6 mins read

How to make private browsing mode the default in multiple browsers

Most modern web browsers offer a private browsing mode. This creates a temporary browsing session where your history is automatically deleted when you exit the browser. This can help protect your privacy, especially if you share a laptop with multiple people.

To activate private browsing mode, you will usually need to first start the browser in normal mode and then activate this feature. Here’s how to set all major browsers to start in private browsing mode by default. By the end of this article, you will have made Incognito, InPrivate, and Private browsing the default for Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome, and Safari.

Make private browsing mode the default in Firefox

You can set Firefox to start in private browsing mode by default:

1. In the top right corner of Firefox, select the three-line menu button.

2. Select “Preferences”.

3. From the left menu, select “Privacy and security”.

4. Scroll to the “History” section.

5. Open the “Firefox will…” drop-down menu and select “Use custom settings for history.”

6. Select “Always use private browsing mode”.

7. When prompted, restart Firefox.

Mozilla Firefox will start in private browsing mode by default and you can be sure that your history will be deleted as soon as you exit the web browser.

Start Safari in private browsing mode

You can set Safari to launch in private browsing mode by default. However, it is important to note that this setting only works when you launch Safari for the first time. If you open additional Safari windows, they will not be private.

1. In the Safari window, select “Safari -> Preferences…”

2. In the next window, select the “General” tab.

3. Open the “Safari opens with” drop-down menu and choose “A new private window.”

4. Restart Safari.

Every time you launch Safari, you should see a “Private Browsing Enabled” banner at the top of your web browser.

Go incognito with Google Chrome

Google Chrome has an incognito mode that works just like private browsing. Unlike the other major web browsers, it is not possible to make private browsing the default using Chrome’s built-in settings. This means we have to be creative!

If you are a macOS user, you can start Google Chrome in incognito mode by creating an Apple script:

1. Go to “Applications -> Utilities”.

2. Launch the Script Editor application.

3. Copy and paste the following into the Script Editor window:

if application “Google Chrome” is running then tell application “Google Chrome” to make new window with properties {mode:”incognito”} else do shell script “open -a /Applications/Google\\ Chrome.app –args — incognito” end if tell application “Google Chrome” to activate

4. Select “Script -> Compile”.

5. Select “File -> Save”.

6. Specify where this shortcut should be created and give it a title.

7. Open the “Format” drop-down menu and select “Application”.

You can now launch Google Chrome in incognito mode at any time by double-clicking your Apple Script app. Please note that if Google Chrome is already open, this application will have no impact.

Alternatively, if you added the Google Chrome icon to your Mac’s Dock, you can start incognito mode by right-clicking or control-clicking the Chrome icon, then selecting “New Incognito Mode.”

If you are a Windows user:

1. Find the shortcut you use to launch Google Chrome. This shortcut can reside on your taskbar, the Start menu, or on your desktop.

2. Right click on the Chrome icon and select “Properties”.

3. In the “Target” box, add a space to the end of the current command. You can then copy/paste -incognito.

4. Click “OK.”

Google Chrome will start in incognito mode when you launch it from this shortcut.

Make InPrivate the default for Microsoft Edge

Microsoft’s version of private browsing is “InPrivate.” While you use InPrivate, Edge doesn’t remember your browsing history and prevents Bing searches from being associated with your Microsoft account.

You can configure Edge to start in InPrivate mode by adding a command-line option to your Edge shortcut.

1. Find the Edge shortcut where you want to add this command line option. This shortcut can reside on your taskbar, the Start menu, your desktop, or all of the above.

2. Right-click the Microsoft Edge icon, then select “Properties.”

3. In the “Properties” window, select the “Shortcut” tab.

4. Find the “Target” field. This contains the path to the Edge app that launches every time you click this shortcut.

5. Inside the “Target” field, place the cursor at the end of this path. Press the space bar, then type -inprivate.

6. Click “OK.”

The next time you launch Microsoft Edge from this shortcut, the browser will start InPrivate mode. If you launch Edge from multiple shortcuts, you’ll need to repeat these steps for each shortcut.


Apart from using private browsing mode in these browsers, if you are really concerned about your privacy, you should also use NextDNS for more secure and private browsing.

Do you have more tips to protect your browsing history? Let us know in the comments below!

How to change the default search engine in multiple browsers

Enable private browsing mode in Chrome and Opera

YouTube: Enable/Disable Private Browsing Mode

Why you should use two browsers for your daily browsing

The best private browsers for mobile phones and tablets

How to install Tor for Chrome for even more private browsing

How to enable private browsing in Firefox

Enable private browsing in IE 11 and Microsoft Edge

How to set a custom home page in multiple browsers

How to enable DNS over HTTPS in multiple browsers