ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

10+ Uses for Incognito or Private Browsing

Updated on January 16, 2017

Internet Browsing and Cookies

From buying presents to checking how well your website or blog is doing on search engines, private browsing can be a useful feature in every day life.

Private browsing means that cookies are not stored on your computer after you visit a browser. Private browsing can be slightly slower than normal browsing as we use cookies as shortcuts to access websites we have visited before and pre-fill online forms.

On Google Chrome private browsing is called incognito browsing (go to the top right corner and select new > incognito window).

Similarly, in MicrosoftEdge private browsing is also access from the top right corner > new InPrivate window.

In Firefox go to the top right corner and select new private window.

In Safari you will see the option to select private browsing on the bottom left corner of your iPhone screen or the top right corner on your Mac: choose file > new private window.

Private Browsing Sessions

Click thumbnail to view full-size

1. Shopping for Presents with Unbiased Recommendations

Say you have an account with a major retailer, and you log in automatically each time you visit their site. They will have a section for their recommended products, based on your previous browsing history.

While this can be useful if you want to buy something for yourself, it can be confusing if you are buying a present (typical example: shopping for an engagement ring without anyone knowing). Using private browsing will present you with generalised recommendations.

Sometimes you may not even get any product recommendations at all – so if that's what you are looking for to get an unbiased shopping experience, then private browsing is definitely useful.

2. Booking a Flight

You may want to compare flight prices not only across different airlines, but also within the same airline. If, say, you have an existing account with an airline, it's worth comparing prices as a previous user and as a new user. While in theory loyal customers are rewarded with special offers, sometimes there are offers available only to new customers. Incognito browsing should highlight any differences in prices. For example, say your stored cookie preferences are for the airline to suggest the fastest route (direct flight); in private browsing, the airline suggests indirect flights that are cheaper than the direct flights.

Cookies will store information about how pressing it is for you to travel and how often you are checking prices. Using incognito browsing shows you as a fresh customer.

One disadvantage of using private browsing is that you won't be able to AutoFill most of the booking form with your stored credentials (cookies).

3. Working on Multiple Google Drive Accounts

If you work with different clients or different teams all requiring that you share documents on Google Drive, you can use incognito browsing to open a new window and log on with different credentials.

4. Separating Work and Personal Browsing

You could have all your tabs open for checking the news and your social media accounts in one window, and do all your work-related stuff in incognito or private mode as a completely separate window so that you don't get distracted.

5. Online Banking

When checking your bank balance away from home, using private browsing allows your browser to load the page without cookies so if someone logs on the same computer afterwards they won't be able to see your bank customer number or account number.

6. Shared Computers

If you forget to log out of facebook or Gmail, the next person using a shared computer will still see your messages even if you closed the browser.

7. Testing a Page without Showing Your Browsing History

If someone sends you a link to a website but you are not sure if it's legit, opening it in a new private browsing session will ensure your browsing data is not available. You still need to be careful for viruses and trojans so make sure your antivirus software is on.

8. Checking Your Google Ranking/Search Results Ranking

If you need to test how well your website or a specific web page is doing in search results, using incognito browsing will show unbiased results. In other words, it will display results as if you were on a completely different computer without previously stored results.

9. Saving Space

Browsing history uses up data, so browsing incognito saves disk space. If you do a lot of browsing, cookies can take up storage on your computer's hard drive. However, cookie text files are very small so they shouldn't be a problem.

10. Discover Related Searches

Unlike your normal browsing, private browsing allows you to discover related searches; so, for example, if you are searching for "healthy eating" you will also get related searches (a goldmine for keywords) like "healthy eating recipes" and "healthy eating plan".

11. Managing Social Media Accounts for Clients

If you are a social media consultant and you need to update your clients' social media accounts, it is time-consuming to log out of your own account and log on as your client. If you open a new private browsing session you can keep your own social media accounts open in your normal browser and your clients' social media accounts in your private browsing window. Please note, though, that if you need to log on to more than one twitter account in incognito browsing you will need to open a new window for each account. Opening a new tab in private browsing only duplicates your existing tab.

It's a good idea to use a completely different browser (for example, Chrome and Firefox) and start a brand new private browsing session.

Do you use private browsing? Have you found other uses of incognito browsing that are not listed in this article (of course, the elephant in the room is browsing for adult websites!)?


As it's often the case in our ever-changing world, I thought of another great use of private browsing.

Because your cookies will save your location, if you want to do a search, for example, on or (assuming you live in the UK like in my case), you get redirected back to your saved location (in my case, I get redirected to

This is a great feature if you want to check the international coverage for your business activity or your clients' brand if you manage their PR and communications.

How would you rate this article?

Cast your vote for this article on private browsing uses

Private Browsing

What do you use private browsing for?

See results

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)