Use Private Browsing Mode in Opera for Desktop

Keep your local computer clean of your browsing history with Private Browsing

Hooded hacker Man with laptop stealing personal data from internet

Towfiqu Photography / Getty Images 

To enhance your future browsing sessions, Opera stores a significant amount of data on your device as you access 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. However, they can also introduce some rather significant privacy and security concerns if the wrong person were to obtain them. This potential risk is especially acute when you browse 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.

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

How to Launch a Private Browsing Window

The easiest method for both Windows and macOS relies on a single hotkey. For Windows, press Ctrl+Shift+N. For macOS, press Ctrl+Shift+N.

Alternatively, select the New private window option through the Opera menu (on Windows) or the File menu (on a Mac).

How Private Browsing Works

Private Browsing mode indicates by the hotel-style do-not-disturb icon on the left of the current tab's name. While accessing 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. 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 called by Windows as temporary Internet files, the cache is comprised of images, multimedia files, and sometimes full web pages. These files are stored on your hard drive, employed 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 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.