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You can now block Chrome incognito tabs on Android. Take it to PC!

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Seriously about Chrome’s incognito mode, the ability to open a private tab for sensitive browsing is incredibly useful. You can run searches you want to avoid affecting your recommendations or appearing in your search history, which applies just as much to tax information and medical queries as it does anything more glittery.

And now on all phones and tablets, you can protect your Incognito tabs from prying eyes by locking them down. A quick change to Chrome settings on iOS and Android requires biometric or PIN authentication to view your private tabs every time you log out of the app and then come back. It’s an extra layer of protection for when you forget to close a tab when you’re done, easy to do if you’re constantly switching between apps. For example, you don’t need to worry about your banking information going unattended.

Trying to show up for yourself is easy. If it’s been rolled out to your Android device (or you’re just now trying it out on your iPhone or iPad), tap the three-dot menu in Chrome, then Privacy and security. Activate Block Incognito tabs when you close Chrome. Now, when you log out of Chrome and then come back, you’ll need to pass an authentication check before you can see and interact with those private tabs again.

origin 1Flipping the switch is all you have to do to enable this feature. (Shown here in iOS.)

RockedBuzz via PC World

For people who use Incognito tabs more on mobile devices than dedicated apps, this feature is a very welcome addition and I hope to see it coming to desktop computers later. I leave my incognito windows open on my PC for long periods much more often than on a phone or tablet. I have yet to encounter a browser window full of tabs that I didn’t like to keep around. And sometimes I’m reading something I don’t want the housemates to know about; other times, I have private correspondence I’m working on that I really don’t want to be seen.

I can always lock down my PC, but sometimes I forget to flick my fingers before rushing off to deal with an overflowing pot or a puking cat. The best alternative is setting up dynamic locking in Windows, but it only works if you get far enough away from your computer to activate the auto-lock. Sadly it doesn’t stop someone even in your kitchen from wandering near your screen and teasing you about your recent discovery of r/illegally smolcats. Ask me how I know.