If you’re like most people, you use incognito browsing mode when you want to keep your browsing history private. But did you know that incognito mode isn’t really private?
By using incognito mode in your web browser, you may think that your activities are completely anonymous and untraceable. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and other third-party entities can still track your online activity, even when you’re browsing in incognito mode. Not only that: if you share your device with others, even they can find out what you visited in incognito mode.
So how do you view and delete your incognito history and protect your privacy?
How do you save your browsing history in incognito mode?
When you browse the Internet in incognito mode, the browser does not save your web queries or the websites you visit. Your browsing history, cookies, or other site data is not saved in Incognito mode. However, just using incognito mode does not guarantee private browsing. Your browser is not the only place where your data is stored.
Your ISP collects and stores data about your online activities, including the websites you visit, yes, even when you use incognito mode.
Additionally, some websites may track the IP address of the device used to access their site. This means that even if your history is not saved in your browser, it may still be stored by other services and websites.
Other than that, even if you use private browsing, your device records your browsing session in its Domain Name System (DNS) cache. That’s how:
- Every time you visit a new website, you type its domain name into your browser.
- Your browser sends a request for that domain’s IP address in the background to the DNS server.
- It then stores this web address locally on your device, so you can access it more quickly the next time you want to visit the same site. This temporary DNS record is known as the DNS cache.
- The DNS cache includes the record of recently visited domain names, along with their IP addresses. This includes domains visited in both normal mode and incognito mode.
- Since this DNS cache is stored on the device, anyone using your computer can see the websites you visited using a few command line commands.
Clearly, incognito mode is not as secure and private as it seems. To ensure your privacy, it is important to delete your DNS cache and any other traces of your browsing session.
How to view incognito mode history on PC
On your Windows PC, you can easily view your browsing history in incognito mode by checking the DNS cache.
Here is how to do that:
- Press Windows+R to start Run Command Window.
- Type “cmd” in the Run dialog box and press Ctrl + Shift + Enter to start the command prompt with administrative privileges.
- In the command prompt window, type “ipconfig /displaydns” and press Get into.
- A list of recently accessed websites with their IP addresses will appear. This includes websites visited both in incognito mode and in normal browsing mode.
How to view incognito history on Android and iOS
On Android and iOS devices, there is no official way to view your browsing history in Incognito. However, you can use third-party apps to access your incognito history. In general, parental control apps like FamilyTime, KidsGuard, Hoverwatch and others allow you to view the incognito history of the devices.
While using these apps, you can see your incognito history but you can’t delete it. Other than that, it is not possible to view previous incognito logs. If you install a proper app now, you will only be able to keep track of upcoming incognito sessions.
How to delete incognito history on a pc
When you’re done with your private browsing session, it’s important to remove any traces of your incognito history from the DNS cache.
Here’s how to do it on a Windows PC:
- Press Windows+R to start Run Command Window.
- Type “cmd” in the Run dialog box and press Control + Shift + Enter to open the command prompt with administrative rights.
- In the command prompt window, type “ipconfig /flushdns” and press the Get into key.
This will clear your DNS cache and erase all traces of your recent browsing session.
How to delete incognito history on Android
The steps to delete incognito history on Android device are quite simple. All you need to do is use the Chrome browser and follow these steps to clear the DNS cache:
- On your Android device, launch the Chrome browser.
- In the address bar, type “chrome://net-internals/#dns” and press Get into.
- Tap on the Clear host cache button to clear the DNS cache of the device.
- Close Chrome.
How to delete incognito history on mac
On Mac devices, you can easily clear your DNS cache and delete your incognito browsing history using the Terminal command.
Here is how to do that:
- On your Mac device, launch Applications and select utilities.
- In Utilities, look for the Terminal and double click on it to launch it.
- In the Terminal window, type the command “sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder” and press the Enter key. You will be prompted to enter your password to continue.
- This will clear your DNS cache and erase all traces of your incognito browsing session.
How to Clear Incognito History on iPhone
If you’re using an iPhone, it’s easy to clear your DNS cache, thus removing your incognito mode history. Just turn airplane mode on and off. Here is how to do that:
- On your iPhone, swipe down from the top right corner of the screen to expand Control Center.
- Tap on the Airplane mode icon to activate it.
- Wait a few seconds and then turn it off again.
This will remove all accumulated DNS cache from your device and clear your incognito mode browsing history.
How to browse the Internet privately in incognito mode
If you really want to browse the web in private mode, here’s what to do besides using incognito mode.
- Install a reliable VPN– A Virtual Private Network (VPN) encrypts your Internet traffic and hides your IP address, protecting you against online surveillance. Install a reliable VPN app on your devices and turn it on when browsing privately.
- Use a secure web browser: Use a secure browser like Tor Browser to maximize your privacy online. This will help you to browse the web privately and securely.
- Clear your browsing data regularly: Clear your browsing data periodically from your devices. This will help you clean all the traces of your sessions.
- Clear your DNS cache– Clear your DNS cache regularly to remove the record of all your recent website visits, even when incognito mode is on.
protect your privacy
You should take appropriate steps to minimize how much third parties know about you. Incognito mode is a great way to browse the web privately and securely, but using it does not guarantee complete anonymity on the web. You have to follow other practices to truly protect your privacy. Use a reliable VPN, install a secure web browser, clear your browsing data regularly, and clear your DNS cache to stay private online.