You Can Now Lock Incognito Tabs When Closing Chrome on Android

Google Chrome now lets you automatically lock your incognito session when you close the browser on your Android device.

Image of a woman shushing the camera

It’s always nice to see a tech feature arrive that takes the cringe out of interacting with our fellow humans. And this one does just that.

The feature means you can set your incognito session to lock automatically when exiting Chrome on Android, ensuring that prying eyes can’t see what you were looking at online.

How Do Chrome’s Locking Incognito Tabs Work?

Let’s assume you’re trying to find a gift for that special someone, and you want to browse privately and securely without getting tracked via incognito mode in Chrome. But what if that special someone needs to borrow your device? You don’t want to close the tabs to keep the gift a secret as that looks suspicious.

Thanks to this Chrome update rolling out to Android devices in January 2023, you can opt to have your incognito session automatically lock when closing the browser. This is one of several iOS features missing from Android since 2021, but it has now arrived. And about time too.

The incognito page in Chrome

The new update may change how you use incognito mode in Chrome on Android going forward.

In the past, you were almost forced to close incognito tabs anytime you got a whiff that someone needed to borrow your device. Which is a huge inconvenience when looking at private but important information.

Now, Chrome’s incognito mode acts more like your own personal vault, where you can browse privately without worrying about anyone finding your sensitive, open tabs.

How to Set Up Locking Incognito Tabs in Chrome on Android

As Google details on The Keyword, once you’ve opened Chrome on your phone, tap Settings then choose Privacy & Security. If the update has rolled out to your device, you will see the option to “turn on” a feature called “lock incognito tabs when you close Chrome.”

The setting option in Google Chrome
The settings page in Google Chrome

If you have updated Chrome and still don’t see this option, don’t worry. It just means that Google hasn’t rolled the feature out to you yet.

You must verify your credentials when you close Chrome and access your incognito session again. Sure, it’s an extra step, but it ensures that your private browsing habits are hidden from prying eyes and your secrets stay with you.

You also never have to close your incognito tabs again for fear that someone will see them when using your Android device.

How to Unlock Your Locked Incognito Tabs in Chrome

After activating this feature, you have three ways to unlock previously closed incognito sessions in Google Chrome on Android:

  1. Facial recognition
  2. Fingerprint scanner
  3. Passcode

Keep in mind that you do not need to activate a special passcode to unlock a previously closed incognito session. Instead, the passcode you use to unlock your phone and your usual biometrics will unlock the incognito session.

The face unlock page on Android
The fingerprint unlock page on Android

Not every Android device will receive this new feature. And some will get it sooner than others.

Keep Your Private Incognito Tabs Private

You shouldn’t have to worry about someone looking at your incognito tabs. With this update to Chrome on Android, now you won’t have to.

Acting like your own personal browsing vault, you can keep those all-important private tabs open without the risk of anyone getting a glimpse of them.

It’s a feature that all browsers should implement, and it could potentially transform how private browsing operates in Google Chrome and beyond.


🧪 |Medical Laboratory Scientist 🥇 | Mindset over Everything. 
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