Does incognito hide your IP?

Many popular browsers offer a variation of Incognito windows (also sometimes called “Private” windows). But are these really more private than regular browser windows? Do they hide IP address or other identifying information?

In this short article, we’ll discuss incognito windows, IP address, and more.

What’s an IP address?

Any device that connects to the internet—desktop computer or laptop, mobile phone or tablet—uses the Internet Protocol (IP) to communicate online. To connect to the Internet, each device needs a unique address (sort of like a home address). This IP address is generally visible to the apps and services you use online, but can also be useful to advertisers, Big Tech, and others to identify you online. If you want online privacy, hiding your IP address is a good place to start.

What’s “Incognito mode,” and does it hide my IP address?

Browsing in Incognito (or “private”) mode simply means that any pages you visit in that window are erased (or forgotten) when the window is closed. For example, if you share a home computer with your partner, and you’re shopping online for a birthday present for them, doing so in an incognito window would be a good way to ensure the present stays a surprise. Basically, Incognito mode hides your browsing activity from other users on your device.

But Incognito mode doesn’t hide your info from websites, advertisers, your internet service provider (ISP), or Big Tech companies. Even in incognito, Google and others can still track you. Incognito does not hide your IP address.

How does Big Tech use my IP address to track me?

Your IP address is one among many personal data points online advertisers and other Big Tech can collect; it helps them identify who you are and what you do online. Trackers can identify your device IP address, which allows Big Tech to build a profile of your online habits. Google and other advertisers can then deploy targeted ads based on this profile.

Note that third-party cookies do not persist across incognito sessions.

Are there alternatives to incognito? How can I hide my IP address?

Chrome isn’t a private browser, and Incognito isn’t a privacy hack. And while you could install an ad or tracker blocking extension from the Chrome Web Store, it won’t be native (built-in). Browser native solutions are still much more reliable and secure. And no, Incognito mode does not hide your IP address.

By contrast, Brave is a truly private browser that blocks all third-party ads & trackers by default, and upgrades your Internet security to HTTPS whenever possible. With Brave, your browsing behavior is hidden from Big Tech: you stay anonymous regardless of whether you’re in a “regular” or incognito (private) window. Brave also gives two options to hide your IP address while browsing: Private windows with Tor, and our built-in Firewall + VPN.

Get started with Brave!

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