most browsers have some incognito mode. They may refer to it as secret configurations, invisible mode, or private mode. However, all of these names carry the same idea. When you close your incognito tab, your browser does not save any of the data. So once you open these settings again, you will have a blank slate each time.

What Is Incognito Mode Good for?

People use private settings for different reasons, many of them innocuous. For example, incognito mode lets you view websites with a fresh start, which can work well if you’re logged into an account or have cookies tracking you. People also go incognito when they don’t want someone else to see their search history. Finally, such a mode can be great for guests, as they won’t leave behind a digital footprint. To summarize, incognito mode is suitable for:

  • Signing into multiple emails or accounts. Since each tab gives you a clean slate, you don’t have to worry about your browser being logged into one at all times.
  • Purchasing a gift for someone. No search history means you won’t ruin the surprise for your loved one.
  • It can work great as a guest browser. That way, a guest won’t leave behind any unwanted data.
  • Incognito mode works well if you want to see your website as an outsider.
  • Some use anonymous settings because they don’t want cookies and wish to be as secure as possible with each browser session.
  • Such settings may also be used on e-commerce sites, which may change the algorithm or prices based on your data. This way, you can ensure you’re getting the best deal.
  • Finally, some people indeed use anonymity for nefarious reasons, such as cheating, as they believe that incognito mode means they won’t get caught.

In addition, some apps and websites have their private configurations. One example is YouTube. What is YouTube incognito mode? Simply put, it lets you view the content on this platform without leaving behind any search history and lets you view the website through a fresh pair of digital eyes. As you browse YouTube, the algorithm recommends different videos. Online anonymity lets you have a clean slate.

What Is Incognito Mode Not Good for?

It can be considered as not suitable for truly private browsing. Unfortunately, some people make the mistake of believing that if they turn on incognito mode, it will protect them against ISPs, government spying, school networks, and people using tracking apps. However, this is a mistake.

This type of configuration is also unsuitable if you share a computer with someone tech-savvy. With an average person, it is possible to clear search history or look up how to delete search history securely, and they won’t be able to see it.

Incognito mode is also unsuitable if you wish to save all your information. This is because you’ll have to log into all your accounts manually when you use it. That said, there may be a reason why you wish to stay logged off, such as privacy.

Why Browsing in Incognito Mode Is Not Truly Private

While this mode offers some privacy, it’s not a substitute if you want total privacy.

You can still be watched via private configurations. This fact is especially true if you browse via a school network, someone else’s ISP, or you’re in a public network. The server owner can look at what you’re doing, collect your data, and even stop you from visiting some websites. In addition, you won’t be protected against spy apps such as uMobix, which can monitor you at all times – track browser history, log keystrokes, take screenshots, etc.

Therefore, we recommend more than an incognito search if you’re using the Internet for private matters or wish to remain truly anonymous.

One Privacy Tip: Change Your Default Search Engine

If you want to remain anonymous, one tip is to change your search engine. The big-name search engines, such as Google and Bing, can use your data, and there is a chance they may even use your data in a so-called incognito mode.

Instead, use search engines designed for privacy. The first one that comes to mind is DuckDuckGo, a search engine that allows private browsing. Other search engines you may want to consider are Qwant and StartPage.

Again, these aren’t perfect, especially if you have a parental control app or phone tracker installed on your phone, but they can be a good start.

Is a Private Browser Safe?

A private browser provides some safety, be it Safari private browsing, incognito mode Chrome version, or Incognito mode Android browser. However, it’s not foolproof.

It is still possible for spies or hackers to see your data, particularly when you are logged into your account. In addition, you are still susceptible to malware, phishing, and other attacks against your privacy.

Think of incognito browsing as one tool in the toolbox. Of course, you wouldn’t use only one tool to fix everything, just as you wouldn’t rely on Incognito mode on Google to solve all your privacy needs.

Why Go Incognito While Browsing?

Many people do not want websites to track them or for someone else to see their search histories. For example, if you have a shared computer, you may want to open a separate tab to prevent another user see what you are up to.

Another compelling reason people may use incognito browsing is that some websites, especially travel, can gouge the prices if you browse with previous data. Incognito mode can help you catch those websites in the act and get a better deal.

What’s the Difference Between a Private Browser and a Secure Browser?

While many will use these terms interchangeably, others may see a private browser as something that doesn’t keep your data and gives you a new session each time. For example, incognito on phone or computer can be a good example. However, these browsers do not offer total protection online, meaning some people can still see what you’re doing.

Meanwhile, some will see a secure browser as a browser with built-in security features to keep each session protected from watchful eyes. For example, Brave and Tor are browsers with VPNs to protect your information against those who may be watching you. Tor also is a web browser to access secure pages on the Internet that ordinary browsers cannot use.

Safety, Privacy, or Both?

We believe that you can be both safe online and keep your privacy. When you go online, use a browser that can protect you against would-be watchers. This especially applies if you use a computer or a public network. Alternatively, have as many protections as possible to stay discreet.

In conclusion, you can never be too careful online. Incognito mode is a good start, but if you wish to be truly private, you must look into secure browsers, VPNs, and other tools to protect yourself.

FAQ

What does incognito mode really do?

It is also known as secret mode Google term, and it is considered as a way to browse a search engine without saving your data. Data it does not save includes cookies, search history, and more. This anonymous kind of mode can add an extra layer of protection, but it is not entirely discreet.

Can incognito be tracked?

This kind of incognito mode iPhone can have, Android, or desktop included, is not entirely safe. While it can add a layer of protection, people can still see what you’re doing. This fact especially applies if you’re on a public or shared network. Also, people can still track you should you log in to an account on incognito mode.

How to open the incognito mode tab?

In most browsers, you can click the three-line or three-dotted button in the top right, which you may use to open up other tabs. You should see a “new incognito window” or “new private window” option.

Click that, and you should open an incognito tab. However, you can also use an incognito mode shortcut. Usually, this is ctrl+shift+n. However, this shortcut can depend on which browser you are using and what your settings are.

Does incognito mode hold my IP address?

It does not hide your IP address. While it allows for more private browsing, some of your data is still visible, the most apparent being your IP address. We recommend using a VPN or a secure browser if you wish to hide your IP address. Otherwise, you could set yourself up for being spied on.

Is incognito mode actually secret?

While anonymous mode allows for private browsing, it’s never genuinely secret. For example, if you use a public or shared network, some people can still see what you’re doing. You might want to have extra protections to prevent anyone find out what you are scrolling through.

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