Chrome's incognito mode isn't as private as you might think

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A lot of users use Google Chrome's incognito mode to surf the web without leaving a record. However, it seems that on the mobile version of Google Chrome this private mode is not so discreet after all, and for some this is rather bad news.

The purpose of private browsing on Chrome's incognito mode is to be able to surf the Internet without the browser recording information: no history, no cookies or other data. Of course, the sites you visit keep track of your passage, but this mode of navigation should theoretically prevent other members of your household from discovering which sites you are visiting. As you might imagine, this mode is particularly popular for accessing erotic content online. But you might want to think twice before getting frisky with your phone.

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Incognito mode isn't so private after all. / © NextPit

This supposedly private browsing method is not as discreet as it seems. Android phones keep a notification log of user activity and using Chrome mobile, even in incognito mode, leaves a record. It's not all that easy to find, but as one user points out on Reddit, one can use a launcher app to track the activity on the device to uncover a log of the supposedly private record, including the titles of videos watched, with simple playback controls too. Uh-oh.

Of course not everyone will make the effort to try and get this information, but the person who knows where to look may find some surprises. Anyone worried by this news for whatever reason should perhaps try Firefox Focus, which is much more discreet since nothing appears in the logs. You're welcome.

Which browser do you use on your device?

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Benoit Pepicq

Benoit Pepicq

Benoit is passionate about new technologies and everything related to computers. A big Android fan since 2011, he joined the AndroidPIT team to satisfy his passion and to share his knowledge on Android with readers.

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  • Reg Joo Jan 17, 2018 Link to comment

    I use both chrome, and Firefox focus. If I want to just search, and don’t care about privacy, I use chrome. If I want to be private, I use focus. The best part is that I use split screen creator, to multitask between the two. I put the shortcut in the dock. Firefox regular(not focus), needs to talk to google about their google app, which even when you make it the default, in the app, it pops up with “open with”. Chrome is my default, since firefox’s performance seems to take a hit.

  • Arpit Saini Jan 17, 2018 Link to comment

    The best use of incognito is to browse products. I hate all the cache and cookies learning the product I'm looking out for. I then get ads on Instagram Facebook etc because of that.

  •   46
    Deactivated Account Jan 17, 2018 Link to comment

    If you have a smart phone any and everything you do on it the data is stored and collected. By Google, all those free apps you have installed, and lets not forget the manufactures of the phone do it too. Especially those of Chinese based manufactures who have repeatedly been busted for it. They do not stop they just get wiser on how to do it.

  • Kent Shephard Jan 16, 2018 Link to comment

    Use a different browser other than Chrome.

  • Albin Foro Jan 16, 2018 Link to comment

    Having the strength of ten because my heart is pure, I only use these browsers to keep from clogging storage with useless cache and history muck. FF Focus is very good, but I use Ghostery on an older Android J device still kicking. (I've never for a minute thought anything associated with Google is "private" - excellent as the services are, their price is privacy.) I want login and site preference cookies for many sites and use a fine app called "Better Open With" (Giorgi Dalakishvili) that gives the user some beats to decide which browser, or other app, to launch.

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