How to Open Chrome Incognito Mode by Default in Windows and Mac?
Incognito mode is used to avoid saving third party cookies, caches and helps in browsing internet securely. Some of you use Chrome’s incognito mode a lot rather than the standard mode. It is very easy to open incognito window whenever you need. But you might be wondering that how to make Google Chrome’s incognito mode as a default browser mode. This means whenever you open Chrome, it will automatically open in incognito mode instead of normal mode. Let’s see how we can do this.
Incognito Mode in Windows 10
1. Different Ways Open Incognito Mode in Windows 10
You can open incognito mode in many different ways:
- Press ‘Shift + Control + N’ to open ingonito window.
- Click on the three dots button called ‘ Customize and control Google Chrome’ and select ‘New Ingonito Window’ option.
- Open incognito mode pinned app from taskbar or start menu. First right click on the Google Chrome application and pin to taskbar/start menu. Right click on the icon and choose ‘New incognito window’ option.
2. Modify Target in Shortcut
You can simply modify the target path of Google Chrome shortcut and open Chrome in incognito mode by default.
2.1. Changing Target Path
Right click on the Google Chrome shortcut icon on your desktop and go to “Properties”. Alternatively, select Google Chrome icon and press “Alt + Enter” keys to open properties dialog.
On the “Target” box move the cursor to last position and press space. Then add –incognito and click “Apply” button. Below is how the original and modified target entries should look like. Remember, the target location may vary based on your installation path. So just add “ -incognito” at the end of the path.
Original: “C:\Program Files\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe”
Modified: “C:\Program Files\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe” –incognito
In some cases, Windows will ask you to confirm the modification by providing administrator credentials. Ensure you have logged in as an admin and click on “Continue” button to allow changes.
2.2. Creating Desktop Shortcut
If you don’t have Google Chrome shortcut icon on your desktop then you need to locate the executable file location. Type “chrome” in Windows or Cortana search box. Right click on the Google Chrome Desktop App and choose “Open file location”. It will open the installation path of Google Chrome on your computer.
Locate “chrome.exe” file, right click on it to send the shortcut to desktop.
Once you have desktop shortcut, follow the process as explained above section 2.1 to go to properties and change the target path.
2.3. Changing Icon for Incognito Mode
You can also change the icon Chrome shortcut to incognito mode. Click on “Change Icon…” button on the properties dialog. Choose the incognito icon from the list and click “OK” to apply.
2.4. Updating Taskbar and Start Menu Pinned Icons
After modifying the target path, double click on the Google Chrome desktop shortcut. It will always open Chrome by default with incognito mode. Remember, you should unpin the Chrome shortcuts from taskbar and start menu. Again pin the Chrome app to start menu and taskbar using the modified shortcut icon. This will help to replace Chrome shortcuts in all places and open incognito mode when you click those shortcuts.
3. Force Incognito Mode with Registry
Though the above method will open Chrome in incognito mode, you will have option to open normal window from the menu. There is another way to force incognito in Chrome and remove the option to open normal mode. You need to have an admin access and modify registry entry for this purpose. If you are not familiar with registry editor, first backup your registry entries before you modify.
3.1. Open Registry Editor
Press “Win + R” keys to open Run Command. Type regedit in command box and enter.
This will open Windows registry editor.
3.2. Locating Chrome Registry Entries
In registry editor, navigate to the path “Computer > HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SOFTWARE > Policies”. If you see all Chrome related entries under “Google” folder then go to section 3.4.
3.3. Creating Chrome Folder
In case, if you don’t see Chrome folder in registry editor then you can manually create it. Right click on “Policies” folder and choose “New > Key” option. Enter the name of the key as “Google”.
Now right click on “Google” folder and create another key and name it as “Chrome”. The final structure should look like “Policies > Google > Chrome” as shown below.
3.4. Creating New DWORD Entry
Select “Chrome” folder in the left sidebar and right click on the empty right pane. Choose “Key > New DWORD (32 bit) Value) option.
Windows will name the new DWORD value as “New Value #1”. Press F2 and modify the value as “IncognitoModeAvailability” as shown below.
3.5. Forcing Chrome in Incognito Mode
Right click on “IncognitoModeAvailability” and choose “Modify” option.
Assign the value data as 2 and click “OK” to save your changes.
3.6. Check Chrome
Close all open Chrome sessions and relaunch the browser. You will see the “New window” option is disabled in the menu. Now Chrome will only open in incognito mode and there are no possibilities to open a normal window.
