How to Turn on Private Browsing

By LaDonna Hadley

Learn how to browse the Internet without your computer keeping a history of the sites you have visited.

Turn on private browsing to prevent your computer from saving a history of the pages you've visited on the Internet. Private browsing won't prevent your Internet provider or administrators on a company server from accessing your history.

Chrome

Private browsing in Chrome is called Incognito. To open an Incognito window in Chrome, click Settings. From the drop-down menu, click New Incognito Window.

Chrome

Firefox

To open a Private window in Firefox, click Settings. From the drop-down menu, select New Private Window.

Firefox

Firefox

Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer calls private browsing InPrivate. To open an InPrivate window in Internet Explorer, click Settings. From the drop-down menu, select Safety and then InPrivate Browsing.

Internet Explorer

Internet Explorer

Tip

To verify that a new window is private, look for the privacy icon at the top of the browser window.

Warning

Private browsing is not a permanent setting. Closing the window turns private browsing off.

Safari

To browse privately in Safari, click Settings. From the drop-down menu, select Private Browsing. Unlike the other browsers, the current window changes rather than opening a new window.

Safari

In the pop-up window, click OK.

Safari

The search bar and the settings menu show that private browsing is on. Like the other browsers, the privacy setting must be turned on with each window opened.

Safari

Tip

Unlike the other browsers, private browsing can be turned off in Safari without closing the window. Open the Settings menu and click Private Browsing again to turn it off.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Alternately, turn on private browsing using the following keyboard shortcuts without accessing the settings menu.

  • Chrome: Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + N
  • Firefox: Ctrl/Cmd + Shift + P
  • Internet Explorer: Ctrl + Shift + P
  • Safari: No shortcut as of June 2015.