How private browsing works in Chrome

When you browse privately, other people who use the device won't see your history.

Chrome doesn't save your browsing history or information entered in forms. Cookies and site data are remembered while you're browsing, but deleted when you exit Incognito mode. You can choose to block third-party cookies when you open a new Incognito window. Learn more about cookies.

What happens when you browse privately

Some information will not be seen or saved

Once you exit all your Incognito browsing windows, Chrome won’t save:

  • Your browsing history
  • Your cookies and site data
  • Information you entered in forms
  • Permissions you give websites

To exit Incognito mode, close all Incognito windows.

Your activity might still be visible

Incognito mode stops Chrome from saving your browsing activity to your local history. Your activity, like your location, might still be visible to:

  • Websites you visit, including the ads and resources used on those sites
  • Websites you sign in to
  • Your employer, school, or whoever runs the network you’re using
  • Your internet service provider
  • Search engines
    • Search engines may show search suggestions based on your location or activity in your current Incognito browsing session. When you search on Google, Google will always estimate the general area that you're searching from. Learn more about location when you search on Google.

Some of your info might still be visible

A web service, website, search engine, or provider may be able to see:

  • Your IP address, which can be used to identify the general area you're in
  • Your activity when you use a web service
  • Your identity if you sign in to a web service, like Gmail

You can still find and use your payment, password and contact info, but you can’t change your saved info in a Chrome Incognito window.

Downloads and bookmarks are saved

Chrome won’t store the files you download while browsing in private. But, they're still saved to your Downloads folder, even after you exit Incognito. You and anyone who uses your device can see and open the files.

All bookmarks you create are saved to Chrome.

Some of your preferences, including accessibility choices and bookmark settings, may also be saved to Chrome.

You can switch between Incognito tabs and regular Chrome tabs. You only browse in private when you use an Incognito tab.

You can also choose to block third-party cookies when you open a new Incognito window. Learn more about cookies.

Lock Incognito tabs when you leave Chrome

Anyone who uses your device can access Incognito tabs you leave open. To keep your Incognito tabs open and not viewable by other device users, you can lock them.

Important: Some of these steps work only on Android 11 and up. Learn how to check your Android version.

  1. On your Android phone, open Chrome Chrome.
  2. Tap More and then Settings "".
  3. Tap Privacy and security.
  4. Turn on Lock Incognito tabs when you leave Chrome.

Close Incognito mode to stop private browsing

Incognito mode runs in a separate tab from your normal Chrome tabs.

If you have an Incognito tab open and you open another one, your private browsing session will continue in the new tab. To exit Incognito mode, close all Incognito tabs.

  1. On your Android phone or tablet, open Chrome Chrome.
  2. At the top right, tap Switch tabs Switch tabs. On the right, you'll see your open Incognito tabs.
  3. At the top right of your Incognito tabs, tap Close Close.

Related articles

Was this helpful?
How can we improve it?
Clear search
Close search
Google apps
Main menu
Search Help Center