What Private Browsing Can And Can’t Do

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These days you’re more aware of how much data you’re giving companies, simply when you browse online. That’s obviously not ideal, so you’ll use private browsing on your browser of choice. This is called private browsing mode on Firefox, Opera and Safari, while it’s called ‘Incognito’ on Chrome and ‘InPrivate’ on Edge.

Many people have now made private internet surfing their go method when they’re browsing the Internet, but they’re not as secure as they may think. There are several things that private internet browsing can do and not do, so here’s what you need to know.

How Private Browsing Works?

Never used private internet browsing before? Then here’s what to know before you give it a try.

When you use your browser of choice normally, it’s going to store data about you and your browsing habits. This includes cookies, data you’ve filled out in forms, user names and passwords, and so on. Typically these are used to make browsing easier, as you won’t need to fill out forms again and it’s easier to find the info you want.

There are several reasons why you may not want this to happen, though. The most common reason people use private browsing mode is that they’re concerned about their privacy. As such, they decide to use the private browsing mode on their browser.

When you use private internet browsing, you’ll see that you’re given a ‘clean slate’ every time you use it. No cookies are stored, form data isn’t stored, and so on. Once you close the browser, the ‘slate’ is wiped clean again and no data will be stored. The only exception is that any sites your favorite or bookmark during that session will be saved the next time you open the browser.

What Private Browsing Can Do?

So, private internet browsing does look good for those looking to protect your privacy. There are several reasons why you’ll want to look into it, including:

Easy to use on someone else’s device:

If you’re borrowing someone else’s device, you don’t want to accidentally log them out of any sites. Hit ‘private browsing’, and you can log into any sites through that browser, without affecting their data.

Good for shared devices:

There are always going to be times when you’re using a shared device but don’t want others to see your browsing history, such as when you’re buying a gift. Private browsing mode allows you to hide that history 

Protect your recommendations:

You know that once you watch something or view something online, it will affect your future recommendations. You can use private internet surfing to ensure your recommendations aren’t affected by what you’re viewing right now.

What Private Browsing Can’t Do?

These are lots of benefits to private browsing, but there are some things it just can’t do. Here’s what you need to be aware of:

Won’t make you anonymous:

“It feels like you’re anonymous when you’re using private internet browsing, but you’re not” says Darren Beale, a tech blogger from Academic Brits. “Your school, employer etc. can see what you’re viewing. To stay anonymous, you’ll need a Virtual Private Network.”

It’s not as secure as you’d think:

While using private internet surfing to shop online, it’s not going to make buying goods any more secure. You’ll also see that it can’t stop you downloading viruses or malware by accident.

Will still collect data during the session:

It’s true that once you close that browser, the slate will be wiped clean. However, the longer you leave the page open, pages will still be able to collect data on you, and cookies will be saved. It’s a good idea to shut the page frequently to remove this data as you use the browser.

Is Private Browsing Really Private?

Many will use private browsing because they feel that they’re more secure when they use it. As you’ve seen above though, you’re not anonymous and you’re not getting any extra security when you use it. That doesn’t mean that you can’t be private when you’re online. Virtual Private Networks have become popular in recent years, as they offer the privacy that many want.

The term ‘private browser’ is somewhat of a misnomer as it’s not really private. There are some benefits to using it though, so now you can use it while being fully informed.

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