Can you imagine your life without the Internet? The Internet is an indispensable part of modern life. It has revolutionized how people communicate, access information, conduct business, shop, and more.
It could be said that you share so much of your life online that it can be scary. After all, the Internet is a complex and large system. And like any other such system, it isn’t without its share of risks.
One of the primary concerns among modern Internet users is privacy. News about incessant online tracking and data breaches has led to an increased awareness of the risks associated with regular browsing. Hence, users are prompted to turn to private browsing, known as incognito mode.
But is private browsing really keeping your data safe? How is it different from regular browsing? Let’s answer those questions. Continue reading.
What is Private Browsing?
Private browsing is a feature offered by popular web browsers. It aims to offer users a privacy-focused browsing experience.
When browsing in this mode, the browser creates temporary sessions that separate the browsing activity from regular browsing cookies, history, and site data.
Simply put, browsing in private mode means websites won’t be able to track your activity, and the information you enter will not be stored in the history of the browser.
How to Enable Private Browsing in Different Browsers?
Safari is the default browser on Mac computers, and you can enable incognito or private browsing mode by opening Safari > clicking on New Private Window.
Safari’s private browsing mode is also available for iPhone users. On your iOS device, open Safari > hold the Tabs button > tap New Private Tab in the pop-up menu.
- Google Chrome
Google Chrome is a popular web browser, and you can browse in incognito mode by opening Chrome > clicking the three vertical dots > choosing New Incognito Window.
Similarly, you can enjoy private browsing in Microsoft Edge, Firefox, and Opera.
What are the Advantages of Private Browsing?
- Tracking is prevented: Third-party trackers and websites are prevented from monitoring your browsing activities when you are browsing privately.
- Privacy is safeguarded in shared devices: If you are sharing your device with someone and don’t want them to see your browser history, browse in incognito mode. In this mode, the browsing history is not stored.
- Data collection is limited: The amount of data collected by websites is limited in private browsing. This reduces the possibility of annoying ads.
Are There Limitations to Private Browsing?
Despite its benefits, there are some limitations to private browsing. It isn’t a foolproof solution and doesn’t offer complete anonymity online.
Even when browsing in incognito mode, your IP address is visible. Hence, your ISP or websites can easily identify your location.
Moreover, websites can implement other tracking methods like browser fingerprinting to identify you. Finally, private browsing doesn’t guarantee protection when you are using it at work or in school, and the network owner may collect your data.
If you want to enjoy complete anonymity when browsing the Internet, use a VPN Service.
What is Regular Browsing?
It is non-private browsing and the default mode for web browsers. Regular browsing means the browser will store the browsing history, site data, and cookies. It will allow websites to access your data so they can send you personalized ads and recommendations.
What are the Advantages of Regular Browsing?
- You will receive personalized content based on your browsing preferences and history.
- Saved information can be easily accessed because your passwords and form data will be saved by the browser.
- The logins are streamlined, as you don’t have to enter the credentials each time you have asked the browser to remember your account.
What are the Limitations of Regular Browsing?
Regular browsing carries privacy concerns because third-party trackers and websites can easily collect your data. There’s also potential for privacy leaks as the cached data and cookies can be accessed by others.
Private Vs. Regular Browsing: Summing Up
|Third-party trackers and websites are allowed to collect data
|Tracking is reduced
|Vulnerable to data collection and tracking
|Safeguards against data collection and tracking
|Offers personalized content after analyzing browsing behavior, history and preferences
|Does not offer personalized content
|Convenient due to saved cookies, history and website data
|Doesn’t save data; hence, inconvenient when users have to visit the same website frequently
|Autofill login features
|Manual logins each time
In summation, regular and private browsing have their set of limitations and advantages. The choice typically depends on individual privacy preferences and needs. If you want to minimize tracking, opt for private browsing mode. If you value personalized content and don’t want to manually log in each time you visit a website, opt for regular browsing. Better yet, strike a balance between the two to have a safe and enjoyable browsing experience.