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The Benefits of Using Incognito Mode: Protecting Your Online Privacy
In today’s digital age, online privacy has become a significant concern for many internet users. With the vast amount of personal information being shared and collected online, it’s essential to take steps to safeguard your privacy. One such measure is using the incognito mode offered by most web browsers. In this article, we will explore the benefits of using incognito mode and how it can help protect your online privacy.
Enhanced Privacy Protection
When you browse the internet in regular mode, your browser stores various data, including browsing history, cookies, and cached files. This data can be used by websites to track your activities, personalize ads, or even gather information about you without your knowledge. However, when you turn on incognito mode, your browser operates in a private browsing state.
In incognito mode, your browsing history is not recorded locally on your device. Additionally, cookies and other temporary files are deleted once you close the incognito window. This means that any websites you visit while in incognito mode won’t have access to your previous browsing history or be able to track your future activities as effectively.
Avoiding Targeted Advertising
Targeted advertising is a common practice used by companies to deliver personalized ads based on users’ browsing habits and interests. While some people may find this type of advertising helpful, others may consider it intrusive or an invasion of their privacy.
One way to minimize targeted advertising is by using incognito mode while browsing the web. Since incognito mode prevents tracking cookies from being stored on your device and clears them after each session, advertisers have limited access to information about your browsing behavior.
Multiple Account Management
Another benefit of using incognito mode is its ability to manage multiple accounts simultaneously without logging out repeatedly or using different browsers or devices. In regular browsing sessions, if you need to sign in with different accounts for email, social media, or other online services, you might find yourself constantly logging in and out.
By using incognito mode, you can open a new incognito window and sign in to a different account without interfering with your existing session. This feature can be particularly useful for individuals who manage both personal and professional accounts or for those who share devices with others.
Safe Browsing on Shared Devices
If you frequently use public computers or share devices with friends or family members, using incognito mode can help protect your online privacy. When using a shared device, it’s possible that someone else may accidentally stumble upon your browsing history, saved passwords, or other personal information.
By utilizing incognito mode, you can prevent this potential privacy breach. Since incognito mode doesn’t store browsing history or save login credentials locally, the risk of your personal information being accessed by others is significantly reduced.
In conclusion, the benefits of using incognito mode are evident when it comes to protecting your online privacy. By enabling this feature in your web browser, you can enhance privacy protection, avoid targeted advertising, manage multiple accounts efficiently, and ensure safe browsing on shared devices. Take advantage of this useful tool to maintain control over your online presence and enjoy a more secure internet experience.
This text was generated using a large language model, and select text has been reviewed and moderated for purposes such as readability.
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Safari User Guide
- Get started
- Go to a website
- Bookmark web pages to revisit
- See your favourite websites
- Use tabs for web pages
- Import bookmarks and passwords
- Pay with Apple Pay
- Autofill credit card info
- View links from friends
- Keep a Reading List
- Hide ads when reading
- Translate a web page
- Download items from the web
- Add passes to Wallet
- Save part or all of a web page
- Print or create a PDF of a web page
- Interact with text in a picture
- Change your home page
- Customise a start page
- Create a profile
- Block pop-ups
- Make Safari your default web browser
- Hide your email address
- Manage cookies
- Clear your browsing history
- Browse privately
- Prevent cross-site tracking
- See who tried to track you
- Change Safari settings
- Keyboard and other shortcuts
Browse privately in Safari on Mac
When you browse privately , the details of your browsing aren’t saved, and the websites you visit aren’t shared with your other Apple devices.
Open Safari for me
Browse privately one time
A private browsing window has a dark Smart Search field with white text.
Browse as you normally would.
When you use Private Browsing:
Browsing initiated in one tab is isolated from browsing initiated in another tab, so websites you visit can’t track your browsing across multiple sessions.
Web pages you visit and your AutoFill information aren’t saved.
Your open web pages aren’t stored in iCloud , so they aren’t shown when you view all your open tabs from other Apple devices.
Your recent searches aren’t included in the results list when you use the Smart Search field.
