Hide all your browsing habits from prying eyes on any browser
Ever since ‘Incognito’ mode first appeared in web browsers in 2005, the privacy-conscious browsing sesh has earned itself a scandalous reputation. “Going Incognito” quickly became unspoken code for ‘I want to hide my naughty NSFW browsing habits, and I don’t want prying eyes to know where I’ve been’.
Incognito Mode has much more innocent beginnings, however. It was intended to be used as a way to stop cookies from messing up the browser preferences on a computer that wasn’t yours. The raunchiest reason for its use was a boyfriend trying to hide the purchase of an engagement ring.Yes, really.
Whatever the reason for hiding your browsing session, it’s never been easier to do. Incognito Mode is called different things on different browsers – Private Browsing or InPrivate browsing most commonly. It’s hard-baked into all popular browsers nowadays, meaning you’ll never be far from some… private time. But how do you go Incognito?
Starting with the world’s most-used browser, here’s how to go Incognito on all of the major browsers.
What is Incognito Mode, Private Browsing and InPrivate Browsing?
Incognito Mode, Private Browsing and InPrivate Browsing all do the same thing – just under different names. Incognito Mode ensures nothing from that session is logged in your browser history, search history, temporary internet files or cookies. Any data you enter during a private session will be forgotten by your computer when you close the browser.
It is not an alternative to a virtual private network (VPN), however.
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Browsing in incognito mode does not mask your identity. Your IP address is still public and your ISP will still see what you’ve been up to. If you want complete privacy from your ISP, you’re going to need a VPN.
How to go Incognito or begin private browsing
Go Incognito on Google Chrome
1. Open Google Chrome and click the wrench icon in the top right corner.
2. Click ‘new incognito window’.
3. Alternatively, you can press Ctrl + Shift + N.
You can also open a link in a web page in Incognito Mode.
1. Right-click on the link you want to open in an Incognito window.
2. Click ’Open in new incognito window’ from the context menu.
You can tell if you’re browsing privately by looking for the logo of the person in disguise in the top-left corner of the window. He’s wearing sunglasses, a hat and a raincoat.
Go Incognito on Mozilla Firefox
1. Open Firefox and click the hamburger Menu button – it looks like three parallel lines.
2. Click ‘New private window’.
You can also open a link in a web page in a private window.
1. Right-click on the link you want to open in a private window.
2. Click ’Open in New Private Window’ from the context menu.
You can tell if you’re browsing privately by looking for an icon of a purple mask in the top-right corner of the window.
Go Incognito on Microsoft Edge
1. Open Microsoft Edge and click the ‘More’ icon – it looks like three dots.
2. Click ‘New InPrivate window’.
Microsoft Edge doesn’t have an InPrivate Mode shortcut like Chrome or Firefox. You can tell if you’re browsing privately by looking for the InPrivate label in the top left corner.
Go Incognito on Safari on the Mac
1. In Yosemite and later, open Safari and click on ‘File’.
2. Click ‘New Private Window’.
3. Alternatively, click Command + Shift + N.
4. In Mavericks 10.9 or older, open Safari and click Safari in the browser’s Menu bar and select ‘Private Browsing’.
Private browsing tabs in Safari are separated from non-private tabs.
Go Incognito on Opera
1. Open Opera and click ‘Customise and control Opera’ button on the top left of the window.
2. Click ‘New private window’.
3. Alternatively, you can click Ctrl + Shift + N.
While Opera isn’t the most popular web browser, it has some pretty cool features for its Incognito Mode. When you launch the private browsing mode in Opera, the browser offers to turn on the in-built VPN for extra privacy and security.
You can tell if you’re browsing privately by looking for an icon of sunglasses in the tab you’re currently viewing.
1. Go Incognito on Internet Explorer
2. Open Internet Explorer and click the ‘Tools’ button in the top right – it looks like a gear icon.
3. Hover over ‘Safety’ and click ‘InPrivate Browsing’.
4. Alternatively, you can click Ctrl + Shift + D. You can tell if you’re browsing privately by looking for the InPrivate label in the top-left of the browser.
Go Incognito on iOS
1. Open Safari and tap the tabs icon – it looks like an icon of overlapping squares.
2. Tap ‘Private’ and then tap ‘Done’.
When you’re browsing privately, Safari will appear black – as if you were browsing in Night Mode. Repeat the steps to go back to non-private browsing.