what does incognito mode do
2019-08-19 | by Mary Smith

A Research reveals myths & misconceptions about what does incognito mode do

Incognito mode / private browsing mode is one of the most standard features on pretty much every single web browser available these days, but apparently a good chunk of people have completely wrong misconceptions about what this feature is for.


We're going to talk about what actually does incognito mode / private browsing do, what does it not do and some of these researches that have surprising results in terms of just how completely clueless a lot of people are really so hopefully you will not be one of those people at the end of this article.


First of all, what does incognito mode do?

Well, it's really simple, all it does is makes it so your browser at the end of a session where you start a private browsing mode, it will delete your browsing history, cookies and any temporary files that were in that mode doesn't prevent them from being downloaded in the first place.


It simply kind of isolates it and then when you close the browser it deletes this stuff it does not retroactively Lee delete any history or cookies or anything that you downloaded before only stuff that you would have gotten from that particular session.


But apparently a lot of people don't really understand this concept and there was a research done in recent years where around 500 people were taking a survey with a pretty detailed survey actually about what they think is a private browsing mode and some misconceptions and some of these results are pretty much shocking so here's some quotes directly from the research.


A surprising 56.3% of participants believed that even while a user was logged into a Google account that their search queries would not be saved while in private mode.


They thought that if they were in private mode and logged into a Google account, Google would not be tracking their search results.


I mean that is just staggeringly that's just beyond common sense, I mean, how can you even believe that. Private browsing mode just stops the browser to save any search history but the fact that you're logged into an account and you think that because you are in private browsing mode so that will stop google from keeping those search results that is just wrong.


We have some more statists that were pretty interesting so we have a stat that 22%, 37% and 22.6% respectively of participants mistakenly believed that ISPs (Internet Service Providers), employers and the government would be unable to track them when they used private mode which is obviously wrong and common myth about incognito mode.


Private mode literally only acts on your computer, it has nothing to do with the servers and the websites that you are accessing or anything like that, it's not gonna protect you from the ISPs, employers and the government.


ISP's, employers and the government can still track what you're doing, it's just the on that computer individually also 27.1% of participants believe private mode offers more protection against viruses and malware than the standard mode which is not true at all and misconception about incognito mode.


25.2% believed websites a user visited in private mode would be unable to see user’s IP addresses that is not true at all.


An incognito mode again has nothing to do with the connection between you and the website you're accessing it's literally just preventing browser history from being stored on your individual computer.


It is not going to protect your IP address and also 40.2% believe that private browsing mode prevented websites from getting your location.


The researchers select randomly 500 people and it’s really like a third of people really has no idea about private browsing.


There was another bigger research back in 2017 by DuckDuckGo which had like more than 6,000 people surveyed in America and they did have some questions


For example, there was one that was asking whether they believe private browsing prevents websites from tracking you?


I need to clear that depends because if a website is only used cookies to track you then YES private browsing is not gonna be able to track you beyond that session, but if a website is using your IP address to track then it can track you.


There were some other straightforward questions that were very illuminating for example, 32% of people had never heard of private browsing and 21% of people had never even used it and this is basically directly proportional to your age which makes sense


Older people were a lot less likely to know what private browsing was but still the fact that like a third of people had never even heard of the feature is very surprising another statistic which is really shocking is that 35.7% of people believe that private browsing prevents search engines from knowing my searches that is staggering and completely incorrect.


33% of people are completely wrong in what they think private browsing is they literally think it's the opposite of what it does and then about 25% believe that it prevents your IP address from being seen which is pretty much perfectly consistent with the other recent research so a lot people just do not understand private browsing mode.


They say private browsing is private in every way when literally it's just private on your individual computer that's it private browsing mode is only going to again protect against  locally stored temporary files browsing  history cookies that sort of thing and  again it only deletes it after that  session is closed so while you're doing the session you're still getting those cookies which means that if a website gives a cross-site tracking script or cookie or whatever to you that means if you get it on one website you keep in the incognito session then you can still  be tracked across websites and if a website or a cookie or an ad or whatever is also tracking you based on IP address they can still link to you outside that  private browsing session because your IP  address is not hidden so they can pretty  much still track you in every way.


Incognito mode literally in my opinion is only good for preventing your search results from showing up the next time someone uses your computer that's really all it's good for besides some other uses like I don't know preventing a website from using a cookie to track how many articles you read a lot of times news websites have a paywall maybe you get different pricing on websites based on your cookies but that's really all it's good for.


So you better believe that if you do a search in incognito mode Google is still gonna be storing that search result, it's still gonna be associated with your IP address and certainly the ISP the Internet service provider who you're sending all your Internet traffic through can still see every single thing that you're doing.


Private browsing mode is not private at all, I think incognito mode is a little bit better because it doesn't use the word private, but, I think a lot of people see the word private they think, oh no one can see what I'm doing we're just a completely wrong way to think about it.


It would basically be like saying oh my cell phone here and I'm gonna delete my recent call history of my cell phone therefore my cell phone company can't see who I called in the past month, it's just ridiculous and if any of this is shocking to you don't believe it you can do a test yourself.


You can go with something like on your standard browser and then go into incognito mode and it's gonna show the same IP address it's not protecting it in any way.


And as for malware again this is not going to protect you from malware, there's two real main ways that malware is gonna affect you from if you’re being on the Internet.


One is just being tricked into downloading the malware file or running it yourself and then you get infected.


Another way is a drive-by attack where there is an infected website that used an exploit that takes advantage of your browser and requires no user input.


And in both of those cases the temporary files are still being temporarily stored on your browser and  downloaded so it's not like you're protected from them for private browsing mode because this browser still has to access those files if it's an infected  file you're still getting that and  you're not being protected because obviously if it's an exploit on the  browser once you get infected it's not like private browsing mode it's gonna delete the infection afterwards nope  it's infected it's infected for good now


If you want to hide your location and IP address etc in simple words if you want to hide your identity you should use a VPN