Items you download aren’t included in the downloads list. (The items do remain on your computer.)
If you use Handoff , private browsing windows aren’t handed off to your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or other Mac computers.
Changes to your cookies and website data aren’t saved.
Websites can’t modify information stored on your Mac, so services normally available at such sites may work differently until you use a non-private window.
Note: None of the above applies in non-private Safari windows you may have open.
Always browse privately
Click the “Safari opens with” pop-up menu, then choose “A new private window”.
Open Desktop & Dock settings for me
Stop browsing privately
Do any of the following to further enhance privacy:
Delete any items you downloaded while using private windows.
When you use Private Browsing, “Use advanced tracking and fingerprinting protection” is turned on by default. This setting blocks connections to data collection companies that use advanced fingerprinting techniques (a way of identifying your device based on data gathered while you browse) and known tracking parameters are removed from all URLs. You can turn this setting on for all browsing; see Change Advanced settings in Safari . Some website features may be affected when advanced tracking and fingerprinting protection is turned on. If the website you’re viewing is affected, choose View > Reload Reducing Privacy Protections.
Besides using private windows, you can manage cookies and data stored by all websites and prevent cross-site tracking .
If you forget to use a private window, you can clear your browsing history .
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How to Go Incognito on Mac, iPhone or iPad
Incognito mode — known as Private Browsing in Safari — lets you browse the internet without your computer storing any traces of where you’ve been. Safari won’t log your history or store any cookies from a private browsing session. Learn how to activate Private Browsing in Safari on macOS and iOS, then find out how to enjoy true online privacy with a dedicated secure browser.
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While Safari’s Private Browsing (incognito) mode won’t keep you completely anonymous — for example, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and employers can still see what you’re up to — it will keep your activity private if you share your device with other people.
Usernames, passwords, and other data crumbs aren’t saved on your device when you browse in Private Mode. Read on to learn how to go incognito in Safari on Mac, iPhone, and iPad.
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How to access incognito mode in Safari on Mac
To open a private browsing window in Safari — that is, to go incognito on Mac — use the keyboard shortcut Command + Shift + N ( Ctrl + Shift + N on Windows). Or, open Safari, select File in the task bar, and click New Private Window . Find more detailed steps below.
How to go incognito on Mac
Here’s how to enable “incognito mode” on Safari if you’re using a Mac.
With Safari open on your Mac, select File from the top menu bar, and then choose New Private Window . You can also input the keyboard shortcut Shift + Command + N .
Safari will open a new Private Browsing window. You’ll know that you’re browsing privately based on the black background and Safari's confirmation.
Any tabs that you open within this Private Browsing window will function as individual private sessions — Safari won’t share any browsing data between private tabs.
How to always browse privately in Safari for Mac
You can also set Safari to open Private Browsing windows by default. Here’s how:
In the top menu bar, choose Safari , then select Preferences . You can also input the keyboard shortcut Command +, .
In the General tab, click the Safari opens with menu and choose A new private window . This setting means that Safari will open with a Private Browsing window whenever you start Safari.
If you don’t see this option available, here’s what to do:
Click the Apple icon in the top-left corner of your screen and open your System Preferences .
Click General .
Confirm that Close windows when quitting an app is checked.
You should now be able to set Safari to open with a Private Browsing window as described above.
How to open a link in a private window
Sometimes you may want to open a link directly in a private window. To do so, right-click on the link and select Open Link in a New Private Window .
How to turn off incognito mode on Mac
When you’re done browsing privately, simply close the window to exit Private Browsing. Click the little red circle in the top-left corner to disable Private Browsing and go back to normal browsing.
If, for whatever reason, you want to keep your Private Browsing window open but browse normally on a new tab, simply switch to a normal browsing window. If you don’t have one currently open, click File , then select New Window . You can also input the keyboard shortcut Command + N .
Why can't I open a private tab on Safari?
When you use private mode, Safari creates a completely new browser session with different settings that prevent any browsing data from being stored. That’s why you need to open a completely new Private Browsing window. It’s not possible to mix private and normal tabs within the same browsing window , since they operate with different settings.
