We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.


Here are the uses for private browsing that you might not have thought of

Its uses extend beyond visiting sites you don’t want saved.

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 21.45.50 Google Chrome Google Chrome

PRIVATE BROWSING, INCOGNITO mode, whatever you call it, its likely you’re aware of each browser’s ability to not save your web activity.

All of the major browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer have this feature (both on desktop and mobile), and on the off-chance you aren’t already using it, it’s an incredibly handy tool to have at your disposal.

To clarify, private browsing allows you to keep your web activity hidden from other users, and remove all your search and web activity immediately. It won’t, however, keep it hidden from ISPs or other trackers.

If you want to keep your web activity hidden entirely, then you will need to go much deeper.

Also, some common sense is required when using this mode. It’s not foolproof and so if a site asks you if you want to save your password after logging in, it’s better if you click no.

If you’re using a public computer

Even if it’s a case that you have to sign in to a public computer, it’s still recommended that you go immediately into private mode if you’re signing into any private accounts.

Granted, the fact that we all have smartphones, tablets, computers and laptops means that the likelihood of us using a public computer is slim, but when you do have to use one, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Logging into multiple accounts

Most browsers will only allow you to log into one account at a time, but what if you have more than one account and want to use that as well? In that case, it’s a matter of opening up a new private browsing window and logging into your second account there instead.

See a neutral version of search results

When you search for something on Google, you usually get search results tailored to you. Factors like  search history, your Google+ account and sites you’ve visited are taken into account so if you want to see an unbiased version, search through incognito mode.

This is useful if you want to Google yourself and see what the rest of the world sees when they search for your name. It’s also useful if you’re searching other sites like Amazon which base recommendations on what you’ve bought and viewed.

See what your social media profiles look like to strangers

Should you be worried about what people can see on your Facebook profile when they’re not friends with you, you can visit your page in private mode and find out. Also, it helps you get past some annoying features like LinkedIn where people can see who viewed their profile when you’re signed in.

Both sites have their own ways of getting around this, but this is an easier way of doing the same thing in case you may end up revealing info you may have originally thought was private.

Ensure what you search for stays a secret

While the obvious jokes may apply here, there are some more practical uses for private browsing. If you want to hunt for a gift for someone without them finding out, or don’t want a certain search term to screw up future search results, then private browsing prevents it from appearing in your search history.

Read: Ever wanted to search for something using emojis? Now you can* >

Read: Would you pay to avoid Youtube ads? You may get the choice soon >

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.