Google Chrome may introduce a new iOS feature — unlocking Incognito tabs via Face ID

Google Chrome
(Image credit: Google)

Google is testing a cool new security feature that will benefit privacy-conscious iOS users. The Chrome beta app is allowing users to unlock Incognito tabs via Face ID and Touch ID, according to screenshots obtained by 9to5Google.

If beta testing goes well, iPhone and iPad owners will be able to keep their internet-browsing sessions concealed from prying eyes with simple, easy-to-use biometric authentication.

Unlock Incognito tabs with Face ID and Touch ID

Google's proposed Incognito-unlock feature will blur selected tabs — keeping them concealed from nosey passers-by — until the primary user chooses to unlock a page via Face ID or Touch ID. Once the Google Chrome app confirms that the user is the authorized owner of the iOS device, the Incognito tab will unblur, making it accessible to the confirmed user.

In order to turn on the feature, users of the Chrome Beta app must navigate to Settings > Privacy > Lock Incognito Tabs. It's worth noting, though, that the feature isn't available to everyone running the beta variant of the iOS Chrome app.

Google's flirtation with biometrics for its platforms isn't new. For example, in the main Google Search app, users can unlock search results using Face ID, but this is only triggered after the session is abandoned for 15 minutes. For Google Drive users, there's a Privacy Screen feature that demands face or fingerprint confirmation every time the app is opened. Now, the search-engine giant is testing it on Incognito tabs.

As Gizmodo pointed out, iOS users haven't seen a stable release of the Chrome app since November due to several delays and setbacks, but a public roll-out of Chrome 89 is expected to hit all devices sometime next month.

Kimberly Gedeon

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!