Incognito Mode Explained: Does It Make You Anonymous? – News Couple
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Incognito Mode Explained: Does It Make You Anonymous?


Incognito mode is a setting that prevents your browsing history from being stored. While many users associate Incognito Mode only with the private browsing feature of Google Chrome, the more general term is actually private browsing.

What is private browsing?

Private browsing comes as a standard feature in most browsers today – the most well-known variant is Chrome’s Incognito feature. Initially, this mode was designed as a preventive measure for users who were on public computers.

Turning on incognito mode allows users on public computers to browse privately. However, it should be noted that there are limitations to browsing even in incognito mode, or should I say private mode.

Have you ever wondered how safe and secure it really is?

No matter what browser you are using, using private browsing will not make you anonymous. The mode only allows you to discard your activity logs and data once you stop using the system. In order to become truly anonymous on the Internet, you will need specialized applications such as Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) – which private browsing does not consider.

Incognito mode

What incognito mode in browsers really does is prevent your digital fingerprint from being exposed to users of the same system after yourself. Let’s take a look at what a few different browsers have done in this aspect.

Chrome Incognito Mode

Incognito mode in Google Chrome

Incognito mode in Google Chrome is designed to make it easier for computers to share places like the office. But enabling incognito mode does not keep your identity private. For example, Chrome won’t save your browsing history, cookies, site data, or information you enter in forms, but it will keep files you download and your bookmarks.

It also doesn’t hide your activities from websites you’ve visited or track apps or your Internet Service Provider (ISP). Additionally, using incognito mode effectively disables any extensions you might be using with your browser.

Private Browsing Mode in Mozilla Firefox

Private Browsing Mode in Mozilla Firefox

With Firefox, private browsing works a little differently compared to other browsers. Besides not logging your web browsing history, the browser also features built-in tracking protection. This helps block parts of websites that try to track your browsing history and activities across multiple sites.

Microsoft Edge InPrivate Mode

Microsoft’s New Edge browser offers an InPrivate browsing window, much like the others already on the market. It won’t save pages you visit, form data, or web searches, but it will keep files you download and bookmarks saved on your computer even after you close the InPrivate window.

Microsoft browsers will also disable third-party toolbars, so any extensions you may have installed will not work when you open InPrivate Browser.

Private browsing isn’t as private as you might think

While many users use private browsing modes because they feel they are more secure, this is not necessarily the case. Although there are improvements when compared to the standard browsing tab, the internet is actually a very scary place with more threats than you can imagine.

Basically, private mode is just a quick and easy option that prevents access to your search history and cookies on your computer. Since this is the case, users can feel free to log into their email accounts, social networks, or even bank accounts on any device.

Although it has been proven to be effective to some extent, this does not mean that you cannot be tracked online. Seriously, if you want to completely anonymize, private browsing isn’t an all-encompassing solution.

For example, Google Chrome may prevent recording of your browsing history but it cannot stop your operating system or the websites themselves from knowing that you have visited certain URLs. Your activity may remain visible to the authorities.

Private browsing problem

One very important issue with private browsing (be it Incognito, InPrivate, or any other type) is that it won’t hide your IP address. This is important because your IP address is like the glaring neon address sign of your device on the Internet. In real life, that’s not information you want everyone to have right now, is it?

Private Browsing also does not protect you from malware or spyware that may have been inconspicuously attached to random files you download. If you have malware downloaded to your computer, the malware will continue to run regardless of whether you use private browsing or not.

Any monitoring software with parental controls or network monitors installed can also easily record everything you do online, even if you do it “privately”. Anyone with administrative access can know basically all the actions you are doing.

VPN is the best solution

If you really want to be anonymous on the internet, VPNs will be a much better option. A VPN can provide you with the security and privacy measures you need for safe surfing online. It not only helps in hiding your IP address, but also helps in encrypting all the data coming in or out of your device.

It works simplified by directing your device’s internet connection through your chosen secure VPN server instead of the one your ISP uses. Basically, when your data is transferred, the world will think that the source is the VPN server and not your computer.

How a VPN helps ensure true online privacy

VPNs use advanced encryption protocols and techniques to protect all data transfers or exchanges. Although there are many VPNs that you can choose from, I highly suggest that you stick with a reputable VPN service provider like ExpressVPN.

ExpressVPN is one of the most reliable and reputable brands out there.
ExpressVPN is one of the most trusted and reputable brand (visit).

ExpressVPN has apps for multiple platforms (like Windows, Mac, mobile devices, or even routers) that help its users route all their internet traffic through their network. As a result, you can hide your origin and destination points and generally not leave traces everywhere you land.

They also use military-grade encryption to secure your data with a strict no-logs policy. No matter which VPN service you sign up for, always make sure it has one of these, clearly mentioned by them.

last thoughts

The most important thing to realize from all of this is that private browsing offers protection, but in a very limited way. These browsing modes are different from VPNs and do not provide the full protection that a VPN does.

When it comes to choosing between a private browsing mode and a VPN to help protect yourself online, there’s really no competition. If you really want to protect your identity and information online, consider a VPN more seriously.


Frequently Asked Questions

Is Incognito Mode a VPN?

No, it’s a limited private browsing mode that helps prevent some data from being stored on devices during specific sessions. VPNs provide much higher degrees of protection for both identity and data using secure servers, communication protocols, and encryption.

Does Incognito Mode Hide IP Addresses?

No, you can only hide your IP address by using a proxy server or VPN. Proxy servers are generally less secure, so your best bet for hiding your IP address is by using a VPN service.

How do I use incognito mode on Chrome?

On Windows, Linux, or Chrome: Press Ctrl + Shift + n.

For Mac: Press ⌘ + Shift + n.

How safe is incognito mode?

not very much. Incognito mode mostly works by not storing some data while browsing. The sites you visit can still track you and third parties can intercept your data.

Can I be tracked in incognito mode?

Yes really. All websites, monitoring software, and even your ISP will still be able to easily track your online activities. Your IP address will not be hidden either, so that anyone can track you back to your point of origin.



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