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Fact Check

Does Incognito mode really keep you anonymous?

2 Mins read

Several mainstream browsers have been loaded with a private tab called ‘Incognito mode’. This private section of the browser is set to let users surf the web without keeping record of their browsing history.

This privacy feature is used by many to keep their tracks clean when doing one of the many personal things on the internet. However, there is still the skepticism about whether incognito really protects user privacy and keep users anonymous.

I believe the skepticism is one of the reasons you are reading this article. So, without further ado, let us get into the main reason you are here.

This article is going to answer two of the burning questions about incognito mode:

  1. Does Incognito mode protect your data?
  2. Does Incognito mode keep you anonymous on the web?

Before going into the questions, let’s treat a brief history of incognito mode.

Incognito mode is a privacy feature that first appeared on the Apple Safari browser, in 2005. The feature was developed to give users the ability to browse the internet without record of their activities recorded on the browser.

The feature became popular, and was soon copied by other mainstream browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and others.

Read also: Does leaving your phone plugged all night damage your battery?

Now, let’s get started with the first question:

Does Incognito mode protect your data?

By data, if you are referring to browsing history, cookies, cache, web pages, and information entered on forms, then, incognito protects you.

This feature is designed such that it deletes any data used in the course of browsing.

While the incognito tab is on, data would be recorded so that you will be able to go back to a previous page, and use cookies to improve browsing experience.

However, once you close the tab, the browser deletes every data saved on the browser.

So, you can say it protects your data and gives you that level of privacy on a shared device.

Now, the second question:

Does Incognito mode keep you anonymous on the internet?

When you use incognito mode, you will be able to do the normal things you do on the internet. This means, the website you visit would know you visited them, and the servers you accessed would have your digital footprint.

Incognito mode does not hide your IP address, and therefore, your activities online is seen by your ISP (Internet Service Provider), and the website you visit.

This warning is shown when you open incognito tab on browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

Basically, incognito mode protects your browser data from the device side, but does not keep you anonymous on the server side.

Bonus: How can you be anonymous while browsing the web?

As far as mainstream technology is concerned, one of the ways you can effectively have a level of anonymity online is when you use a Virtual Private Network (VPN).

VPN works by redirecting your web traffic through a remote server. This is done by using an encrypted connection that makes it look like you are using the web from a different location.

Although, VPNs aren’t 100% effective, it is still your best bet to have a level of anonymity on the web.

Speaking about privacy, you might want to know if a satellite can see you when you are inside your room

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About author
When I'm not reading about tech, I'm writing about it, or thinking about the next weird food combinations to try. I do all these with my headphones plugged in, and a sticky note on my computer with the words: "The galaxy needs saving, Star Lord."
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