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Google’s expanding Chrome’s Incognito lockdown on mobile and Safety Check

Google’s expanding Chrome’s Incognito lockdown on mobile and Safety Check


It’s now easier to protect your private tabs.

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Google logo with colorful shapes
Keep your Incognito tabs away from prying eyes.
Illustration: The Verge

Google is rolling out access to a feature that lets you lock your Chrome Incognito sessions behind biometric authentication, making it so someone using your phone won’t be able to open your browser and see what you were looking at privately, according to a Thursday blog post. The feature has been available in the iOS version of Chrome for a while now, but now it’s becoming more widely available on Android (read: won’t require activating via a flag).

The Lock Incognito tabs when you close Chrome feature does what its name suggests — you can open Incognito tabs normally, but if you switch to another app, you’ll have to unlock Chrome when you return to get at the hidden tabs. You can do that via your phone’s unlock pin or through biometrics like your fingerprint or face. However, someone can still see your regular tabs without an unlock.

Screenshot of the unlock incognito screen, with a “see other tabs” button.
Anyone trying to snoop on your tabs will be thwarted.

To enable the feature, tap the three-dot menu in the top right corner, then go to Settings > privacy and security. There, you can toggle the “Lock Incognito tabs when you leave Chrome” option.

Screenshot of Google’s Safety check with a notification saying “Review 4 sites that recently sent a lot of notifications.”
Safety Check will prompt you to review potentially spammy sites.
Image: Google

Google also says that it’s expanding its Safety Check feature, which can do things like scan your saved passwords and let you know if any of them have been compromised and weed out malicious extensions. Google says it’s making Safety Check more proactive by rolling out “more personalized recommendations and reminders” to notify you about what kind of permissions sites have.