Tech Term Tuesday, Issue 3

Term: Private Browsing

What is Private Browsing?

Private browsing is the ability to navigate to any website without having any information about that website being saved. This is specifically cookies, address URL history and downloaded temporary website content.

Are there any examples?

An ideal situation where private browsing may be warranted is when one wishes to browse the Internet on a shared or public computer at an Internet Cafe. Because of the high traffic levels at such establishments it is not uncommon for one to feel uncomfortable browsing the Internet due to privacy and security concerns. Private browsing can readily be utilized which would assist in creating a more safer browsing environment.

How do I use Private  Browsing?

The latest web browser versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari and Chrome all have built-in private browsing options. Opera browser’s latest version, 10.10 has no private browsing support. Below find instructions to use private browsing mode on these web browsers:

Internet Explorer

One can start private browsing by going to the Safety menu. Also, by opening a new tab, there is an link to enable private browsing


To enable private browsing, click on the Tools menu and select Start Private Browsing. The first time you turn on Private Browsing, Firefox will alert you that it will save your current windows and tabs for after you finish using Private Browsing. Click on Start Private Browsing to continue.


To enable private browsing mode, click on the file menu and select New Incognito Window or simply use the shortcut Ctrl+Shift+N.


Select Private Browsing from the Safari menu to enable private browsing. Once selected, a dialog box appears explaining this mode and prompts you to press OK or Cancel.


Until Opera 10.5 is released, one can download OperaTor, a browser extension which will enable private browsing.

Any interesting facts?

  • Private browsing is sometimes termed “porn mode”.