How Incognito Really Is Incognito Mode?

As hundreds of thousands of people use the internet everyday, browsers collect various information about their users. Many third parties are able to access this information and cookies allow highly personalized ads, based off our search queries. To keep personal information more private, many people use incognito mode. Incognito mode is a setting on your web browser that provides users with a private browsing session. Once the session has ended, your search history is deleted. But is it really as simple as that? In this blog, we are going to explore how incognito really is incognito mode.


Why do people use incognito mode?

A study from the University of Chicago, found that the top reasons why people used incognito mode were:

  1. Hide browsing history
  2. Prevent targeted ads and search suggestions
  3. Achieve “safer” browsing
  4. Prevent browsers from saving login-related information
  5. Avoid cookies


How does incognito mode work?

Many users feel ‘safer’ using incognito mode as they don’t think they are being watched. Features of incognito mode include:

  • Removes local copies of browsing history
  • Removes temporary files
  • Removes cookies from a machine
  • Removes search queries
  • Doesn’t save log-in information


From this list, you might be thinking incognito mode is sounding pretty good and most of your data gets deleted. One thing that is not private during this mode is your IP address. So you are still able to be identified via this. Bookmarks created during incognito mode sessions are also saved in normal mode in your browser as well. As well as any files you download during incognito mode will also remain on your computer.


How are we tracked on incognito mode?

As you’re able to be identified using your IP address, your Internet Service Provider, employer and the government are able to track you and see which websites you visit. If you log into any of your accounts, such as Facebook or Google, your search queries and pages you visit are also saved. You remain visible to other external third parties such as search engines and Internet Service Providers.


Final Thoughts

Turns out incognito mode isn’t as incognito as many of us first thought! Incognito mode provides many great features that removes some information of our browsing session, but not all. Users are still able to be tracked via their IP address. Next time you’re using incognito mode, just keep in mind, that you aren’t as incognito as you may have thought!

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