But, you can always run multiple private tabs within the same private window. Simply press Command + T to open a new private tab while you’re in a private window, just like you would in normal browsing mode.
How to access incognito mode on Safari on an iPhone
Opening up Private Browsing or “incognito mode” on an iPhone is just as easy as it is on a Mac, and you’ll enjoy all the same benefits. Safari won’t store any local session data on your iPhone, nor will it sync anything from your private session to iCloud.
Here’s how to activate Safari’s Private Browsing on iPhone.
How to turn on Private Browsing on iPhone
Open Safari on your iPhone and tap the new page icon in the lower-right corner.
Tap Private in the lower-left corner.
Tap the + symbol or tap Done to begin browsing in private mode.
You’ll know that you’re in Private Browsing mode because Safari will look darker than it usually does.
How to remove Private Browsing on iPhone
To turn off Private Browsing, just repeat the same steps as described in the section directly above on turning on Private Browsing. Except that now, when you open a new page and tap Private , you’ll deactivate Private Browsing. Then tap Done to browse the internet normally.
How to access incognito mode on Safari on an iPad
To activate Private Browsing in Safari for iPad, follow the same steps we went through for Private Browsing on iPhone . The iPad and iPhone both use the iOS operating system, so the steps for using Private Browsing are the same on both devices.
What is Safari’s Private Browsing mode?
Safari was the first major browser to introduce a private browsing mode , adding it all the way back in 2005. Private Browsing in Safari works by creating a temporary browsing session — a session is a single use of your browser, from the time you open it to the time you shut it down.
Safari’s Private Browsing mode creates a completely new session for each private tab — or “new private window” — you open. These temporary private sessions are completely isolated from one another as well as from your primary browsing window. That means:
You won’t be signed in to any of your accounts.
Safari won’t store your browsing or Smart Search history, nor will it log the contents of any forms you’ve filled out.
Session data is wiped — and cookies are cleared — when you close your Private Browsing window.
Private browsing modes conceal your internet activity on a local device level , so there won’t be any record of what you’ve done on your computer. Anyone else using the same device won’t be able to see where you went or what you did while you were there. Safari’s “incognito” mode also means that your activity from your private browsing session won’t be logged to your iCloud account and synced to other devices you use.
For these reasons, private browsing is a convenient way to quickly log in and use a shared computer. You can also use private browsing to log in to the same website with multiple accounts at once — one account in your primary browsing window, and other accounts while browsing privately.
How private is Private Browsing on an iPhone or Mac?
While browsing privately on an iPhone or Mac, your IP address is still visible to any website or service you use, and your internet service provider can still see which websites you’re visiting. The same goes for browsing privately while at school or at work — a private browsing session will still leave your internet activity exposed to your school or employer.
While Private Browsing mode preserves your privacy on your device , it won’t conceal your behavior or protect you against identity theft , help you hide your IP address , or prevent advertisers (or other third-parties) from tracking your activity online. And, crucially, it won’t stop websites from using browser fingerprinting techniques to identify you with a remarkable degree of accuracy. For true privacy online, you’ll want to consider two other options: a secure browser and a VPN.
Secure browsers are web browsers built with specific features to protect your privacy and enhance your security online. Avast Secure Browser features a built-in password manager that lets you securely create and store unique passwords for all your accounts, while the Hack Check feature will alert you if any of your passwords have been exposed or compromised.
Plus, Avast Secure Browser protects you against web tracking by blocking ads, cookies, and other types of online trackers — and it even stymies advanced browser fingerprinting techniques.
VPNs , or virtual private networks , encrypt your internet connection and hide your IP address from websites and services you use. Since a VPN encrypts your traffic all the way from your device itself, your internet activity will remain hidden from anyone on your network as well as from your ISP. Avast Secure Browser for iOS and Android conveniently includes a free, built-in VPN.
Do other browsers have an incognito mode?
Though the name might vary from browser to browser, most modern browsers permit private browsing. Like in Safari, private browsing in Firefox is simply called Private Browsing . If you want to browse privately in Google Chrome , you’ll be going Incognito , and Microsoft Edge’s private mode is known as InPrivate . With Avast Secure Browser, you’ll be using Stealth Mode to browse privately.
