How to Use Private Browsing in Safari

Private browsing, also known as incognito mode, lets you surf the web without storing your browsing or search history. Here's how to quickly turn private browsing on or off in Safari.

It's worth noting that private browsing won't disguise you from the sites you visit. They could still record your IP address and any information you enter into their sites, such as search terms. Additionally, private browsing won't protect you from web-based malware attacks, so you'll still need to be careful about what you click on whether you're in private or normal browsing mode.

Private browsing mode is helpful when you don't want other users to discover (accidentally or not) the sites you've been looking at. Apple iCloud syncs your browsing history between the Mac and the iPad and iPhone, so if you share devices, you can protect your privacy with private browsing mode. This also comes in handy if you're using a public computer and don't want to leave any AutoFill information behind.

Turn on Private Browsing on the Mac

In OS X, the quickest way to open a new private browsing window is with the keyboard shortcut.

1. Hold down Command+Shift+N. This will open a new window with private browsing enabled. Alternatively, go to File > New Private Window.

2. Search or browse the web as you normally would. The web pages you visit, your search history, and AutoFill information while you use the private browsing window won't be recorded.

3. Close the window when you're done with private browsing.

Note that private browsing is OS X applies only to the private browsing window you have opened. If you open a new window with Command+N or File > New Window, that window will save your search history and other private browsing information.

Turn on Private Browsing in iOS

Safari on the iPad has a private browsing mode as well.

1. Tap the Pages button, which is shaped as two squares in Safari's menu.

2. Tap Private.

3. Tap the Search field to search for a site to visit.

4. Tap Pages then Private again to turn off private browsing mode.