Incognito Mode and What Is It?

Web browsers have Incognito Mode, but most people are not sure what it is or even how to use it!

Can You Protect Your Privacy with Incognito Mode

There are many reasons you may not want someone to know the search history on your browser. Maybe you're doing some online shopping for an upcoming holiday or special event. Maybe you don't want your login information saved on a public computer. Or maybe you don't want your nosy roommate finding out about that embarrassing medical issue you were researching. All of these concerns (and countless more), easily addressed with a quick and easy click of the mouse.

What is Incognito Mode?

Incognito Mode, also known as "private browsing," is a simple way to keep your Internet searches private. The offer of Incognito Mode is on all of today's major browsers, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. To open a private browsing window, click File then select "new incognito window." You're now using Incognito Mode!  After you have completed your searches, browsing, reading, or shopping. Once you close the window, browser history and cookies completely erased.

Incognito Mode is also known as private browsing Although the terms "incognito" and "private" sound pretty anonymous, it is important to note the limitations of using this feature. While your searches completely erased from the computer you are using.  That is not to say that it is unrecorded searches.  A visit to a website is still saved to that site's server and your Internet Service Provider (ISP) can track the information.

What Does It Do?

One of the main features of Incognito Mode is the deletion of your search history. This ensures that whoever uses the computer after you will not be able to see the sites you just visited. Whether you are researching a surprise trip for your spouse or using a shared computer to Google your celebrity crush, Incognito Mode will keep your secrets safe.

Another important aspect of private browsing is the removal of any cookies, or files embedded in websites. While cookies can be useful in saving login information on your most visited sites or keeping all those items you added to your shopping cart several days ago, it is not a function you would want to use on a public computer. Say you want to check your email at the library. You definitely would not want the person after you to have your login information and access to your inbox.

Possibly the most underrated function of Incognito Mode is the lack of targeted advertising. Imagine you search for the new PlayStation gaming console for your kid's birthday. If you used a non-incognito window, you might see gaming Web ads flooded in your browser for the next few days. Possibly ruining the surprise when your kid opens the browser.

What Doesn't It Do?

While Incognito Mode offers more privacy than regular Web browsing, it is by no means 100% private. All of the data stored on the computer during your session completely erased after you close the incognito window. But what about data outside of your computer?

Any record of your visit to a web site, the site's server saves this information.  Evidence of your search will also be accessible through the network you used to get to the site. This includes your own personal ISP as well as your employer's WiFi network. Keep that in mind next time you browse Twitter at work.

Another crucial element to consider when using Incognito Mode is that it doesn't protect your computer from malware or spyware. Make sure to run antivirus software, update your system and browser software regularly, and only download files from trusted sources. Note that any downloads or bookmarks using incognito mode consequently not erased.

If you're needing a little more privacy, you might want to try a VPN.