Google Chrome logo on a blue background

Google Chrome’s Incognito mode can help keep your browsing data private by not saving your history, and wiping cookies automatically. Here’s how to activate Chrome’s private browsing mode.

What Is Incognito Mode in Chrome?

Google Chrome’s incognito mode is primarily designed to keep your browsing habits safe from other users on the same PC. Like other private browsing modes found in most web browsers, incognito mode doesn’t save your browsing history or any information you enter into forms, and it clears your browser cache and cookies once you close the window.

Incognito mode won’t stop you from being tracked on the internet by third parties, however — for that, you’ll need to take extra steps, like installing a VPN.

How to Activate Incognito Mode

The fastest way to open incognito mode is with a keyboard shortcut. Hit Ctrl+Shift+n (Command+Shift+n on Mac) in Google Chrome, and a new incognito mode window will appear.

You can also activate incognito mode with Chrome’s user interface. Click on the three dots in the top right-hand corner of the window, and then click “New Incognito Window.”

If you’d like to always use incognito mode, you could make Google Chrome start in incognito mode by default.

Any time you launch a new tab with incognito active, you will see a message that says “You’ve Gone Incognito” in the middle of the screen.

Incognito mode is active

There is another indicator for incognito mode in the top right-hand corner of Chrome — it remains visible so long as you’re incognito.

Incognito active indicator

Remember, Incognito mode will not stop most tracking activities. It will only prevent your browsing history from being saved locally on your PC. Network administrators, your ISP, and websites you visit are all still capable of identifying you. You can find out what VPN service is best if you desire additional privacy.

The Best VPN Services of 2022

Best Overall VPN
ExpressVPN
Best Budget VPN
SurfShark
Best Free VPN
Windscribe
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ProtonVPN
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Hide.me
Best VPN for Streaming
ExpressVPN
Best VPN for Gaming
Private Internet Access
Best VPN for Torrenting
NordVPN
Best VPN for Windows
CyberGhost
Best VPN for China
VyprVPN
Best VPN for Privacy
Mullvad VPN
Profile Photo for Nick Lewis Nick Lewis
Nick Lewis is a staff writer for How-To Geek. He has been using computers for 20 years --- tinkering with everything from the UI to the Windows registry to device firmware. Before How-To Geek, he used Python and C++ as a freelance programmer. In college, Nick made extensive use of Fortran while pursuing a physics degree.
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