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What’s private or incognito mode?

What does it mean to browse in private or incognito mode, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of using a private or incognito browser? To learn more about how you can keep yourself safe while on the Internet, visit: internet-safety.khanacademy.org. Created by Sal Khan.

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Video transcript

- So Kelly, one thing that I see on a lot of browsers, they might have like a private mode, or an incognito mode. What do those things generally do, and how private, or incognito are they, and what should we still think about, even if we are using those modes? - So, generally, a private mode, or incognito mode means that what is happening in that browsing session on your computer stays there. So, sometimes when you browse the web, you get things like cookies that remember who you are, remember different things that have happened, so for instance, a site that you've visited it before, maybe that you've logged in before. So what those windows do is they say that once you close that window, everything is forgotten on your computer. But what they don't mean, is that no one can know what happened, because they don't protect against other software running on your computer. If you're at work, your work administrator might still have access to what's happening on your computer or even the Wi-fi network might have some sort of record of what traffic's going through it. - So to clean out a lot of the things that might be saved on your computer, when you're normally browsing. And what are the disadvantages of using that mode? - The disadvantages are, some of the things that cookies do are conveniences for you. So for instance, if you remember your login on a website, that makes it much easier for you to log in next time. Or maybe, you want to have your video service, remember what videos you like, so that it can give you better suggestions next time. So, the internet, there are a lot of advantages to some of the things like cookies. It's just a question of, in that particular moment, is that something that's useful to you? Or is that something that you wanna avoid, by using a private or incognito browsing? - Super useful. Thanks so much, Kelly.