Incognito mode in Chrome: how to browse privately

Privacy is an important consideration when it comes to online shopping and browsing the Internet, because we frequently disclose personal data and other sensitive information. For this reason, Google Chrome lets users launch a window (or even several) in incognito mode. When you’re browsing in incognito mode, Chrome doesn’t save private information and data such as your search history, browsing history, and cookies. However, you still have access to all the usual settings and your bookmarks.

Note

Your Internet service provider and the owners of sites you visit can still see your activity even if you use incognito mode.

In the rest of this article, we explain how to go incognito in Chrome and how to configure Chrome if you want to use incognito mode regularly.

How to turn on incognito mode in Chrome

To enable incognito mode, open a normal browser window. Next, click on the menu icon (three dots) in the top right-hand corner, beside the address bar. From the menu that opens, click on “New incognito window”.

A new browser window will launch in incognito mode. It’s easy to tell that you’re browsing in incognito mode because a message will be displayed in the window. The incognito icon and label will also be displayed in the top right-hand corner, next to the address bar.

Alternatively, if you’ve got a normal Chrome window open, you can use a shortcut to open an incognito window. In Windows the shortcut is [Ctrl] + [Shift] + [N]. The Mac equivalent is [CMD] + [Shift] + [N].

Note

You can open as many windows and tabs as you like in incognito mode. If you have multiple incognito windows open, Chrome displays the number next to the incognito symbol in the top right-hand corner.

Once you’ve finished browsing, to end your incognito session, simply close all of the windows you opened.

Incognito mode in Chrome: how to create a desktop shortcut

If you plan on using incognito mode regularly, it might be worth creating a shortcut on your desktop. That way, you can open an incognito window simply by double-clicking on the icon. Here’s how to create a desktop shortcut:

  1. Create a desktop shortcut for the Chrome executable file (“chrome.exe”) located in the installation folder. If you’ve already got a Chrome shortcut on your desktop, you can just use that of course.
  2. Right-click on the shortcut and click on “Properties” in the context menu.
  3. In the “Shortcut” tab, find the line that says “Target”. This contains the path to the executable file. Right at the end of the path, after the quotation marks, add “-incognito” with a space before it.
  4. Click on “Apply” and then on “OK”. When you double-click on the shortcut, Chrome will now launch in incognito mode.
Note

You’ll need administrator rights to set up an incognito shortcut.


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