3.7. Reverting Back
If you want to revert back the changes, simply navigate to registry editor and modify the “IncognitoModeAvailability” value as 0. This will again enable both new and new incognito window as this is the default value for Chrome.
4. Open Chrome Incognito Mode in Mac
On Mac, you can open incognito mode using one of the below methods:
- Go to “File > New Incognito Window”.
- Click three dots button and choose “New Incognito Window” option.
- Press “Command + Shift + N” shortcut keys in Finder.
- Open ‘Finder’ and go to ‘Applications’ folder. Drag and drop the ‘Google Chrome’ app to the dock. Henceforth, Chrome will always be there on your dock for quick access. Right click on Chrome app on the dock. Choose ‘New Incognito Window’ to open Chrome in private mode.
Applications use preferences file in Mac to control the behavior. So you can modify the parameter “IncognitoModeAvailability” in Chrome preferences file to open incognito mode by default.
5. Modifying Chrome Preferences File from Terminal
Press “Command + Spacebar” and launch Spotlight Search box. Type “terminal” and open “Terminal” application.
Type the below command in Terminal and press enter key.
defaults write com.google.chrome IncognitoModeAvailability -integer 2
Close all Chrome sessions and restart your Mac. Relaunch Chrome and check the menu. You will see that new window option is disabled and Chrome will only open in incognito mode. If you want to revert back the changes, then enter the below command in Terminal.
defaults write com.google.chrome IncognitoModeAvailability -integer 0
6. Modifying Chrome Preferences File from Finder
If you are not able to use Terminal to modify the preference file then you can manually edit it. However, the plist or preferences file is a binary file which you can’t open using default TextEdit.
6.1. Install Xcode or TextWrangler
There are many text editor apps you can use for editing plist files in Mac. Sometimes, you may already have Xcode as it is an Apple developer app. However the size of the app is 6+ GB, so if you don’t have it then install TextWranger for this purpose.
Launch App Store and search for TextWrangler app. Click on “Get” button and install the app.
6.2. Modify Chrome Plist File
Launch Finder and press “Command + Shift + G” keys to open Go to box. Type ~/Library/Preferences/ and click on “Go” button.
It will open “Preferences” folder containing all plist files for applications. Locate the Chrome plist file with the name “com.google.Chrome.plist”. If you see the plist file then go to step 6.4.
6.3. Creating a New Chrome Plist File
In case, if you don’t see Chrome plist file then you need to create one.
- Right click on any of the available plist files and choose “Duplicate” option to copy the file.
- Now change the copied file name as “com.google.Chrome.plist”.
- Double click or right click and choose “Open with > TextWranger”. If you use Xcode or any other editor then choose that app.
- Paste the below content and save the file.
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
6.4. Editing Plist File to Force Incognito Mode
Right click on the Chrome plist file and select “Open with > TextWrangler”. Add the below content above closing dict and plist tags.
Ensure to use the integer value as 2 and close all tags properly. Refer the above sample file to avoid mistake. Save the changes and close the TextWrangler app.
6.5 Checking Chrome
Close all Chrome sessions and restart your Mac. Open Chrome and check that the new window option is disabled now.
7. Create an App with Apple Script Editor
This is a tricky method to create a custom script app using Script Editor. Press ‘Command + Spacebar’ and open spotlight search box. Type in ‘script editor’ and open Apple’s ScriptEditor application. Enter the below script:
do shell script open -a /Applications/Google\\ Chrome.app --args --incognito
It should be like the picture shown below:
Press ‘Command + S’ to save the script. When saving, ensure to choose the file format as ‘Application’ and save the script as an application.
Now close all your Chrome browsers and open the script application. It will open Chrome incognito mode by default. You can change the icon of the app and add in the dock to use like a Chrome. But remember this app will only work when the Chrome is launched. If Chrome is already open and running then this script app will not work.
8. Using Chrome and Chrome Canary Versions
Windows has option to modify the shortcut which allows to open Chrome in private mode but still keep the normal mode option. You can also disable incognito mode in Chrome completely. However, on Mac, forcing incognito and having normal mode in Chrome is not possible. The option here is to have two Chrome installations. You can install Chrome and Chrome Canary versions on a same computer. Follow the above instructions to force private mode for one version. You can use normal Chrome version only with normal mode and canary only with incognito mode or vice versa.