How to enable extensions in Incognito windows

Almost every browser has a version of Chrome’s Incognito mode (also called private windows), which keeps your browsing history hidden from other users on your device. But what about your favorite extensions? Will they work on Incognito or private windows?

In this short article: how to enable and use extensions in Incognito mode, and why privacy-first browsers are a better solution.

Incognito and private browsing

First, it’s important to note that Incognito mode doesn’t add any additional protection from third-party trackers or Big Tech—Incognito mode does not improve privacy. All Incognito (or private) windows do is hide your page visits and search history in your local browser, on your device. So another person who also uses that same device wouldn’t see your browsing or search history. Basically, whatever security and privacy loopholes exist in regular windows in your browser are still present in Incognito or private windows.

Incognito mode is a good way to hide info on a shared device. For example, if you’re using a shared home computer to plan a surprise birthday party for someone else in your house, Incognito mode can hide your browsing history once you close the window.

One other note: Enabling an extension in Incognito or private mode doesn’t somehow change the extension itself, or make it any more secure. An extension that’s vulnerable to hacks will remain so whether you’re in a regular or Incognito / private window.

With that context, here’s how to use extensions in Incognito or private windows.

Allowing extensions in Incognito mode

Usually, extensions you’ve downloaded in your browser will need to be specifically enabled for Incognito (or private) windows. Below are instructions to do so for some major browsers.

Enable extensions in Google Chrome Incognito windows

Generally, Chrome extensions won’t work in Incognito mode. To enable them:

  1. Open Chrome, and click “⋮” at the top of any window or tab.
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Click Extensions.
  4. Find the extension you want to allow in Incognito windows.
  5. Click Details under that extension.
  6. Toggle on Allow in Incognito.

Enable extensions in Firefox private windows

Like Chrome, Firefox doesn’t automatically allow extensions in Incognito or Private windows. To enable them:

  1. Open Firefox, and click the “≡” menu bar at the top of any window or tab.
  2. Click Settings.
  3. Click Extensions & Themes.
  4. Under Manage Your Extensions, find the extension you want to allow in private windows. Click the “…” menu beside the extension’s name.
  5. Click Manage.
  6. Next to Run in Private Windows, select Allow.

Enable extensions in Microsoft Edge private windows

Like Firefox, Microsoft Edge calls Incognito mode “Private Browsing mode.” And like other browsers, by default Edge disables extensions in private windows. To enable them:

  1. Open Edge, and click the “…” menu bar at the top of any window or tab.
  2. Click Extensions.
  3. Under the Extensions heading in your toolbar, find the extension you want to allow in private windows. Click the “…” menu beside the extension’s name.
  4. Click Manage Extension.
  5. Check Allow in Private.

Enable extensions in Brave private windows

Like other browsers mentioned above, Brave automatically disables extensions in Private browsing mode. To enable them:

  1. Open the Brave browser, and click the “≡” menu bar at the top of any window or tab.
  2. Click Extensions.
  3. Click Manage Extensions.
  4. Find the extension you want to allow in Private windows.
  5. Click Details under that extension.
  6. Toggle on the Allow in Private setting.

Brave for real privacy

As discussed, you shouldn’t rely on Incognito mode for online privacy. These windows only hide your browser history from other people who use your device. With Big Tech browsers like Chrome and Edge, you can still be tracked regardless of what kind of window you open. To achieve real security, you’ll need to use a private-by-default browser like Brave.

Unlike most browsers, with Brave your online activity is always private. The Brave browser uses built-in ad and tracker blocking and a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to ensure your online activity remains hidden from advertisers, websites, Big Tech, and even your Internet Service Provider (ISP). This is the real protection most people seek when they use Incognito or private windows.

And since Brave is private by default, you won’t need to download specific privacy / security extensions, or enable them in Brave Private windows. With Brave, you’re already protected.

Get started with Brave!

Related articles

Ready to Brave the new internet?

Brave is built by a team of privacy focused, performance oriented pioneers of the web. Help us fix browsing together.

close
close

Almost there…

You’re just 60 seconds away from the best privacy online

If your download didn’t start automatically, .

  1. Download Brave

    Click “Save” in the window that pops up, and wait for the download to complete.

    Wait for the download to complete (you may need to click “Save” in a window that pops up).

  2. Run the installer

    Click the downloaded file at the bottom left of your screen, and follow the instructions to install Brave.

    Click the downloaded file at the top right of your screen, and follow the instructions to install Brave.

    Click the downloaded file, and follow the instructions to install Brave.

  3. Import settings

    During setup, import bookmarks, extensions, & passwords from your old browser.

Need help?

Get better privacy. Everywhere!

Download Brave mobile for privacy on the go.

Download QR code
Brave logo Click this file to install Brave
Click this file to install Brave Brave logo