The Strengths and Limitations of Incognito Mode

Incognito mode is a popular tool for browsing the internet without leaving a trace. Websites you visit in incognito mode will not appear in your search history, and you will not appear visible to other users. It’s become a very useful feature for advertisers who want to browse and test their campaigns without browsing openly and appearing like an active user. It is also an incredibly useful took for anyone using the internet regularly.

Incognito Mode’s main purpose is to make it so the traces left by third-party websites, or “cookies”, are unable to be implemented on your browser. This can include Remarketing, which can continue to show you adverts for sites you have visited, or interest checks, which can change the price of services like airline tickets or travel packages depending on your level of interest, or rather, how many times you have visited a website. You can thus check the price of a product or service in Incognito Mode, then return there in a regular browser to purchase it for the price you are certain is accurate and not adjusted to try and get more money from more desperate users.

That said, there are some issues with Incognito Mode that limit its usefulness, and there are ways that website admins and developers are bypassing Incognito Mode to count those users in their analytics. For example, as explained in this video by Mashable, pop-up windows can still appear from outside Incognito Mode thanks to the scripting of the websites. This can be used to show adverts to people who are browsing in Incognito Mode, or can be used to track the movements of anyone in Incognito Mode and identify them as converters or visitors.

Tools are currently in development and even being tested now to isolate the browser completely from third-party tools and the operating system. This means that, should any cookies or downloads take place that compromise the browser, they would take place only in that particular iteration of the browser, leaving you far safer and more protected from dangerous malware or unwanted third-party cookies. Applications like Sandboxie are taking the charge on just this sort of feature, and the technology is growing all the time.

If you’re interested in trying out Incognito Mode for yourself, each browser has its own way of entering it. On Google Chrome, you can simple click the menu in the top-right browser corner and choose “New Incognito Window”, or press the keyboard shortcut of Control+Shift+N to open a new page. Bear in mind that while you can download files and bookmark sites in Incognito Mode, your extensions will not work unless you set them to work in the Chrome extension setting page. You can also do this via Android or iOS.

On Mozilla Firefox, you can also access a “New Private Browsing” window via the top-right menu, or also do the shortcut of Control+Shift+N. On Internet Explorer, there is another option to open Incognito Mode via the top-right menu and clicking Saftey > InPrivate Browsing, or using the keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+Shift+P. In short, the easiest way to open Incognito Mode, or private browsing, on any browser is usually via the top-right browser menu.