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How to enable private browsing on any popular device

How to enable private browsing on any popular device

A straightforward guide to protect your privacy on the main platforms.

iOS

To enable Private Browsing in Apple's Safari app for iOS devices, simply open the app, select the tab icon on the bottom right of the screen and tap the Private option that pops up on the bottom left. You'll know you're in private browsing mode when the app's top and bottom toolbars go black instead of white or grey.

Safari's private browsing mode removes temporary files when you close the window. Browsing history, form data, and cookies are all wiped by default.

MacOS: (iMac, Macbook)

Private Browsing in Safari Browser on iPad OS

Entering private browsing mode on Safari for Mac desktop devices is very similar to doing so on the iOS app. Simply go to File > New Private Window. A window that's using Private Browsing has a dark Smart Search field with white text.

Mozilla FireFox

Mozilla Firefox isn't the default browser for most Android, iOS or Windows devices but it's sometimes pre-installed and if not, is still available to download for all the aforementioned operating systems. The user will usually have to download the app themselves via their operating system's respective app store if they want to use it. It can also be made the default browser for most devices if they so wish.

Mozilla's private browsing feature in FireFox is simply called Private Browsing mode' and offers the same privacy tools as Chrome and Edge. However, FireFox offers an additional tool that others browsers don't to make browsing even safer, and that's called Tracking Protection. This is said to prevent companies from tracking your browsing history across multiple sites so they can't record your browsing habits.

To open a Private Window, tap or click the menu button, which is presented as three horizontal bars in the top right corner of the window, and then select New Private Window. Once in Private Browsing mode, the browser window will display a purple mask at the top.

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Any device or any browser

While the above browsers are installed on their respective operating systems as default, it's worth noting that most of the browser apps are available to download across the different devices. For example, you can download the Chrome browser on iPhone and Windows devices despite it being made by Google and the default browser on Android devices.

Not entirely private

When activating private browsing sessions, it's important to bear in mind that browsing and download data can never be totally private, even though you may make great efforts to protect your data by enabling private browsing mode on different browsers and across all your devices. You may be able to prevent advertisers from tacking your online movements, as well as your Internet Service Provider (ISP), although it's impossible to completely mask your digital presence. This is because whenever your data will be stored in some place anytime you register for an account on a service, make an online purchase or register for a newsletter.

Should this data that is stored online fall into the hands of cyber criminals, if the service you've signed up to is hacked for example, this data can subsequently be distributed across the internet and even sold to other bad actors for a variety of purposes. These may include accessing further personal details or even hijacking your identity. Sadly only a total internet blackout can prevent you from being entirely hidden and safe from your data leaking into the hands of others - malicious or not. But this is much easier said than done, and will require you to disable your Wi-Fi and mobile data on your smartphone, computer, tablet and any other device that might be fitted with networking components.

office 365Also see: Top tips to secure Office 365

Besides cyber attacks, your information can still be distributed online between services, even if it's against your consent. The introduction of GDPR has been designed to stamp this practice out, and has in large part improved the situation, but illicit data-sharing still happens. Installing routers, firewalls and proxy servers may help to keep your browsing activity under wraps, as these tools are a step above the privacy that private browsing offers. Containing your digital footprint, of course, is becoming increasingly difficult as time passes, given the growth in the number of household devices that can connect to the internet.

VPN (Virtual Private Networks) can also help to protect your privacy by masking your real location and connection details, we would always recommend a paid service such as ExpressVPN rather than free ones as they are more stable and more secure.

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