How do I set my browser to Incognito or private mode?

Updated: 02/01/2021 by Computer Hope
anonymous

Modern web browsers offer enhanced privacy modes for browsing the Internet without storing cookies, remembering browsing history, or sending tracking information to the websites you visit. When you close the private window, the information from the websites is forgotten on your computer. The next time you use those websites, it's as if your private browsing session never happened.

This privacy feature is called "incognito mode" in Google Chrome, and "private browsing" in Firefox. Other browsers have slightly different names for this mode, but in all browsers, the function is generally the same. Continue reading for complete information about how to use these private browsing modes.

Note

While in private mode or Incognito mode, none of your browsing history is permanently stored on your computer. However, this does not mean you are anonymous on the Internet. Each page you visit still recognizes your IP address. If someone had the ability to view your IP address history for legal purposes, an ISP, website, and even a search engine server log could be used to track you.

Tip

To exit incognito mode, close the private window and relaunch the browser as you normally would.

For complete instructions, choose your browser from the list below.

Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge

  1. Open the Microsoft Edge browser.
  2. Press the Ctrl+Shift+N keys at the same time.

or

  1. Open the Microsoft Edge browser.
  2. Click the Settings and more icon Microsoft Edge More menu in the upper-right corner of the browser window.
  3. In the drop-down menu that appears, near the bottom, select New InPrivate window.

New InPrivate window selector in Edge.

Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge Legacy

  1. Open the Microsoft Edge Legacy browser.
  2. Press the Ctrl+Shift+P keys at the same time.

or

  1. Open the Microsoft Edge Legacy browser.
  2. Click Microsoft Edge More icon in the upper-right corner.
  3. Select New InPrivate window from the drop-down menu that appears.

InPrivate selector in Microsoft Edge.

Tip

To leave InPrivate Mode, close the private window.

Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer

  1. Open the Internet Explorer browser.
  2. Press the Ctrl+Shift+P keys at the same time.

or

  1. Open the Internet Explorer browser.
  2. On the upper-right portion of the browser window, click the IE Tools Icon icon.
  3. Move the mouse pointer over the Safety drop-down menu.

Selector that opens the safety menu in Internet Explorer.

  1. Select InPrivate Browsing.

InPrivate selector in Internet Explorer.

Tip

To leave InPrivate Mode, close the private window.

Google Chrome web browser

Chrome

  1. Open the Google Chrome browser.
  2. Press the Ctrl+Shift+N keys at the same time.

or

  1. Open the Google Chrome browser.
  2. Click Chrome menu icon. in the upper-right corner of the browser window.
  3. Select New incognito window from the drop-down menu that appears.

Incognito selector in Chrome.

Tip

To leave Incognito Mode, close the incognito window.

Firefox

Firefox

  1. Open the Firefox browser.
  2. Press the Ctrl+Shift+P keys at the same time.

or

  1. Open the Firefox browser.
  2. Click Firefox Menu in the upper-right corner of the browser window.
  3. Select New Private Window from the drop-down menu that appears.

Selector that allows users to open a private window in Firefox.

Tip

To leave Private Mode, close the private window or re-open the Firefox browser.

Opera

Opera

  1. Open the Opera browser.
  2. Press the Ctrl+Shift+N keys at the same time.

or

  1. Open the Opera browser.
  2. Click the Menu button in Opera. button in the upper-left corner of the window.
  3. From the drop-down menu, select New private window.

Selector that allows users to open a private browsing window in Opera.

Tip

To leave Private Mode, close the private window or re-open the Opera browser.

Safari

Safari (Apple/Mac computer)

  1. Open the Safari browser.
  2. Press the Command+Shift+N keys at the same time

or

  1. Open the Safari browser.
  2. Click the File menu at the top of the browser window.

File selector in Safari.

  1. In the file menu, select New Private Window

New Private Window selector in Safari.

Tip

To leave Private Browsing, select New Window in step 3 above or close the private browser window and open a new Safari browser window.

Safari web browser

Safari (Windows computer)

  1. Open the Safari browser.
  2. Click Safari Gear located in the upper-right corner of the browser window.
  3. Select Private Browsing from the drop-down menu.
  4. Click OK.
Tip

To leave Private Browsing, repeat steps 2-4 listed above.

Google Chrome web browser

Chrome (Android devices)

  1. Open the Google Chrome browser.
  2. Tap the Mobile Chrome menu button icon.
  3. Tap the New Incognito tab option in the drop-down menu that appears.
Tip

To leave Incognito mode, close the incognito tab.

Safari web browser

Safari (iPad and iPhone)

  1. Open the Safari browser.
  2. Tap the New tab icon Safari New Tab iOS 8 to open a new tab in the browser.
  3. Tap the Private option.

iOS 7 or earlier

  1. Open the Safari browser.
  2. Tap the New tab Safari New Tab iOS 7 icon to open a new tab in the browser.
  3. Tap the Private option.
Tip

To leave Private Browsing, repeat steps 2-3 listed above.