You may be familiar with “Incognito Mode” as a common feature in most web browsers these days, including Safari on a Mac desktop or laptop. Basically, incognito mode acts as a buffer of sorts. which allows you to visit various websites without Safari, Chrome, etc., to track and save your browser history.
It’s an option that has some situational benefits, like if you’re sharing your computer with someone else and you don’t want them to know what sites you’re using. For example, you may be shopping for gifts and don’t want to regularly clear your history cache.
But before you start setting up incognito mode, keep in mind that it doesn’t offer the same level of anonymity and protection as a VPN. It stops the browser and the Mac (or other devices you use) from saving your browsing history, yes, but it won’t stop websites from tracking your activity or seeing your location.
Safari settings in incognito mode
You have two options when it comes to incognito mode: use it once or make it the default. To configure it for a single browsing session:
- Open Safari and select File at the top of the screen.
- Choose New Private Window from the dropdown menu (the search field at the top of a private window is dark and the text is white).
- Use the browser window as usual, then close the window when you’re done with incognito mode.
- Once the private window is closed, you will need to open a new one to start using it again.
If you prefer your browser to remain in incognito mode all the time:
- Open Safari and select Safari at the top of the screen.
- Choose Settings, then select General.
- Select “Safari opens with.”
- Choose “A new private window”.
You can turn this setting off later if you change your mind, or choose File > New Window to open another window while the setting is on. A non-private tab will open while keeping the privacy settings. These steps also apply to most versions of macOS you may be using, from High Sierra to Ventura.