The internet is a place full of surveillance. From your browsing history to private information, everything is available on the internet for others to see, if they wish to. Generally, in many families, a single laptop is shared by the family members who require its assistance.
In such cases, your browsing history becomes an open book for everyone to read through. Whether we browse through the dark web or simply through our social media accounts, we all like our privacy. And incognito mode or private browsing promises you exactly that.
What is Incognito Mode or Private Browsing?
While Incognito Mode may seem like a spy’s secret technique, Private Browsing is quite self-explanatory. To put it in the simplest terms, Incognito Mode is Google Chrome’s special feature that lets its users browse the internet without leaving any browsing history behind.
While Google Chrome chose the unique name Incognito Mode, the other browsers were left with a simpler and easy-to-understand term ‘private browsing.’ Both are the same thing.
Incognito Mode or Private Browsing deletes your browsing history and does not save any passwords, cookies and site data, and information entered in forms. All the browsers offer the same benefits in the private browsing mode.
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How to Activate Incognito Mode on Google Chrome
Every browser has an easy way of activating the incognito mode. You can either use the keyboard shortcut or use the menu option in the browsers.
To activate Incognito Mode in Google Chrome on your PC, read the following steps:
Step 1: Open the Google Chrome browser on your laptop or desktop.
Step 2: A new tab will appear. On the home page of Chrome, you will see three dots in the right-hand top corner of the page
Step 3: Click on the three-dot icon. A dropdown box will appear.
Step 4: Click on the ‘New Incognito Window’ option.
Step 5: A new window will open which, unlike the normal window, has a black background. You will also see a spy icon with brief information on Chrome’s incognito mode.
Step 6: You can select to block third-party cookies by clicking on the enable button.
Step 7: You can also use the keyboard shortcut to open an Incognito window by hitting Ctrl+Shift+N on your keyboard. This will immediately open a new private window for you.
Step 8: To exit the Incognito window, simply click on the close button of the browser. When you close the private window, all your cookies and browsing data will be lost.
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How to Activate Private Browsing Mode on Firefox
To activate Private Browsing Mode on Firefox on your PC, follow the steps given below:
Step 1: Open the Firefox browser on your laptop or desktop.
Step 2: Go to the top right-hand corner where you’ll find three horizontal lines icon. This is the ‘application menu.’ Click on the menu and a dropdown box will appear.
Step 3: Click on the ‘New Private window’ option.
Step 4: A new private window with a dark purple background will appear. You can now start browsing the internet without having to leave any trace behind.
Step 5: To open the private browsing window immediately, you can also use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + P.
How to Activate Private Browsing Mode on Microsoft Edge
The following steps will help you in opening a Private Window in Microsoft Edge:
Step 1: Open the Microsoft Edge browser on your laptop or computer.
Step 2: Click on the three dots icon in the upper right-hand corner of the home page.
Step 3: From the dropdown box, click on the ‘New InPrivate window’. A new private window with a black background will appear on your screen.
Step 4: You can enable the “Always use Strict tracking prevention when browsing InPrivate” option to prevent any tracking of your online activities.
Step 5: To immediately open the InPrivate window, you can also hit the Ctrl+Shift+N shortcut on your keyboard.
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Is Incognito or Private Browsing Mode Safe?
Many people have the misconception that using Incognito or Private Browsing mode makes them invisible on the internet. While both modes do not record your browsing history or cookies, they can’t make you invisible.
Your activities can still be seen by your Internet Service Provider and websites and they can also gather your data.
If you use your company’s internet, your employer will be able to track your activities. To become completely invisible on the internet, you will have to use a Virtual Private Network or VPN.
Incognito or Private Browsing mode is also useless against malware, keystroke loggers, and spyware. Simply speaking, as long as you want to hide your online surfing habits from those who share the same device with you, Incognito mode will suffice.