How to Turn on Incognito Mode in Your Browser

When privacy is important, browse in private mode

Incognito mode, also known as private browsing, is a feature in most popular web browsers. When you enable incognito mode, anything you search for and websites you visit don't show up in your browsing history. It's a handy feature when looking up something embarrassing, researching a gift for someone who uses the same computer, and many other scenarios.

Here's how to enable incognito mode for private browsing in Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Opera.

Incognito mode doesn't block or mask your IP address. It prevents the browser from recording your session data. To hide your IP, use a VPN, a proxy server, or the Tor Browser.

How to Turn on Incognito Mode in Google Chrome

While surfing the web incognito in Google Chrome, the browser doesn't save your history or other private data. Here's how to open a private browsing session in Chrome:

  1. Select the Chrome Menu (three vertical dots) from the upper-right corner and then select New Incognito Window.

    Alternatively, from the Chrome menu, select File > New Incognito Window. Or, press Ctrl+Shift+N (Windows) or Command+Shift+N (Mac).

    The New Incognito Window command
  2. A window opens, explaining the Chrome Incognito mode.

    A window opens explaining the Chrome Incognito mode
  3. To open a link in an Incognito window, right-click it (or press Control+Click on a Mac), and then select Open Link in Incognito Window.

    Open a link in the Chrome Incognito mode
  4. To exit Incognito mode, close the browser window or tabs.

    To activate Incognito mode on an iOS device, tap Menu > New Incognito Tab. On an Android device, tap More > New Incognito Tab.

How to Use InPrivate Browsing in Microsoft Edge

The Microsoft Edge browser in Windows 10 allows incognito browsing through the InPrivate Browsing function.

This feature is also available in Internet Explorer. However, it's recommended that you switch to Edge, as Microsoft no longer updates IE.

  1. Open the Edge browser and select the More Actions menu (three dots).

    Using InPrivate Browsing in Microsoft Edge.
  2. Select New InPrivate Window.

    Using InPrivate Browsing in Microsoft Edge.

    On a Windows computer, use the Ctrl+Shift+P keyboard shortcut to enter an InPrivate Browsing window quickly.

  3. A window opens, explaining the Edge InPrivate Browsing mode.

    Using InPrivate Browsing in Microsoft Edge.
  4. To open a link in the Edge InPrivate Browsing mode, right-click it (or press Control+Click on a Mac) and select Open in InPrivate Window.

    To enter InPrivate Browsing mode in Edge on an iOS or Android device, select the Tabs icon and then tap InPrivate.

How to Turn on InPrivate Browsing in Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer (IE) 11 also refers to its incognito mode as InPrivate Browsing. To launch an InPrivate session in IE:

InPrivate Browsing is available on IE8 and later.

  1. Open Internet Explorer.

  2. Select the Tools menu (gear icon) in the upper-right corner of the browser window.

    Turning on InPrivate browsing in Internet Explorer.
  3. Hover over Safety.

    Turning on InPrivate browsing in Internet Explorer.
  4. Select InPrivate Browsing.

    Turning on InPrivate browsing in Internet Explorer.

    Press Ctrl+Shift+P to turn on InPrivate Browsing quickly.

  5. A new InPrivate Browsing window opens. To verify, make sure the URL is preceded by about:InPrivate.

    Turning on InPrivate browsing in Internet Explorer.

How to Turn on Private Browsing in Firefox

Incognito browsing in Mozilla Firefox is called Private Browsing mode. Here's how to activate the feature:

  1. Select the Firefox Menu (three vertical lines), and then choose New Private Window.

    The New Private Window command in Firefox
  2. A Firefox private browsing window opens.

    A Firefox private browsing window will open.

    To quickly open a Firefox Private Browsing window, press Shift+Command+P on a Mac or Control+Shift+P on a Windows PC.

  3. To open a link in Private Browsing mode, right-click it (or press Control+Click on a Mac), then choose Open Link in New Private Window.

    Open Link in New Private Window in Firefox

    To enter Firefox Private Browsing mode on an iOS device, tap the Tabs icon at the bottom of the screen, and then tap the Mask icon. On an Android device, tap the Mask icon at the top of the screen.

How to Enter Incognito Browsing in Apple Safari

Safari is the default browser for macOS. Here's how to enter the Safari Private Browsing mode:

  1. Open Safari on a Mac.

  2. From the menu bar, select File > New Private Window.

    Press Shift+Command+N to quickly open a private browsing window.

    Enter Private Browsing mode in Safari on a Mac
  3. A window opens with a darker search bar and a message that Private Browsing is enabled.

    The Private Browsing Enabled message in Safari
  4. To open a link in a private window in Safari on a Mac, hold the Option key and right-click the link (or hold the Control and Option keys and then click the link), and then select Open Link in New Private Window.

    Open a link in a private window in Safari
  5. To enter Private Browsing in Safari for Windows, select Tools (gear icon) > Private Browsing, and then select OK

    To enter Private Browsing mode on an iOS device, tap the Pages icon, and then tap Private.

How to Open a Private Window in Opera

The Opera web browser's incognito mode is called Private mode. Here's how it works:

  1. Open Opera on a PC or Mac.

  2. From the menu bar, select File > New Private Window.

    To quickly open a private window in Opera, press Ctrl+Shift+N on a Windows PC or Command+Shift+N on a Mac.

    Open a Private Window in Opera
  3. A window that explains Opera's Private mode appears.

    Private Mode in Opera
  4. To open a link in Private mode in Opera, right-click it (or press Control+Click on a Mac) and select Open in New Private Window.

    To enter Private mode in the Opera Touch iOS mobile browser, tap the Pages icon, tap Menu (three dots), then select Private Mode.

    Open a link in private mode in Opera