How To Use Incognito Mode (And Other Internet Browsing Tips)

Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 30 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

In some instances, you may want to use your work computer system in a private mode. Different browsers allow you to use the internet privately without saving your activities or browsing history. Understanding how to use this feature can help you use the internet in private. In this article, we explain what an incognito tab is, outline how to use incognito mode in different web browsers, discuss the benefits and drawbacks of using this model in the workplace, provide helpful tips for searching the internet and answer some frequently asked questions.

What is an incognito tab?

Incognito refers to a term used in Chrome to reflect opening a private browsing window. Other browsers refer to this process using different terms such as 'privacy mode,' 'private window,' or 'private browsing mode.' The purpose of browsing with a private tab or incognito mode is to hide the websites you visit and any information you enter into the websites. Your browser does not record or remember your online activities when you use this mode.

In addition, an incognito tab can hide your online histories from people who can access your personal computer and eliminate tracing from local sources. Although using the private mode does not download cookies, record visited sites, or save passwords, it does not erase your online activities from your network administrators and internet providers. In incognito mode, the websites you visit and your Wi-fi can still track your activities, which makes it different from using anti-tracking software on your devices.

Related: Computer Skills: Definition And Example

How to use incognito mode in Google Chrome

Follow these points if you are not sure how to use incognito mode in Chrome:

  1. First, launch the Chrome browser on your device.

  2. Next, click on the three dots in the top right corner of the browser window.

  3. Finally, select 'New Incognito Window' from the menu.

  4. You can also use the shortcut 'Ctrl + Shift + N' on your windows or 'Command + Shift + N' on your mac to open a new incognito window.

Ways to activate private browsing in other browsers

Different browsers have different commands for opening a private browsing window. Here is a guide on how to activate the private mode in different browsers:

Using a private window in Safari

Here are the steps to use a private window in Safari:

  • First, launch the browser on your device.

  • Next, click on 'File' from the top of the browsing window.

  • Finally, select 'New Private Window' from the menu.

  • You can also open a private browser window with the shortcut 'Shift + Command + N.'

Using a private window in Firefox

Follow these steps to use a private window in Firefox:

  • Launch the browser on your device.

  • Click on the 'Menu' tab in the top right corner of the browser window.

  • Select 'New Private Window' from the menu.

  • You can also use the shortcut 'Shift + Ctrl+ P' on your Windows computer or 'Shift + Command + P' on your Mac system to open a new private browser window.

Using an 'InPrivate' window in Microsoft Edge

Here are the steps to open a private window in Microsoft Edge:

  • First, launch the browser on your device.

  • Next, open the menu by clicking on the three dots at the top right corner of the browser window.

  • Finally, choose 'New InPrivate Window' from the menu.

  • You can also open a new private window using the shortcut 'Ctrl + Shift + N.'

Benefits of using incognito mode

Here are some of the benefits of browsing the internet in an incognito tab:

Deletes cookies

Websites use cookies to create a more relevant and customised browsing session. These cookies allow websites to track your online activities, create a detailed profile of your online activities and use this information to target ads to you. An incognito window can help you keep your preferences private by deleting these cookies after logging out from a page.

Keeps your browsing history private

Incognito mode is suitable for browsing with a shared or public computer. This window ensures that others cannot find your details on the log-in screens or see your search history. Incognito mode can also help you protect your information and keep your activities private by deleting your browsing data after you log out from a page.

Allows signing into multiple accounts at once

Using an incognito window allows you to sign in to different accounts simultaneously. For instance, you can log in to your account in the incognito window while remaining in your account from a normal window. In addition, it allows more than one person to use a browser without any of them logging out from their respective pages.

Challenges of using incognito mode

Here are some drawbacks of using an incognito mode:

It requires you to log in each time

Using an incognito window requires you to activate it and log in to your accounts each time you want to use it. Forgetting to open an incognito window leaves traces of your online activities and histories. If you use this mode frequently, you can consider making the incognito tab your default setting to help you use the incognito window without choosing the setting each time. You can save your passwords and log-in credentials in an external file to help you remember them when you want to log in to a page.

It does not provide total privacy

Using an incognito window does not offer you total protection from third-party tracking, network administrators and service providers. It does not protect you from websites using your information to send targeted marketing ads. You can consider using anti-tracking devices or virtual private networks (VPNs) to get better protection when browsing the internet.

Other internet search tips

Here are some tips to help you when browsing the internet:

Choose the right search engine

It is important to pick the search engine that best suits your search needs. You can consider using search engines created for specific purposes instead of general search engines. For instance, if you want to find a particular article or document, you can use a search engine for scholarly articles. There are also different search engines to look for people, audio clips, blogs and items in a library catalogue.

Use quotation marks

You can put quotation marks around the search term if you know the exact query you want to find. Using quotation marks brings search results that have your query in the exact match. For instance, suppose you browse 'senior developer roles,' then the page brings only pages with the exact term. If your search query has a phrase with multiple meanings, you can exclude search results that you do not want to find. To avoid seeing these results, you can include the minus sign (-) in your search query in front of words you did not want to see.

Related: Basic Computer Skills: Definition And Examples

Search specific websites

Looking for specific sites can help you find specific results for your search. You can use larger search engines to navigate content on specific websites. You can do this by inputting your search term, followed by 'site' and the website's domain name. For example, if you want to search for IT manager roles on indeed, you can type 'IT manager roles:'

Related: How To Use Indeed To Job Search During COVID-19

Look for similar sites

Some search engines allow you to search for websites similar to other websites. To find similar websites, you can input 'related' followed by a colon, then the site's name you know. For example, if you want to find sites similar to, type 'related:' into your search bar to find relevant results.

Frequently asked questions about using incognito mode

Here are some common questions about using the private browser window on your device:

Can you still use bookmarks in the incognito window?

You can open and save bookmarks when browsing with the incognito window. You can use your bookmarks the same way you do when browsing on a regular window. It is also possible to view your saved pages through the regular menu in your browser.

Can you use incognito mode on a mobile device?

Yes, you can use this setting on a smartphone or tablet. The steps may vary depending on the browser you intend to use. Typically, you can find the private mode setting in the 'Options' menu represented by three dots at the top of your screen or the 'Tabs' icon at the bottom of the screen.

How do you open an incognito tab using Firefox on iOS?

You can use these steps to open a private tab if you are using Firefox on an iPhone:

  • Open the Firefox browser.

  • Tap the 'tab' icon at the bottom of the screen.

  • Tap the mask icon at the bottom left of the screen.

Can you set the incognito mode as the default setting in your browser?

You can use incognito mode as your default browser setting if you use this mode frequently. Some browsers may also allow you to open every window in private mode. Making the incognito mode your default setting can save you from choosing the setting each time you want to use it.

Please note that none of the companies, institutions, or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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