How to Turn off Incognito Mode

How to prevent private browsing on your computer and your phone

Person hiding laptop screen.

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Incognito mode, as it’s known in Chrome, and Private mode in other browsers, affords you some level of privacy by not saving cookies or browsing history after a session on the web. If you don’t want this option available on your computer or phone, such as to prevent kids from using it to circumvent parental monitoring, then you need to know how to turn off incognito mode.

How Browsers & Operating Systems Treat Private Browsing

You can disable Chrome’s Incognito mode on the PC, Mac, and Android, but not on the iPhone. Instead, on the iPhone, you can disable private browsing in Safari, since it' the default browser for iOS. As for Firefox and Microsoft Edge, you can disable their Private browsing modes on the PC, but not on the Mac, and since you need to use a plug-in for Firefox on the PC, be aware it's easily disabled by anyone who is somewhat tech savvy.

If you're trying to control someone’s browsing habits, you need to be aware of what browsers are installed on the devices and computers in use. There’s no point to limiting Safari on the iPhone, for example, if Chrome or Firefox is also installed, since you can't disable private browsing for those apps.

How to Get out of Incognito Mode

Before we get to disabling incognito mode, it’s worth pointing out that if you enter Incognito mode and simply want to get out of it and back to normal browsing, you can close the Incognito browser window. When you restart Chrome, it will open as usual in public browsing mode.

How to Disable Incognito Mode in Chrome on the PC

You can disable Incognito Mode completely on a Windows PC using a registry addition. It sounds complicated, but it's fairly easy:

  1. Select Start and type "CMD" into the search box.

  2. Right-click Command Prompt and select Run as Administrator.

    Run Command Prompt as administrator in Windows
  3. In the Command Prompt window, type REG ADD HKLM\SOFTWARE\Policies\Google\Chrome /v IncognitoModeAvailability /t REG_DWORD /d 1, then press Enter.

How to Disable Incognito Mode in Chrome on the Mac

On a Mac, the actions for disabling Incognito Mode in Chrome are slightly different, but the end result is the same. The biggest difference is in how Macs handle registry editing.

  1. In the Finder, click Go > Utilities.

    Go menu with Utilities selected in macOS Finder
  2. Open the Terminal app.

    Terminal app icon in macOS Finder window
  3. Type this and then press Enter:

    macOS Terminal command to disable Incognito Mode
defaults write com.google.chrome IncognitoModeAvailability -integer 1z

How to Disable Private Mode in Firefox on the PC

The Firefox browser doesn't call its capability 'Incognito Mode.' Instead, it's Private Mode. But you can still disable it.

  1. Start Firefox.

  2. Select the Hamburger Menu at the top right of the browser window, then select Add-ons.

    Add-ons menu in Firefox
  3. In the search box at the top of the page, enter "private begone."

    Private begone in Firefox Add-ons
  4. Select Private Begone in the search results. This add-on will completely disable Private Browsing in Firefox.

  5. Select Add to Firefox.

    Add to Firefox extension button
  6. If a pop-up appears called Add Private Begone, select Add.

  7. To complete the installation, select Okay, Got It.

  8. Close all instances of Firefox that are running, then restart Firefox. You should no longer be able to open Firefox in a private window.

How to Disable InPrivate Browsing in Microsoft Edge

Disabling InPrivate Browsing on Microsoft Edge requires a bit more attention to detail.

  1. Close any instances of the Microsoft Edge browser that are running.

  2. Select Start and type "REGEDIT" into the search box.

    regedit in Start menu on Windows
  3. In the Start menu search results, select Registry Editor. If Windows asks if you want to allow the program to make changes to your computer, select Yes.

  4. In the tree in the left pane, find HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft.

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft in Registry Editor for Windows
  5. Right-click Microsoft and in the menu, select New > Key.

    New Key in Windows Registry Editor
  6. Name the key "MicrosoftEdge."

  7. Right-click MicrosoftEdge (the key you just made) and select New > Key.

  8. Name this new key "Main."

  9. Right-click the key called Main. In the menu, select New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.

    New > DWORD (32-bit) Value menu item in Windows Registry Editor
  10. Name the new key "AllowInPrivate."

  11. Double-click the DWORD called AllowInPrivate and make sure it is set to 0. If it’s any other value, change it to 0.

  12. Select OK. You can now close the Registry Editor.

  13. Reboot your computer. Now when you use Microsoft Edge, the InPrivate option will no longer be available.

How to Disable Incognito Mode in Chrome on Android Phones

Unlike desktop computers, there is no built-in way to disable Chrome’s Incognito mode for Android. There is, however, a third-party app you can install which does the same thing.

  1. Start the Google Play app on your phone.

  2. Search for "Disable Incognito Mode" and install the app when you see it.

  3. Launch the Disable Incognito Mode app.

  4. Tap Open Settings.

  5. In the settings screen, turn on DisableIncognitoMode. Tap Allow to give the app permission when requested.

    Open, Open Settings, DisableIncognitoMode toggle
  6. You can also return to the app and tap Hide icon after Setting to make the app disappear from the phone’s app screen.

How to Disable Private Mode in Safari on iPhones

You can disable Private Mode in the Safari browser running on iPhones using the Content & Privacy Restrictions controls.

  1. Go to Settings > Screen Time.

  2. On the Screen Time page, tap Turn on Screen Time.

  3. After reading a summary of what the Screen Time feature can offer, tap Continue.

    Screen Time, Turn On Screen Time, Continue buttons in iOS
  4. If you're setting up parental controls on your kid’s iPhone, tap This is My Child’s iPhone.

  5. If you want to, set the Downtime hours the phone can’t be used. On the next page, do the same for App Limits. Tap Continue on the Content & Privacy page.

  6. Create a passcode so only you can control these settings.

  7. Tap Content & Privacy Restrictions. Enter the passcode if you’re asked for it.

  8. Turn on Content & Privacy Restrictions by swiping the button to the right.

  9. Tap Content Restrictions.

  10. Tap Web Content. On the Web Content page, tap Limit Adult Websites.

    Content & Privacy Restrictions, Content Restrictions, Web Content on iOS