How to Use Guest Browsing Mode in Google Chrome

This tutorial is intended for desktop/laptop users (Linux, Mac, or Windows) running the Google Chrome browser.

One of the more useful features found in Google's Chrome browser is the ability to create multiple profiles, each one maintaining their own unique browsing historybookmarked sites and under-the-hood settings. Not only can most of these personalized items be available across devices via the magic of Google Sync, but having separate users configured allows for individual customization as well as a level of privacy.

While this is all well and good, there may be times when someone without a saved profile needs to utilize your browser. On these occasions, you could go through the process of creating a new user, but that may be overkill -- especially if this is a one-time thing. Instead, you may want to use the aptly titled Guest browsing mode. Not to be confused with Chrome's Incognito mode, Guest mode offers a quick solution and does not allow access to any of the aforementioned personal data or settings.

This tutorial explains Guest mode further and walks you through the process of activating it.

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Open Your Chrome Browser

chrome profile manager

First, open your Google Chrome browser.

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Chrome Settings

chrome settings

Click on the Chrome menu button, represented by three horizontal lines and circled in the example above. When the drop-down menu appears, select the Settings option.

Please note that you can also access Chrome's settings interface by entering the following text in the browser's Omnibox, also known as the address bar: chrome://settings

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Enable Guest Browsing

enable guest browsing

Chrome's Settings interface should now be displayed in a new tab. Locate the People section, found towards the bottom of the page. The first option in this section, directly below the list of user-profiles currently stored in the browser, is labeled Enable Guest browsing and is accompanied by a checkbox.

Ensure that this option has a check mark next to it, indicating that Guest browsing mode is available.

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Switch Person

chrome change user

Click on the name of the active user, located in the upper right-hand corner of the browser window directly to the left of the minimize button. A pop-out window should now be displayed, as depicted in this example. Select the button labeled Switch person, circled in the screenshot above.

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Browse as Guest

chrome browse as guest

The Switch Person window should now be visible, as shown in the example above. Click on the Browse as Guest button, located in the lower left-hand corner.

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Guest Browsing Mode

chrome guest mode

Guest mode should now be activated in a new Chrome window. While surfing in Guest mode, a record of your browsing history, as well as other session remnants such as cache and cookies, will not be saved. It should be noted, however, that any files downloaded through the browser during a Guest mode session will remain on the hard drive unless manually deleted.

If you are ever unsure of whether or not Guest mode is active in the current window or tab, simply look for the Guest indicator -- located in the upper right-hand corner of your browser window and circled in the example above.