What you do online is your own business, which is why Google Chrome offers several ways to help you keep your browsing session as private as possible.
There are two main options to ensure that privacy: incognito mode and guest mode. But how are they different?
Let’s learn more about incognito mode and guest mode in Chrome, including what they can do, and when you should use each one of them.
What is Chrome’s Incognito Mode?
Incognito Mode, also known as “private browsing” on several other browsers, has been around for many years. While incognito, you can browse the web without worrying about Chrome saving any information about that browsing session. Once you have closed the incognito window, all information about that browsing session will be disappeared.
In other words, Chrome will not save any browsing history, cookies, or data you fill out of forms that are generated in that incognito window. It also blocks the functionality to reopen closed tabs with Ctrl+Shift+T and disable extensions (unless you activate them yourself).
When you start an incognito session, it opens a new browser window that has never been used to open web pages before. Because without cookies, you will not be able to pre-login to any website, and no website is personalized to you at all.
This mode has many uses, for example:
- You want to sign in to one of your accounts on a friend’s PC without forcing them to sign out.
- You want to see how a website looks to everyone else.
- You want to try to see if one of the extensions you have installed is causing a website to crash or not.
- You want to exceed the view limit on certain websites.
While it is extremely useful, bear in mind that you are not invisible during a private browsing session. Websites can still identify you, and incognito doesn’t hide your browsing activity from your ISP or network administrators. In those cases, you will need to connect to a VPN to increase privacy.
To open a new incognito window, click on the 3-dot menu and choose “New incognito window“, or press Ctrl+Shift+N.
What is Chrome’s Guest Mode?
Guest Mode is a separate function that is not related to Incognito Mode. It takes advantage of Chrome’s user profile switch functionality to create a blank profile for anyone who is temporarily using your browser.
Like incognito mode, it doesn’t save any browsing history and disables all extensions. Nevertheless, users can not see or change any Chrome settings (other than the default search engine) in Guest Mode. A guest user can not see any browsing history, bookmarks, or things that have been downloaded in other profiles.
Guest Mode is most useful when you are browsing the web on someone else’s computer, letting someone else use your computer, or working on a public computer.
To open a new guest window, click on the profile switch button in the upper right corner of Chrome (this button has an avatar for your current profile). Then, click on Guest under Other People to start a new guest session.
The differences between Chrome’s Incognito Mode and Chrome’s Guest Mode
As we have seen above, Incognito Mode and Guest Mode in Chrome seem to be quite similar to each other. However, Guest Mode isn’t quite the same as Incognito. So, which one should you use and when should you use that mode?
Both are great choices when you want to remove any traces of your browsing session as soon as you close the Chrome window. However, Incognito Mode is mainly for you to use right on your own computer while the Guest Mode is mainly for using a different computer that is not yours.
As a result, Incognito Mode allows primary users of Chrome to browse the web without recording history, while Guest Mode allows others to use the browser without accessing the primary user’s information. Both to prevent any information about the browsing session from being saved.