Many of you must think or need a way to keep your browsing activities private without being stored as browser history. However, accepting the need many browsers have launched such private or Incognito modes. But what does Incognito mean?
Incognito browsing window on Chrome or such windows on other browsers with different names are a way for users to browse anonymously. But, with the word privacy or anonymity, you must not think it as completely private or secure. It just allows online browsing without the activities being shown in history. However, there are certain ways through on which the efficiency of the private window becomes weak.
Here is extended information to provide a better idea about the incognito mode and the potential loopholes that are unknown to many.
- 1 What Does Incognito Mean?
- 2 Why Should You Use Incognito?
- 3 What Are The Things You Should Keep In Mind While Being private?
- 4 How To Activate Private Mode On Your Browser (Chrome, Mozilla, Internet explorer)
- 5 How Could You Be Tracked While Being Private?
What Does Incognito Mean?
Incognito mode or a private browser is a browser’s setting or mode that prevents your browsing history from being tracked or stored. For instance, if you visit a website, text, picture and the cookies, all are stored in your computer or browser’s history. Also, the forms and searches you fill out are stored in Autocomplete fields.
Incognito or private mode keeps your browser restricted from storing browsing history. However, the websites you visit are still able to collect or store information.
Why Should You Use Incognito?
I am sure that many of you have judged the benefits of being private according to the internet usage you have. As told before, the private window of a browser evades the concerns regarding any other person viewing your browsing details. On the other hand, when you aren’t private, not only the site’s URL but also the time and date appear when you visited that webpage.
Here are some reasons for which an incognito or private browser could be helpful.
Accessing Stuff You Don’t Want Others to Look
There are various searches which many of us want to keep private. Usually, the individuals who visit sites with sensitive content such as porn video sites never want any other to view it. Also, the sensitive matters and serious businesses require being kept secret. For instance, people questing about their concerns regarding divorce, medical conditions, psychological health and any such issues.
@MattLobster I thought private browsing was just to watch porn, actually it's to protect me from a months of ads for things I search at 2am
— Tim Nicholls (@timsteaks) February 2, 2016
Signing Into Multiple Account Simultaneously
Most of the time we just want quick access to another email account without the hassle of logging out from the previous one. Although you could set up a separate browser window for signing in to another email, a private window is comparatively an easy task to perform.
Working On Devices That Doesn’t Belong To You
There are many occasions when we have to work on a device that doesn’t belong to us. For instance, in an urgency to send an important email, you may use the quickest available device. However at the same time, you are concerned regarding the storage of your important details. So, it’s nothing to worry about, just open the private window and have a tension free browsing.
To Hide Your Browsing Details at Work
Afraid of visiting social networking websites and entertainment content at work? Then you must open an incognito mode on your browser. It is not an unusual thing that an employee is been restricted to access a particular website or content. However, through browsing history, an individual could be caught by the management.
What Are The Things You Should Keep In Mind While Being private?
You must think yourself to be safe while being in the private mode of browser and that’s true to a certain extent. However, there are certain things you should remember while being in incognito mode.
You Are Still Visible Online
Only the people who use your device after you would be unable to see the browsing history. Otherwise, the sites you visit are still capable of tracking you along with your ISP who could monitor all your activities.
Your Device Store The Downloaded Files
No matter you are downloading files while being in private or not, the downloaded files still remain on your PC or the device you are using. The files are hidden in the browser’s history list. However, you could not leave these private files open for everyone else visiting your system. Therefore, make sure to hide these files through encryption or any other process when downloaded through incognito window also.
Your IP Address Is Still Exposed
Whether you are carrying on with the browsing activities on private mode or not, your IP address is still visible. That means you are not protected from surveillance and also an IP monitoring setup could track your online activity done in private mode.
There Could Be a Technical Flaw
Private mode feels a safe platform because it looks safe and it is safe to some extent. However, you could never be too sure with the performance of a certain browser. For instance, a flaw was reported in Microsoft Edge’s InPrivate mode.
How To Activate Private Mode On Your Browser (Chrome, Mozilla, Internet explorer)
The private mode is now been launched by browsers with almost same functionality but has a different name. Here we will discuss the ways to open a private window on your browser.
Chrome browser has the private mode with a name of Incognito Window. To open this on Google Chrome, click on the browser icon on your desktop. Then click on to the customization button located at the top right corner of the screen when you open the browser.
Now, from the drop-down menu click the option of New incognito window. Finally, the launched tab will be a private mode which will delete your activities once you close this window.
A more easy and quick way to access is through pressing Ctrl+⇧ Shift+N on windows or you could press ⌘ Command+⇧ Shift+N if you are using Mac.
For Safari Browser:
For Safari browser the name used for anonymous browsing window is ‘Private Window’. To open this on your desktop, click the File option at the top of the browser’s homepage. The drop-down menu will show New Private Window, clicking on which will launch safari’s version of Incognito mode.
However, you could also open this window by simply pressing ⌘ Command+ ⇧ Shift and N keys.
For Internet Explorer:
The InPrivate Browsing tab on Internet Explorer could be opened through more or less same procedure. First, open the browser and click on to the top icon at the extreme right corner of the homepage. Now click ‘Safety’ option and then press InPrivate browsing option on the menu.
With the opened window you can surf the internet without leaving a track in the form of browsing history. However, you could open the InPrivate browsing window by pressing Ctrl+ ⇧ Shift and P keys.
The incognito mode named as ‘Private Window’ for the Firefox could be opened through a simple procedure almost similar to the others. After opening the browser from your desktop click on customization icon denoted by three vertical lines on the top at the extreme right corner. Now, press the New Private Window option.
However, another way to open the Private window is to hold on Ctrl+⇧ Shift+P on Windows or ⌘ Command+⇧ Shift+P on Mac.
How Could You Be Tracked While Being Private?
Other than some major things to keep in mind while being on Incognito or Private Mode, you should also be aware that most of the risks of being tracked remain as it is. There are various factors that could expose your identity and online activities.
Other Monitoring Software On Your Device
Many times the PC or desktop you are using has various monitoring software such as parental control programs or keyloggers. Due to the presence of such software, your privacy is still being disturbed. This is Because they track all your activities even if you are using incognito mode.
Your institute such as office or school could also use such software to monitor your activities either the individual is in the regular browser or in an incognito mode.
IP Address Allocated By The ISP
The most vulnerable element or risk to your privacy is an IP address allocated by your ISP. The IP of an individual is unique and different from others through which your activities are visible to your IPS. Also, the web pages you visit are able to know that from which location the person is accessing the site which is just because of your IP.
Extensions and Plug-ins
The browser add-ons used for enhancing the properties and usage of the browser are also an element are exposing your online activities. For instance, Adobe Flash allows the cookie storage to the Adobe Flash even when a user is on incognito also.
Incognito is a great way to enjoy private browsing, however, it is necessary to remember that seeming safe doesn’t mean that it’s actually safe. It’s better to know what does incognito mean and how it functions.
If you want a totally private and secure internet without the risks of an exposed IP address or any other peril than a VPN is a great option to consider.