How to Lock Active Incognito Tabs on Android Chrome for More Privacy

Woman whose facial features are followed.

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Incognito mode is a great way to use the Chrome browser on Android without leaving breadcrumbs for sites and services to track you. I use it regularly, and it rarely lets me down.

However, one thing that has always bothered me about incognito mode is that if I leave an incognito tab open, anyone who has access to my phone can view it. That always seemed like a privacy disaster waiting in the wings.

Also: 5 Quick Tips for Better Android Phone Security

If you’re serious about your privacy and want to take Chrome’s incognito mode to the next level, I’ve got just the trick for you.

What we’re going to do is enable a feature that requires user authentication before active incognito tabs can be viewed.

That is beautiful. Let’s make it happen.


For this to work, you need an updated Android phone with Chrome version 105 or newer. That’s all you need, let’s do it.

How To Lock Android Chrome Active Incognito Tabs For More Privacy

This is a bit tricky because we need to set a Chrome flag. To do this, open Chrome on your Android device and type or copy and paste the following URL into the address bar:


At the top of the resulting page, you will see a drop-down list marked Default. Tap that dropdown and select Enabled.

The Chrome Flags Window in Android.

Find the correct flag to enable the feature.

Image: Jack Wallen

Then you should see a Restart button at the bottom of the page. Tap that and Chrome will close and restart.

The Chrome Relaunch button on Android.

Restart Chrome on Android from the flags page.

Image: Jack Wallen

Tap the three-dot menu button, then tap settings. Tap Privacy & Security. You should now see a new entry labeled Lock Incognito Tabs when you exit Chrome. Tap the ON/OFF slider until it is in the ON position. You will then be asked for your fingerprint, facial recognition or PIN. After you’ve successfully verified, you can start using Chrome so that when you leave Incognito tabs open, you’ll need to authenticate before you can view them.

Lock the ON/OFF switch in Incognito mode.

The last step to enable the feature.

Image: Jack Wallen

One thing to remember, though, is that this won’t work if you actually close Chrome (because your incognito tabs will be closed automatically). This only works if you’re running Chrome in memory (such as when you open a new app or go to the home screen).

Also: The 5 Best Browsers for Privacy: Safe Web Browsing

Please, you just added an extra layer of privacy to Android so that when you leave Chrome open, all incognito tabs are locked behind user authentication.