All of these private browsing modes function the same way: they all let you browse the internet without your browser storing any of the data (history, login credentials, cookies, and so on) from your session.
Private searching vs private browsing: is there a difference?
There’s absolutely a difference between private searching and private browsing . Private browsing affects the data your browser stores on your computer, but it doesn’t have any effect on what other websites do. A private search refers to using a search engine that doesn’t track you online or log any information about your activity.
Compare Google — which tracks your searches unless you change your Google account settings — to DuckDuckGo, a popular alternative search engine that doesn’t track your queries.
Private, secure browsing for Mac, iPhone, and iPad
Avast Secure Browser is a free web browser committed to giving you true privacy and security online. By blocking ads , tracking cookies, and browser fingerprinting, your online activity can’t be monitored and your browsing data can’t be used for targeted advertising.
Powerful anti-phishing technology protects you against malicious websites and downloads that could otherwise steal your personal information or install malware on your device. And with a built-in password manager, webcam protection, an automatically encrypted connection to any website, and even a free mobile VPN , Avast Secure Browser ensures that your personal data remains safe from prying eyes.
Surf the web worry-free with a browser specifically designed by security experts with your privacy and security in mind.
Get Automatic Incognito Browsing
Download free Avast Secure Browser for Windows to enjoy private, secure, and lightning-fast web browsing.
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Install free Avast Secure Browser for Android to enjoy private, secure, and lightning-fast web browsing.
Install free Avast Secure Browser for iOS to enjoy private, secure, and lightning-fast web browsing.
Get it for Android , PC , Mac
Download free Avast Secure Browser for Mac to enjoy private, secure, and lightning-fast web browsing.
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How to Go Incognito in Safari on iPhone, iPad & Mac
How to Go Incognito in Safari on iPhone
3. Tap Done or the “+” button to open a new private tab in Safari.
How to Exit Incognito Mode in Safari on iPhone
2. Tap [numbers] Tab to exit private browsing mode in Safari on iPhone.
How to Go Incognito in Safari on iPad
3. You will know that you’re browsing privately in Safari as the address bar will turn dark or black, and the buttons also turn black (instead of blue).
How to Exit Incognito Mode in Safari on iPad
How to Go Incognito in Safari on Mac
1. Open Safari and click on File in the menu bar at the top.
How to Make Incognito the Default Mode in Safari
If you are a privacy-concious user, you can choose to always start Safari in incognito mode for private browsing. When you do this, Safari is going to open a private window by default on your Mac. Here’s what you need to do:
How to Exit Private Browsing in Safari on Mac
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How to go incognito in Safari on Mac
There may be times when you want complete privacy while browsing the web. Maybe you don’t want others to know which websites you visit or what items you download, or you may also just want to prevent sites from tracking you across browser tabs. The best way to achieve that is by learning how to go incognito in Safari on a Mac.
How to go incognito on Mac with private browsing in Safari
What happens when you use private browsing, how to exit private browsing in safari, how to always use private browsing in safari, what you need.
When you want to initiate a private browsing session in Safari on Mac, you have a few easy ways to do it.
- Use the Safari menu: With Safari open and active, select File from the menu bar and choose New Private Window .
- Use the Safari icon in the Dock: If you keep the Safari icon in your Dock, right-click it and select New Private Window .
- Use a keyboard shortcut: With Safari open and active, press Shift + Command + N on your keyboard.
Once you open a new private window, you’ll notice the appearance is slightly different. The Smart Search field (URL bar) has a dark background with white text.
You’ll also see a message letting you know that private browsing is enabled. Select the X on the right side to dismiss the message and then visit the websites you want.
Although you can browse the web as you normally would in Safari, there are some differences when you use private browsing.
- Any sites you visit, AutoFill details you use, or changes you make to cookies or website data are not saved.
- Your recent searches are unavailable in the Smart Search field.
- Items you download do not display in the Safari downloads list. However, they are still viewable in your Downloads folder.
