Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
Browsing in private or incognito mode on your computer can come in pretty handy. While there are some ways you can still be tracked, it’s a great way to check for price discrimination, see how pages look to the public, and escape the internet bubble based on your browsing history.
If you’d rather stick to private browsing all the time, most popular browsers make it easy to always open your browser in incognito mode.
If you always want to open Chrome in private mode, it’s not as simple as checking a box. Instead, you’re going to have to do the following:
- Create a shortcut for Chrome on your desktop if one does not already exist.
- Right-click the icon to pull up the context menu, and click Properties.
- In the Target field, add -incognito to the end of the text. You will add it at the very end, with one space after the last quotation mark.
- Click OK.
Now when you want to automatically open Chrome in incognito mode, just use that shortcut. This won’t work if you open Chrome any other way. Because of this, you’ll probably want to add a shortcut to Chrome on your desktop for convenience.
If you would like to reverse the setting, you can delete the shortcut or go back into properties and remove -incognito from the Target field.
Firefox (Mac, Windows)
Firefox makes it much easier to always open your browser in private mode:
- Click the hamburger menu and go to Options.
- Go to the Privacy tab and under History select Firefox will never remember history from the dropdown menu.
You will have to restart Firefox for the settings to take effect.
Safari, like Firefox, makes it super simple to always open the browser in private mode:
- Open Safari and go to Preferences (keyboard shortcut Command + Comma).
- On the General tab, in the Safari opens with field, select A new private window from the dropdown menu.
Quit Safari and open it again and you’ll find yourself in private browsing mode.
Opera users can use the same method listed above for Chrome users:
- Create an Opera shortcut on your desktop if one does not already exist.
- Right click the icon and click Properties.
- In the Target field, add –private to the end of the text. You will add it at the very end, with one space after the last quotation mark.
- Click OK.
Edge (Windows 10)
Unfortunately, there’s no way to automatically open Edge in private mode. You’ll have to manually open a private window every time.
Bonus Tips for Windows and Mac
Windows users can also right-click their browser icon in the start menu and open a private or incognito tab from there. This works with Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera. You can also access the same feature by right-clicking the browser icon in the Taskbar.
Mac users can right-click the icon in the dock and click New incognito/private window.
If you want a truly private browsing experience, you might want to consider using a tool like Tor instead.
Do you prefer to use private mode or just browse regularly? Do you have any tips or tricks for safe browsing? Let us know in the comments.
Image Credit: Rawpixel.com via Shutterstock