Incognito mode is synonymous with Internet activity that might be a tad bit embarrassing. We won’t spell it out for you, but we’re sure you can imagine what we’re talking about. While the central concept of Incognito mode suits these private activities very well, there are many other instances in which it comes in handy.
What Is Incognito Mode and What Does It Do?
Incognito or Private mode is a feature built in to virtually all modern Internet browsers. Basically, it allows users to browse the Web anonymously, sort of. Unfortunately, Incognito mode doesn’t hide your Internet activity from your internet service provider or any other prying eyes.
So what does Incognito mode actually do? Incognito mode will erase your browsing and search history once you end your Incognito session. In addition, it will also erase any tacking cookies you picked up while perusing the Internet. While your ISP may be able to see everything you do, others who are snooping around on your device will not. Naturally, incognito mode lends itself to potentially embarrassing browsing sessions. That being said, Incognito mode can help in other situations where you want to cover your tracks.
1. Buying Gifts
If you live with other people, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll want to buy gifts for them at one stage or another. It’s also pretty likely that you often share and swap devices. This is especially true if the folks you live with are family. Unfortunately, this creates a situation in which your gift purchases can easily be seen by the recipient.
Whether that person is intentionally searching or not, there’s a pretty good chance they’ll come across your search history. Auto-filling browser search bars and URLs means that the recipient may stumble upon your gift completely by accident. Fortunately, Incognito mode makes this nightmare scenario easy to avoid. Simply browse and shop in an Incognito session, and you won’t have to worry about leaving any hint of what little Johnny might be getting for his birthday.
2. Signing in to Multiple Email Accounts
Anyone with multiple email accounts knows that it can be a hassle to manage them all. One of the most common grievances comes when you use multiple email accounts from the same provider (e.g. Gmail). If you do, you can forget about signing in to more than one account at a time. Instead, you have to sign out of one account before you are allowed to sign in to another.
Fortunately, you can stay signed in to one account while simultaneously checking another by opening an Incognito session. Just pop in the credentials of your second account, and you’ll have both email accounts up and running at the same time.
3. Watch YouTube
YouTube tracks all of your activity on the platform. This allows YouTube to provide users with recommended content based on their viewing habits. While this is beneficial to YouTube as it ensures you spend more time on their platform, it’s also great for the end user. You’ll be matched up with other content creators that you otherwise might not have discovered. It’s a win for everyone involved – for the most part.
One of the biggest problems with YouTube’s tracking and recommendation algorithm is that it can spam your home page with suggested videos. For example, let’s say that you get sucked in to watching a conspiracy video. That one watch could result in videos about Bigfoot, UFOs and QAnon flooding your YouTube account. To stop this from happening, simply visit YouTube Incognito. It won’t log you in to YouTube, so the videos you watch won’t effect your account.
4. Use Public Computers
Whether you’re at work, school, the library or over at a friend’s house, virtually all of us use devices that aren’t ours. With virtually every service and subscription requiring the use of personal usernames and passwords, entering those credentials into these public PCs is less than ideal. Fortunately, there is a way to log in to the things you need without waking up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat.
Since Incognito mode deletes everything associated with that particular session, none of your credentials will be saved onto that PC. This means that you can sign in to all of your accounts without worry.
5. Questionable Research
If you’re a creative writer and are writing a story about a serial killer, you’ll probably want to look up some questionable things. Perhaps you want to know how to dispose of a body or how long it would take someone to bleed out. Despite your innocent intentions, these are all things you probably don’t want floating around in your search history.
Since Incognito browsing sessions ditch all of your search history and even delete the cookies of the websites you’ve visited, you don’t have to worry about anyone finding any incriminating evidence.
5. Booking Flights
It has long been suspected that airlines and online travel agencies increase prices based on your browsers cookies. Whether this is true or not, it has been the subject of some debate. However, the theory is this: airlines and travel agents can see your browsing history based on the cookies stored by your browser. If you keep searching the same flight over and over, they jack up the price to pressure you into pulling the trigger before the price goes up further.
Browsing flights in Incognito mode will make it look like it’s the first time you’ve done so. This could outsmart any potential tracking done by airlines and travel agents, and it could save you money.
There are plenty of other reasons why you should use Incognito mode. The above list is only the tip of the iceberg. What do you use Incognito mode for? Let us know in the comments!
Image credit: Anonymous browsing flat illustration concept by DepositPhotos