- You cannot pass private windows using Handoff to your other devices.
- Any webpages you visit are not stored in iCloud and therefore unavailable when viewing Safari tabs on your other devices.
- Websites cannot track your browsing across tabs in Safari because each private browsing tab is isolated from the next.
When you finish using private browsing, you can simply close the Safari window. You can then select File > New Window or use the keyboard shortcut Command + N to initiate a non-private browsing session.
One additional way to go incognito on Mac is to always use private browsing in Safari. With a simple setting adjustment, you can have Safari open in a private window every single time.
Step 1: Open Safari and select Safari > Preferences from the menu bar.
Step 2: Go to the General tab.
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Step 3: Pick the drop-down next to Safari opens with and choose A new private window .
Step 4: Close the Preferences using the X on the top left corner.
Once you change this setting, you’ll use private browsing each time you open Safari. If you change your mind later, you can follow the same steps and select a different option in the Safari opens with drop-down list.
It’s easy to go incognito on a Mac, whether you go once in a while or all the time. Will you?
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How to Browse Privately in Safari on a Mac
Private browsing in Safari allows you to keep your online activity a secret from other people using your Mac. It’s the perfect solution for gift shopping, getting the answer to embarrassing questions, or anything else you might like to do in private.
That said, private or incognito browsing won’t stop your internet service provider (ISP) from tracking your online activities using your IP address. You’ll need a VPN for that, which we’ll discuss shortly.
Before we begin To improve your privacy online, you should pair private browsing in Safari with a VPN to mask your IP address. You should also install antivirus software like MacKeeper to protect your Mac from spyware. Download MacKeeper now to get both of these features.
In this article we’ll explain:
- What private browsing in Safari does
- How to use private browsing in Safari
- Other ways to boost the privacy on your Mac
- What is Safari private browsing mode?
When you browse the web normally, Safari will save all sorts of data about the sites you visit, the information there, and the files you download. For example, you can click History in the menu bar to see all your recently visited sites. Then, when you revisit them, Safari can use AutoFill to automatically enter any usernames and passwords you saved.
As a result, when someone else uses your Mac, Safari might suggest sites from your browsing history for them to visit, and it could even AutoFill your details to log them into your accounts.
Private browsing offers a solution to this.
According to Apple , when you use private browsing in Safari, also known as Incognito Mode in other browsers, your Mac won’t save any web history or login details from the sites you visit. It’ll also delete your web cookies, caches , and downloads when you’re finished.
Even better than that, Safari won’t sync private tabs to other devices over iCloud or allow you to use them with Handoff — they’re only available on your Mac. And only until you close the tab.
Private browsing mode can’t completely protect your privacy
While it’s a good start, there are still problems with incognito private windows in web browsers:
- Your IP address is still visible to websites and your ISP, making it possible for them to track your online activities
- Spyware or parental control software can still track what you’re doing on your Mac, including which websites you visit in a private browser
- Any files you download still appear on your Mac after ending a private browsing session
To completely protect your privacy, you should pair private browsing with a VPN and antivirus on your Mac. That way, your ISP won’t be able to track your online activities and you can rest assured that you don’t have any spyware on your Mac.
- How to open a private window in Safari on your Mac
To start a private browsing session on your Mac:
- Open Safari
- Click File > New Private Window
- That’s it. Your private browsing window will have a darker Smart Search bar with white text, but other than that, it’ll look like a regular Safari window.
If you prefer using keyboard shortcuts , just press Shift + Command + N while using Safari to automatically open a new private window.
After opening a private window in Safari, you can use that window to visit any website as you normally would and you’ll appear incognito. That means Safari won’t remember where you go and you won’t be logged in to any websites you visit.
It’s important to mention that any bookmarks you make and files you download will still be saved. If you forget to use a private window in Safari, check this article on how to delete the history in Safari .
How to open a private tab in Safari
After opening a private browsing window, you can click the plus (+) button in Safari’s toolbar or press Command + T to open as many new tabs as you like. Any tabs you open in the private browsing window will also be incognito.
