How to Turn Off Incognito Mode on an iPhone in 2024

Incognito mode, also known as private browsing, is a feature on iPhones and other devices that allows users to browse the internet without saving their browsing history, cookies, site data, and other traces of activity. This can be useful for looking up sensitive topics or shopping for gifts without leaving a record. However, some users may want to turn incognito mode off for various reasons.

In this 2024 guide, we’ll provide a comprehensive overview of incognito mode on iPhones and walk through the steps to turn it off completely.

What is Incognito Mode on an iPhone?

Incognito mode on an iPhone prevents the Safari browser from saving your browsing history, cookies, cached files, and other data from websites you visit. When you close the incognito tabs or windows, all traces of your activity are deleted. This gives you more privacy when browsing, but also means you lose access to conveniences like auto-fill forms and saved passwords.

Some key things to know about incognito mode on iPhones:

  • Introduced in iOS 5 in 2011
  • Available in the Safari mobile browser -Does not save browsing history, cookies, caches, searches, site data
  • Websites can still identify your device
  • Internet service provider can still see sites visited
  • Downloaded files remain on device
  • Tab remains open when switching to another app

Incognito mode is handy for looking up directions to a surprise party, researching an embarrassing medical issue, shopping for gifts, or other privacy-sensitive activities. However, it does not make you completely anonymous online.

How to Turn Off Incognito Mode on an iPhone

There are a couple ways to turn off incognito mode on your iPhone depending on if you want to close just one tab or window, or disable the feature entirely.

Close an Incognito Tab

If you just want to close out a specific incognito tab you have open:

  1. Open the Safari app if it’s not already open.
  2. Locate the incognito tab. Incognito tabs are indicated by the Incognito icon in the top left (a dark circle with a white lowercase “i”).
  3. Tap and hold the incognito tab thumbnail. A pop-up menu will appear.
  4. Tap “Close Tab” in the menu. This will close only that specific tab while keeping incognito mode enabled.

Close All Incognito Windows

If you want to simultaneously close all open incognito windows:

  1. Open the Safari app if it’s not already open.
  2. Tap the Tabs button in the bottom toolbar (two overlapping squares).
  3. Tap “Close All Incognito Tabs” at the top of the tab view. This will close all incognito mode tabs and windows at once, while keeping regular Safari tabs open.

Turn Off Incognito Entirely

To completely disable incognito mode on your iPhone:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Tap “Safari”.
  3. Under “General”, toggle the switch next to “Private Browsing” off.

This will turn off the ability to open new incognito tabs or windows until you re-enable it. Existing incognito tabs will close when you leave Safari.

Disabling private browsing means Safari will once again save your browsing history, cookies, caches and other data.

Why Turn Off Incognito Mode on an iPhone?

There are a few reasons why you may want to turn off incognito mode completely on your iPhone:

  • You no longer need the extra privacy and want to retain browsing data for convenience or personalization.
  • You share your iPhone and don’t want others accessing sensitive sites in secret.
  • You want browsing activity on your phone to match other signed-in devices.
  • You are having technical issues caused by incognito mode.
  • You want to monitor your child’s browsing and incognito allows them to hide it.
  • You believe the reduced functionality outweighs the privacy benefits for your personal usage.
  • You don’t fully understand what incognito does and prefer to keep it off until needed.

For many users, the enhanced privacy and ability to browse freely is valuable. But others may find the downsides like lost history, passwords and convenience outweigh the benefits.

Pros and Cons of Disabling Incognito Mode

Before deciding, consider the key pros and cons of turning off incognito mode:


  • Browsing history is retained for convenience
  • Auto-fill forms and passwords work
  • Syncs browsing across devices
  • Websites can customize experience via cookies
  • May resolve some technical issues
  • Allows oversight of other users’ activity


  • Reduced privacy
  • Embarrassing browsing history could be exposed
  • No hiding gift shopping or party planning
  • Websites have more user data
  • ISPs have browsing records
  • Prevents secret browsing by others

Evaluate your own priorities, use cases and risk factors before making a decision. Incognito has both benefits and drawbacks to weigh.

How to Turn Off Incognito Mode in Chrome on iPhone

Here are the steps to turn off incognito mode in the Chrome browser on an iPhone:

  1. Open the Chrome app.
  2. Tap the three dots in the bottom right to open the menu.
  3. Tap ‘Settings’.
  4. Tap ‘Privacy’.
  5. Toggle the switch next to ‘Incognito Mode’ to the off position.

When incognito mode is turned off in Chrome, pages you view will not open in incognito tabs or windows. Your browsing history, cookies, site data and cached files will be saved and synced to your Google Account.

Some key things to know:

  • Turning incognito mode off does not clear your current private browsing history or open incognito tabs. Those will be cleared when you quit the Chrome app.
  • You can still manually clear your browsing data even with incognito turned off.
  • Other devices signed into your Google Account may now sync their Chrome history with your iPhone.
  • Google may use your browsing history to customize ads and services if incognito is off.
  • Re-enable incognito anytime by toggling the setting back on.
  • Incognito is available in Chrome for iPhone, iPad, Android and desktop browsers.

