A Step-by-Step Guide to Enabling Extensions in Incognito Mode

By Jayden Andrews. April 10, 2020

Online privacy is a hot topic these days, and more and more users are demanding higher levels of privacy whenever they connect to the internet. For this purpose, major web browsers have incorporated a private mode that does not save the user’s browsing history, login details, and other private information. If you’re using Google Chrome, you should be familiar with the Incognito mode, which has been around since December 2008.

The way this feature works is simple: this mode allows the Google Chrome user to browse the internet anonymously. In theory, Google Chrome’s Incognito mode will not save your search queries, browsing history, passwords and usernames, and other data related to your browsing activities.

According to Chrome, the browser won’t save the following information when in the Incognito mode:

  • your browsing history
  • cookies and site data
  • information entered in forms

When you open the browser in Incognito mode, it should be like you’re opening your browser for the first time. No saved webpages, no logins, and no extensions.

Yes, the add-ons that you installed on Google Chrome won’t work when you are using the Incognito mode. Chrome extensions are small applications that are installed on the browser for extra functions. By default, these extensions won’t run in Incognito mode because most of these extensions require access to your personal data, which this feature is supposedly trying to avoid. However, if you really need to use your extensions even when using this mode, it is possible to enable them by tweaking some settings.

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How to Enable Extensions in Incognito Mode

When you open the Google Chrome browser in Incognito mode, you’ll be greeted by a black version of the browser. The bookmarks are still there, but you won’t see the Favorites section and the extensions you installed on your browser.

But what if you want to use your adblocker extension to get rid of ads on the websites that you visit? Or maybe you want to take a picture of the webpage using a screenshot tool? If you really need to use your extensions in Incognito mode, enabling them is very easy. All you need is a few clicks to enable extensions in Incognito mode. Keep in mind, however, that not all extensions will work in this mode.

To be able to use your extensions in Incognito mode, follow the steps below:

1. Install the extension you want to use. Once done, you should be able to see its icon beside the address bar.

2. Click on the Chrome menu button (the three-vertical dot menu) located at the left-most of the address bar.

3. Scroll down and click on More Tools > Extensions.

4. This would open the extensions page: chrome://extensions/. Here you will see the list of add-ons currently installed on the Google Chrome browser.

5. Locate the extension you want to use in Incognito mode, then click on the Details button.

6. Scroll down to the Allow in incognito section.

7. To turn on this option, click the slider beside Allow in incognito until it becomes blue.

8. Do this for all the extensions you want to use in Incognito mode.

Keep in mind that turning on your extensions in Incognito mode will give them access to the information you’re trying to protect in the first place. Your extensions can record your browsing history, login information, and other details. If you want to disable a particular extension in Incognito mode, just navigate to the same page and unselect the Allow in incognito option.

Is Incognito Mode Really Private?

If you’re using the Incognito mode because you believe that it will protect your online privacy, then you better think again. Even if you’re using Google Chrome’s private mode, your internet service provider, your network administrator, and the websites that you visit are still able to monitor your online activities. So if you think that you’re completely untraceable and anonymous just because you’re using the Incognito mode, then you are greatly mistaken.

If you want proof, then try this. Open your Google Chrome in Incognito and type something in the address bar. If you see the Google Search recommendations, then your browser is lying to you about not saving your browsing history. When you type something in the address bar, you will see web pages related to your query that you previously visited.

And when you go to a website where you have an account, such as Gmail or Facebook, you’ll find that the login details that are saved on your browser will still auto-populate the fields in Incognito mode. This means that Google Chrome cannot be relied on to protect your personal data.

If you’re looking for a higher level of privacy, you can use a VPN browser instead, such as the Tor Browser. This browser bounces your internet connection through various proxy servers to protect your identity and data. It also deletes your browser cookies and all your data once you close the browser.

Another option is to use a virtual private network or a VPN. This piece of software encrypts your internet connection and tunnels it to the server, masking your real IP address along the way. There are a lot of VPN service providers on the market today, and not all of them are reliable, so you need to choose carefully before signing up for one. You can read VPN reviews and comparison sites, such as VPN Watch, to get an idea of how the top VPN providers perform.

The lesson here is that you should not take what these browsers tell you at face value. Never assume that they are actually doing what they should.

Bottom Line

Web browsers, such as Google Chrome, have become an integral part of our digital lives. We use them to browse websites, do our research, fill up forms, and a lot more. Web browsers have access to all of our personal data, so it’s no wonder that they are able to collect so much information from the users. If you’re concerned about your personal privacy, one of your options is to use the browser’s Incognito mode. If you want to use certain extensions when using this private mode, you can follow the instructions listed above to enable them. However, if you’re not comfortable about these extensions collecting your data, you should keep them disabled in incognito, just to be safe.

However, the Incognito mode does not give users enough protection when browsing. If you want complete, full protection for your online privacy, you can use a VPN instead. Not only will your traffic be encrypted, making it impossible for ISPs, websites, network administrators, and spies to monitor your internet activities, but it will also hide your IP address and ensure your anonymity.

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