Incognito mode, which also goes by Safe Browsing or Private Browsing names, has become a common method these days for less technical users to protect themselves from online spying. The basic idea is that the browser won’t keep a log of where users go and also block cookies that would let websites track users as well. As a lawsuit against Google indicates, that isn’t a foolproof system and different browser makers might interpret the restrictions differently. All privacy also goes out the window when unauthorized persons have physical access, which is why Google is bringing Face ID security to Chrome on iOS.
Incognito browsing modes only protect users from snooping by digital or online parties, not by physical ones. Unfortunately, not many people protect their phones with locks or, even if they do, use a timeout that gives unauthorized people the opportunity to actually take a peek at what you’re browsing. Even incognito mode can’t protect people in those scenarios, at least not with additional security features.
Earlier this year, there were hints that Google was looking exactly into bringing something like that to iOS users. It seems that Google is almost ready to roll it out to users and has added a Chrome experiment that will let users lock incognito tabs when they close Chrome.
To access those tabs, users will have to use Face ID, making this an iOS-specific security measure. It will most likely take on different forms on other platforms or Apple devices that don’t have Face ID support. At the moment, however, it doesn’t seem to be available anywhere other than Chrome for iOS anyway.
As a Chrome experiment, users will have to go through the rather arcane chrome://flags interface to enable it. Of course, they could just wait for Google to make it an official feature, presuming it even becomes official.