Guest Mode vs. Incognito Mode in Chrome: What’s the Difference?

Ben Stegner 10-03-2017

Chrome offers several modes for keeping your browsing private. Incognito mode, known as Private Browsing in other browsers, has been around for years. More recently, Chrome introduced the profile switcher. This lets you quickly switch between multiple users — like home and work accounts — without a hassle.


Profile switching also provides a Guest mode, and you might be wondering what the differences are between it and Incognito mode. Thankfully, they’re not too difficult to tell apart and each have their own uses.

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Incognito mode lets you browse the web without Chrome saving any of your history information. It essentially opens up a new browsing window that’s never seen the internet before — because there are no cookies, you aren’t logged into any sites. When you close an incognito window, all the information on that session is gone, so you can’t review the browsing history or find cookies.

This mode has lots of uses Not Just for Porn: Other Uses For Private Browsing Private-browsing mode has many other names, including "incognito mode" in Chrome and "InPrivate Browsing" in Internet Explorer. Some people refer to private-browsing mode as "porn mode", but it isn't just for porn addicts. It can... Read More , like signing into your Facebook account on a friend’s PC without forcing them to sign out, or seeing how a webpage looks to the public. Incognito also disables browser extensions, so you can use it to see if an add-on is messing up a website. However, you aren’t invisible when Incognito 6 Ways You Can Be Tracked in Incognito or Private Browsing Mode Private browsing is private in 99% of cases, but can private browsing be hacked? Can you tell what someone has viewed incognito? Read More .

Guest mode provides a blank profile for someone who’s temporarily using Chrome. Like Incognito mode, it doesn’t save any record of the browsing history and doesn’t use extensions. However, in Guest mode, the user can’t change any Chrome settings aside from the search engine. A guest user also can’t see any of the browsing history of the main user.

Thus, Incognito mode allows the primary Chrome user to browse without recording history, while Guest mode lets someone else use the browser without access to the primary user’s information.


Using Guest Mode effectively is key in keeping your browser secured Warning: 5 Mistakes That Will Ruin Your Browser Setup Your browser setup is a fragile thing. One "oops" moment and you'll have to say goodbye to it. Don't let that happen to you. Read More .

Have you used Guest mode in Chrome? Let us know your unique uses for these modes in the comments!

Image Credit: Jane Kelly via Shutterstock

Explore more about: Google Chrome, Online Privacy, Private Browsing.

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  1. Perri Poirier
    March 20, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    All good advise UNLESS YOU LIVE OUTSIDE OF THE USA, as the majority of the world does! All we have in Canada is SCALED DOWN Netflix & Prime. ALL OTHERS are not available in Canada.