The Complete Guide To Private Browsing
You can use the private browsing mode when you want to browse sites that you wouldn’t want others to know or when you’re just gift-shopping.
To know how to activate the private browsing mode in your preferred browser, choose your browser from the list below and keep reading.
Private Browsing in Google Chrome With The Incognito Window
In Google Chrome, private browsing can be done via an ‘Incognito Window’.
To launch the incognito window in Google Chrome, click on the ‘Wrench’ icon in the top right of the Chrome Window.
In the menu that appears, choose ‘New Incognito Window’. It is the third option in the menu, as you can see below:
Alternatively, you can press the Ctrl+Shift+N keyboard shortcut to launch the private browsing mode in Google Chrome.
A new window will now open in addition to the current window you’re browsing on. This new, incognito window will have an detective icon on top left indicating that it could be used for private browsing.
You can find a detailed explanation of the incognito window every time you open a new tab in the incognito window.
You can then start browsing using this window. The moment you close all incognito windows, all personal data is purged so you needn’t have to clear history and other data manually.
As the page mentions, downloads and bookmarks will remain saved even after you close the incognito windows. We advise you not to click on the bookmark star button accidentally. That could push sites from the incognito session into the bookmarks bar.
The best part of this is that you can still continue to use the normal Chrome window to browse websites while you also have the incognito window open.
Private Browsing In Mozilla Firefox
Mozilla Firefox also has a private browsing feature that prevents web browsing history from being recorded locally.
To activate the private browsing mode, just click on the Firefox button on the top-left of the Firefox window.
Then, choose the Start Private Browsing option.
Alternatively, you can also press the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+P.
A warning dialog will appear informing you that your currently open tabs will be saved, and that they will be available again once you complete your private browsing session.
Upon affirming that you want to start the private browsing session, the existing window and tabs will disappear and a new window will launch. The Firefox ribbon on the top-left of the Firefox window will now turn purple. This means that you’re in private browsing mode.
Just like Google Chrome, Firefox displays a brief description how things work when you open this window.
To end the private browsing session, just press Ctrl+Shift+P or choose Stop Private Browsing from the Firefox ribbon drop down.
The only disadvantage of Firefox’s secret browsing mode is that you need to the existing browser session has to be paused for this mode to begin.
Safe Browsing in Internet Explorer using the InPrivate Window
Just like you do on Chrome and Firefox, you can switch to the private browsing mode in Internet Explorer by switching to the InPrivate window.
To open an InPrivate window in Internet Explorer, click the drop down menu Safety on the right of the tab bar, and chooseIn Private Browsing.
Alternatively, you can click Open an InPrivate Window every time you open a new tab.
Also, you can press the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+P to launch the window.
The InPrivate window will now open. You can notice that there’s an InPrivate icon in the address bar indicating that you have the private browsing mode open.
You can close the InPrivate windows to exit the session.
Just like in Chrome, you can continue to browse in the default Internet Explorer window. Only the session running in the InPrivate window will not be preserved.
Private Browsing in Opera
Opera does have a private browsing mode, although it’s not as widely advertised. There are two ways to start the private browsing mode in Opera – by launching a new private tab or by launching a new private window.
The Opera ribbon on the top left corner gives you a way to launch both.
To launch a new private tab, click the Opera ribbon and choose Tabs and Windows > New Private Tab.
To launch a new private window, click the Opera ribbon on top and choose Tabs and Windows > New Private Window.
Alternatively, you can press the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+N.
You can exit the mode by either closing the private tab if you opened the former, and by closing the private window if you opened the latter.
Private Browsing in Mac with Safari
In Safari too, there’s a private browsing mode that you can activate by going to Safari > Private Browsing.
A dialog will pop up asking you if you want to switch to the private browsing mode. Hit OK to turn it on.
You can see that Safari’s address bar displays a ‘Private’ label:
Just like you do on Chrome, you can close all private windows on Safari to exit the private browsing mode.
Also, make sure you uncheck the option Safari > Private Browsing after you close all these windows.
Android: InBrowser App
If you have an Android phone that uses Android 1.6 and above, get the "InBrowser application" from the Android market.
Launch the application by clicking on the InBrowser icon from your home screen.
The InBrowser app should now open. Press the Menu button in your phone to bring up the options. Tap Go to and type in any website to open it.
Click on More and click Exit when you’re done browsing. Your browsing history will not be saved.
Shortcuts for Private Browsing
In case you missed, these are the shortcuts to enable private browsing in different browsers:
- Google Chrome: Ctrl+Shift+N
- Mozilla Firefox: Ctrl+Shift+P
- Internet Explorer: Ctrl+Shift+P
- Opera: Ctrl+Shift+N