Confused what the incognito mode in Google’s Chrome OS web browser actually does? Don’t worry we’ve got you covered. Scroll down to find out everything you need to know about the custom mode.
Most people think incognito mode blocks your computer from tracking your every move. But just because your internet habits are temporarily hidden from your machine doesn’t mean they’re hidden from everyone else.
Here’s the good news: browsing incognito can help you shield your browsing activities from anyone else who’s using your computer. Because incognito mode will cast off history and cookies on the sites you visit, you shouldn’t see any relevant ads popping up after your internet session and you shouldn’t spot old queries appearing in the browser’s search bar either.
This makes it an ideal mode when you’re on the hunt for a secret present. But unfortunately, that’s about the full extent of the privacy offerings from this particular tool.
Google is fairly upfront about the limitations on its incognito mode, stating that whilst using this option “your activity isn’t hidden from websites you visit, your employer or school, or your internet service provider.”
That means that Virgin could be tracking your searches and your boss could still pull you up for looking at memes in office time.
But there are better privacy options if you’re looking for a way to completely stop others from tracking your every move. And most of them involve VPN in some form.
Related: What is VPN?
A VPN – or virtual private network – gives you a direct, encrypted connection to a private network via the internet. That encryption makes it impossible to monitor your specific browsing activities, which is why VPN is popular with those looking for privacy.
It’s possible to get VPN for free, but these freebies often don’t use encryption and come with a bit less security. The free options that do use encryption will sometime have limitations that make them slower, as they cap how much traffic you can send across them.
If you’re looking to up your privacy game – and need something a bit more substantial than a flimsy incognito mode – we’ve rounded up all the best available VPNs right here.