Incognito mode (browse in private)

For times when you want to browse the web without saving certain info you can use incognito mode in Google Chrome. Here's how incognito mode works:

  • Webpages that you open and files that you download while you're incognito aren't recorded in your browsing and download histories.
  • All new cookies are deleted after you close all incognito windows that you've opened.
  • Changes you make to your Google Chrome bookmarks and general settings while in incognito mode are still saved.

Tip: If you're using a Chromebook, you can use the guest browsing feature as an alternative to incognito mode.

You can have both incognito mode windows and regular windows open at the same time, and switch between the two.

Open an incognito window

  1. Click the Chrome menu Chrome menu on the browser toolbar.
  2. Select New incognito window.
  3. A new window will open with the incognito icon incognito icon in the corner.

You can also use the keyboard shortcuts Ctrl+Shift+N (Windows, Linux, and Chrome OS) and ⌘-Shift-N (Mac) to open an incognito window.

Exit incognito window

To end an incognito session, close all incognito windows.
Click the x icon in the corner of the window, or use the keyboard shortcuts Alt+F4 (Windows and Linux) and ⌘-Shift-W (Mac) to close a window. Closing the last tab in a window also automatically closes the window.  

Important details

Information stored by other sites

Browsing in incognito mode only keeps Google Chrome from storing information about the websites you've visited. The websites you visit may still have records of your visit. Also, any files saved to your computer or mobile devices will still remain.

For example, if you sign into your Google Account while in incognito mode, your Google searches will be recorded in your Google Web History. In this case, to prevent your searches from being stored in your Google Account, you can turn off your Google Web History.

Differences on iOS

On Chrome for iOS, due to platform limitation, regular and incognito* tabs share HTML5 local storage, which is typically used by sites to store files on your device (client-side caching) or to provide offline functionality. This means the same sites can always access their data in this storage in both regular and incognito* tabs. Incognito* tabs will still keep browsing history and cookies separate from regular tabs, which are cleared once those tabs are closed.