What Is Incognito Mode – And Should You Be Using It? – Forbes

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First, we provide paid placements to advertisers to present their offers. The payments we receive for those placements affects how and where advertisers’ offers appear on the site. This site does not include all companies or products available within the market.
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Incognito mode is a setting for your web browser which doesn’t keep a record of the web pages you visit. But that doesn’t make it 100% private. Here’s everything you need to know.
The majority of web browsers (which you use to access the internet) keep a record of the websites and pages you visit by default. By storing your ‘history’ you can easily find and revisit content later on.
Most browsers have an option to temporarily suspend this record keeping, meaning the web pages you visit will be kept private – at least to anyone else using that same browser.
Every browser has a different name for the setting. In Chrome it’s Incognito Mode, in Microsoft Edge it’s InPrivate Mode, in Safari it’s Private Browsing and in Firefox it’s Private mode.
They could be useful if you were planning a surprise for someone you share use of a computer or tablet with, for example.
Click or tap the button in your browser you’d usually use to open a new tab (typically three vertical dots or lines in the top right-hand corner) and select ‘open new private/incognito tab’. Everything you do in that new tab(s) will go unrecorded by your browser.
No, private browsing modes don’t save your browsing history, cached pages or cookies, so there’s nothing to delete.
If you don’t use a private browsing mode, deleting your history, cache and cookies has a similar effect to browsing privately, in that nobody else who uses your device will be able to see what you’ve been doing.
1
No. Servers
24,926
No. Server Locations
77
Max No. of Devices
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On Privateinternetaccess.com’s Secure Website
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No. Server Locations
89
Max No. of Devices
7
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Via CyberGhost’s Secure Website
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59
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6
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Via NordVPN’s Secure Website
From anyone else using your device, yes – but not from the wider world.
The browser won’t keep a record of your activity, but this doesn’t mean a record of the pages you visit won’t exist. For example, if you visited BBC News using private browsing, its analytics would record your (relatively anonymised) on-site activity, even though your device wouldn’t.
Any website you have an account with and sign in to – Instagram, for example – would keep records of where and when you accessed your account too.
Similarly, most search engines you use could keep records of the searches you make, unless you tell them not to. And If you’re using a school or work network, the IT department can probably see records of your activity. 
Finally, but fundamentally, your broadband provider will also likely keep records of what you do online. And if you were accused of pirating movies online, for example, a movie studio or distributor could take legal action to get your browser history from your broadband provider in order to seek damages from you.
Yes, but not by using a browser’s incognito or private mode.
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) conceal your IP address – the unique identifier your computer, phone or tablet is assigned on the internet – so that websites you visit don’t know who or where you really are. They also encrypt the data you send and receive over the internet, making it unintelligible to anyone without a decryption key.
Any VPN worth its salt will also have a no-log policy that means even it won’t keep a record of what you do online and so can’t be compelled to hand it over to anyone. If you want to go even further, a VPN can protect you against state surveillance and international surveillance alliances such as Five Eyes, of which the UK is a member.
Another way to browse the web privately and anonymously is the Tor Browser. The software blocks trackers, encrypts traffic, defends against surveillance and makes it harder for users to be identified via fingerprinting (a profile of you based on your browser and device information).
While VPNs have become a big, mainstream method for protecting your privacy online, the Tor Browser has long been associated with accessing the ‘dark web’ and the cyber crime found there. The Tor Browser, while unlike the best VPN services is free of charge, is arguably more risky and less secure.
We’ve compiled a list of what we think are the best VPNs for 2021
Staff writer Mark Hooson has been a journalist within the personal finance, consumer affairs and fraud sectors for more than 10 years. He is also Forbes Advisor UK’s resident tech expert. Mark says he thrives on making ‘complicated and dry topics easier to digest’.

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