ANDROID users can now turn on a clever feature that protects some of your most private activity.
It’s a simple hack that takes seconds to activate – but could be very valuable.
The trick is linked to Incognito Mode, a Google Chrome browser setting that stops your web history being saved.
But if you’ve left an Incognito Mode tab open, anyone with access to your smartphone could see it.
So if you’ve been hunting for birthday gifts for your partner, they could be accidentally exposed.
Now Google has added a feature that lets you lock your Incognito Mode tabs, as first spotted by 9to5Google.
So someone trying to access your Incognito Mode would need to unlock it using something like a fingerprint scan.
Part of the problem with Incognito Mode is that you might want to leave a tab open in the app.
But this creates a cybersecurity risk because someone can see it if they have access to your phone.
The new locking trick can help avoid that sort of issue.
Of course, this isn’t a foolproof system.
All you’re getting here is the ability to block someone holding your phone from seeing your Incognito Mode tabs.
Even Incognito Mode itself can only do so much.
It simply prevents your online activity from being saved to your browser history.
But it’s still possible for the websites to see that you’re accessing them.
And your internet service provider can also see and log that you’ve visited a certain website.
For greater protection on that front, you’d want to consider using a VPN (virtual private network).
That’s an app that encrypts and re-routes your internet traffic to stop prying eyes – including an internet provider – from seeing exactly what you’re looking at.
So if you’re paranoid about government spying, or you want to use public WiFi at somewhere like an airport with more confidence, then a VPN can be a great privacy tool.
How to turn on Incognito Lock
Turning the new feature on is very simple.
First, make sure you’re using the latest versions of Android and Google Chrome.
Then go into Settings > Privacy and Security.
Now look for the setting “Lock Incognito Tabs When You Leave Chrome” and turn it on.
Once that’s done, your Incognito Tabs will lock when you leave the Google Chrome app.
If you can’t see the setting just yet, don’t panic.
It’s currently rolling out so it might not have appeared on your handset just yet.
You can force the feature to activate ahead of time by entering the following into Chrome: chrome://flags/#incognito-reauthentication-for-android
But that will only work if you’re using a very recent Android version.
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