So in summary, just open Chrome’s settings, go to Privacy, and turn off the Incognito Mode switch to disable private browsing on your iPhone. This will save browsing data and sync it across devices rather than deleting it at the end of each session.

How do i Turn Off Incognito Mode on my Phone

Here are the general steps to turn off incognito mode on most phones:

  1. Open your phone’s settings app.
  2. Find the settings for your mobile browser app (Chrome, Safari, Firefox etc).
  3. Navigate to privacy, security or advanced settings.
  4. Look for an option labeled something like “Incognito mode”, “Private browsing” or “InPrivate browsing”.
  5. Toggle the setting off. This disables incognito/private mode.

The specific steps vary slightly by device and browser, but the general process is similar. Here are some device-specific instructions:

iPhone (Safari):

  • Settings > Safari > Toggle off “Private Browsing”

Android (Chrome):

  • Chrome menu > Settings > Privacy > Toggle off “Incognito mode”

Samsung Galaxy:

  • Settings > Browser app > Privacy and security > Toggle off “Secret mode”

Google Pixel:

  • Settings > Privacy > Toggle off “Open tabs incognito”

Once disabled, your browser will go back to saving history, cookies and site data instead of wiping them when you close incognito tabs and windows.

Keep in mind this doesn’t delete your current incognito data, that gets cleared when you close those tabs/windows. Disabling the mode just stops new ones from being opened going forward.

You can always re-enable incognito mode in your browser’s settings later if you want access to private browsing again. But turning it off will save your full browsing history and activity.

How to Re-Enable Incognito Mode If You Change Your Mind

Don’t worry if you disable incognito mode but later decide you want the option back. Re-enabling private browsing only takes a few taps:

  1. Open Settings and tap Safari.
  2. Under General, toggle the switch next to “Private Browsing” on.

Incognito mode will be turned back on and you’ll again see the option to open new private tabs and windows in Safari.

Just be aware that already-open standard tabs will now remain in your history rather than disappearing. Use steps in the first section of this guide to close specific non-private tabs if needed.

Tips for Using Incognito Mode Selectively

If you find both modes useful in different contexts, consider these tips for getting the best of both worlds:

  • Use incognito sparingly for only sensitive tasks
  • Close all incognito tabs/windows when done
  • Disable incognito for shared devices or kids’ phones
  • Clear history manually after standard private sessions
  • Use a privacy-focused browser only for private browsing

Finding the right balance for your needs provides convenience without fully compromising on privacy.

Other Private Browsing Tools for iPhones

The Safari incognito mode isn’t the only option for private browsing on an iPhone. Here are a few alternatives if you still want that functionality:

  • Firefox Focus – Firefox browser dedicated to private browsing.
  • DuckDuckGo – Search engine app with built-in browsing.
  • Onion Browser – Lets you privately browse the Tor network.
  • Silent Browser – App focused on stealth and privacy.
  • Brave – Desktop browser with built-in private browsing.

Each has a different approach, so research to see if any fit your specific needs. Most are free to try out.

Incognito Mode on Other Apple Devices

Incognito/private browsing works similarly on other Apple devices as well:

Mac – Enable via File > New Private Window in Safari.

iPad – Tap tabs button > New Private Tab in Safari.

Apple TV – Go to Settings > Accounts > Safari > Private Browsing.

iPod Touch – Same instructions as iPhone above.

Methods are a little different but fundamentally provide the same hidden browsing experience across Apple products.

Frequently Asked Questions About Incognito Mode

Here are answers to some common questions about disabling and using incognito/private browsing mode on iPhones and other devices.

Is using incognito mode suspicious?

Not necessarily – it has plenty of legitimate privacy uses. But if you disable it because of distrust in a relationship, that points to a deeper issue.

Can browsing history be recovered if I was in incognito?

No, that’s the point of the mode – it does not record history while enabled. But Internet service providers may still have access.

Will turning off incognito delete my current history?

No, disabling the feature will simply begin recording new browsing normally again. Existing history will remain intact.

What happens if I leave an incognito tab open when disabling the mode?

The incognito tab will close when you leave the Safari app. You need to fully close tabs and windows before disabling private mode.

Can employers or parents tell if incognito/private mode was used?

Not through browsing history. But there are sometimes still indicators like cached files or device firewall logs.

The Bottom Line

Incognito or private browsing is a useful privacy tool on iPhones, but it also carries some functionality downsides. There are legitimate reasons to turn it off completely or use it selectively only for sensitive browsing sessions. Just dive into Settings > Safari > Private Browsing and toggle the switch off.

Keep your personal needs and priorities in mind as you evaluate the pros and cons of incognito mode on your iPhone. With the proper precautions, you can find the right balance of privacy, convenience and oversight.

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