Safari keeps tabs isolated when you’re browsing in private, so websites in one tab won’t be able to track your activity in other tabs.
Unfortunately, if you’ve already opened a regular browsing window in Safari, you can’t open a private browsing tab in a normal window . Your only option is to open a new private window and create private tabs in that. However, there’s nothing wrong with opening a normal window and a private window side by side in Safari, just as long as you don’t get them mixed up.
How to always browse privately in Safari
If you always want to use private windows in Safari, but you’re worried you might forget to open one, you can change the settings so that Safari opens a private window by default.
You just need to follow these instructions to make private windows the default :
- Go to Safari > Preferences from the menu bar
- Go to the General tab
- Next to Safari opens with select A new private window
Doing this will make it so that Safari opens a new private window every time you launch it. However, any new windows you open after that will be normal browsing windows.
- How to turn off private browsing on a Mac and clear your data
When you’ve finished gift shopping, researching, or doing whatever else you wanted a private browser for, all you need to do is close your incognito window and open a new window to turn off private browsing in Safari.
To do this, click the red button in the top-left corner or press Command + W to close your current window. Then go to File > New Window or press Command + N to open a regular window.
After closing your private window, make sure you also delete any files you downloaded to ensure everything does remain private.
- Other privacy tips
Private and incognito browsing in Safari is a good start, but if you really care about improving your Mac’s privacy you should use a VPN with your Mac as well. A VPN will mask your IP address to stop websites and ISPs tracking you through that.
Additionally, you need to make sure your Mac is protected from spyware and other malware that might track your activities. While macOS comes with a selection of protective software, like Gatekeeper and XProtect , you should probably install a reliable third-party antivirus as well.
Finally, if you share your Mac with other people, create a separate user profile for each person. That way, you won’t need to worry about other people stumbling across your browsing history because they can use their own user account instead, with their own browsing history.
1. Are cookies saved in private browsing mode in Safari?
Safari’s private browsing mode deletes your cookies when you end the browsing session. It also avoids saving your browsing activity, search history, AutoFill details, and website cache. However, it still doesn’t hide your IP address from websites or your ISP.
2. Does Safari private browsing hide your IP address?
No. Private and incognito windows only affect the settings in your web browser, like Safari. They don’t hide your IP address from websites, your ISP, or any public Wi-Fi admins. To do that, you need to use a VPN .
3. Can you disable private browsing in Safari?
Yes, it is possible to disable browsing in macOS. Here’s what you need to do:
- Open the Apple menu and select System Preferences
- Select Screen Time
- Click Options , you can see it in the lower-left corner
- Turn on Screen Time for this Mac
- From the sidebar, click Content & Privacy
- In the Web Content section select Limit Adult Websites
This will disable the New Private Window option in Safari and stop anyone from starting a private browsing session.
How to turn on private browsing on a Mac computer in Safari
- You can turn on private browsing on your Mac computer in a Safari browser to use the internet without having your activity catalogued by your browser.
- Private browsing is a good option to keep sensitive information from living in your web history or being saved to your iCloud account.
- Here's how to turn on private browsing on a Mac computer by opening a new private window or using a keyboard shortcut.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories .
A private browser is a useful way to navigate the internet with minimal tracking, although the exact functions may vary slightly depending on which browser you are using.
On Safari, private browsing means that websites won't be able to track your activity across sites, your visited websites aren't saved or stored on in iCloud, and your recent searches won't appear in the Smart Search field.
You also won't have access to any saved AutoFill information when you visit websites, so keep that in mind if you need to log into a site.
With that in mind, here's how to open a private window on a Mac using the Safari web browser:
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Macbook pro (from $1,299.99 at best buy), how to turn on private browsing on a mac in safari.
1. Open your Safari browser.
2. In the top toolbar, click "File."
3. Select "New Private Window."
The smart search field will show up with a dark background, which will signal that you are in private browsing mode.
Alternatively, you could use the keyboard shortcut to open a private window in your Safari browser. To do that, you'd open a window in the browser, then press the shift, command and "N" keys.
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