How to Use Private Browsing Mode in Opera for Desktop

opera private browsing
Scott Orgera

 This tutorial is only intended for users running the Opera Web browser on Mac OS X and Windows operating systems.

In an effort to enhance your future browsing sessions, Opera stores a significant amount of data on your device as your surf the Web. Ranging from a record of websites that you have visited, to copies of local Web pages intended to accelerate load times on subsequent visits, these files offer a multitude of conveniences.

Unfortunately, they can also introduce some rather significant privacy and security concerns if the wrong party were to obtain them. This potential risk is especially prevalent when browsing on a computer or portable device that is shared with others.

Opera provides a Private Browsing mode for such cases, ensuring that no private data is left behind at the end of a browsing session. Activating Private Browsing mode can be done in just a couple of easy steps, and this tutorial walks you through the process on the Windows and Mac platforms. First, open your Opera browser.

Windows Users

Click on the Opera menu button, located in the upper left-hand corner of your browser. When the drop-down menu appears, select the New private window option, circled in the example above. You can also utilize the following keyboard shortcut in lieu of clicking on this menu option: CTRL + SHIFT + N.

Mac OS X users

Click on File in the Opera menu, located at the top of your screen.

When the drop-down menu appears, select the New Private Window option. You can also utilize the following keyboard shortcut in lieu of clicking on this menu option: COMMAND + SHIFT + N.

Private Browsing mode has now been activated in a new window, depicted by the hotel style "Do Not Disturb" icon found to the left of the current tab's name.

While surfing the Web in Private Browsing mode, the following data components are automatically deleted from your hard drive as soon as the active window is closed. Please note that saved passwords and downloaded files will not be deleted.

  • Browsing History: Opera normally stores a list of URLs for each website that you have visited in the past. These addresses are not saved while Private Browsing mode is active.
  • Cache: Also known as temporary Internet files, the cache is comprised of images, multimedia files, and sometimes full Web pages. These files are stored on your local hard drive, utilized on subsequent visits to the same websites in an effort to speed up page load time by not having to make a request to the server in each instance. Private Browsing mode ensures that cache files are not saved when Opera is shut down.
  • Cookies: Small text files stored locally, cookies are utilized by most websites to maintain user-specific settings and other information unique to you such as login credentials. Cookies are also used by many sites for tracking purposes. Sites are not permitted to save persistent cookies to your hard drive while Private Browsing mode is activated.