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Have you ever wondered if your incognito history gets saved? While browsing incognito prevents your browsing history from being stored on your device, traces of your online activity can still hang around after your session ends. Learn how to check your incognito history and delete it. Then, install a specialized secure browser to get truly private browsing.
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But does incognito mode leave any traces behind, and can you ever find a record of your incognito activity after your browsing session ends? While it can be tricky to view your incognito history again, it’s not impossible — keep reading to learn how to check your incognito history.
Whether you want to see your incognito history to find that special gift you searched for the other night, or ensure your incognito history is completely deleted, we’ll share a couple methods you can try.
To view your incognito browsing history, you can use tools like the DNS cache or third-party software to recover your private browsing data. While there’s no straightforward way to see the sites you visited incognito — like viewing your history in your browser — the DNS cache is a good place to start.
Here’s how to check your incognito history:
If you’re using a Windows device, you can see your incognito history in your DNS cache, even after your browsing session ends.
The Domain Name System (DNS) matches a website’s URL, or web address, with its IP address. When you type a URL into your web browser, a DNS server finds the IP address of that website so you can actually visit it.
This information is recorded in the DNS cache — even when you’re surfing incognito. The DNS cache helps speed up your browsing by ensuring your browser doesn’t have to check the DNS server every time to revisit a site.
If you need to recover or clear your incognito history — or delete your browsing history entirely — you can do it via the DNS cache on a Windows device.
Here’s how to check your browsing history via the DNS cache:
Type cmd in the Start menu search bar to open Command Prompt. Then click Run as administrator.
Enter the command ipconfig/displaydns and hit Enter. You’ll see your detailed DNS cache history.
Checking incognito history via DNS cache works only on Windows devices. Other operating systems like macOS or mobile devices may not offer such an easy way to see incognito history in the DNS cache.
If you just want to view your phone’s incognito browsing history — without deleting the data — use an app to check incognito history on your smartphone.
Parental control apps help parents keep tabs on their children’s screen time, but they can also help you see incognito browsing history on your Android phone or iPhone.
These browser history reports list all the websites you visited or searched — even in incognito mode — along with detailed information about the date, time, and number of times you visited. Some apps even collect keystroke records while you’re privately browsing.
Here are some of the most popular parental control apps to view your incognito search history:
Remember, incognito mode only prevents your browsing history from being visible to other people who use your device. Incognito history and data are automatically deleted from your browser — so you don’t need to clear your browser history manually. But, incognito history data is still stored on your device. Let’s learn how to delete incognito history completely.
To delete incognito history completely, you need to check for incognito history data in your DNS cache, then remove any leftover data. Flushing the DNS cache differs slightly depending on your device and operating system. Here’s how to delete incognito history on the most common devices.
Here’s how to flush the DNS cache and clear incognito history on Windows:
Click the Windows Start menu and type cmd to open Command Prompt. Select Run as administrator.
Type the command ipconfig/flushdns and hit Enter to delete the DNS cache, which contains all the saved incognito history on your device.
Mac users need to use Terminal, the native command-line tool, to clear the DNS cache and delete incognito history. Here’s how:
Click Go > Utilities to open Terminal.
Type the command sudo dscacheutil -flushcache;sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder into Terminal’s command-line window.
Enter your computer password to flush the DNS cache.
Note: That command works for all MacOS versions — from OS X Lion through macOS Big Sur. But if you’re on OS X 10.10.1, 10.10.2, or 10.10.3, enter the following command instead:
sudo discoveryutil udnsflushcaches;sudo discoveryutil mdnsflushcaches.
Your DNS cache is now cleared and you’ve deleted your incognito browsing history. We also recommend clearing your browser caches on your Mac as an extra step.
Here’s how to delete incognito search history on an Android phone using Chrome:
Open Google Chrome and enter chrome://net-internals/#dns into the address bar.
Select DNS from the left panel, then tap Clear host cache to clear the DNS data and delete your incognito history.
It’s also easy to delete incognito history on iPhone — here’s how:
Swipe up from the bottom of the screen to open your iPhone’s Control Center.
Tap the airplane icon to enable Airplane Mode. This temporarily disables Wi-Fi, bluetooth, and your phone’s signal — and automatically clears your DNS cache.
Tap the Airplane Mode icon again to turn it off and use your phone normally. Repeat the steps every time you want to delete your incognito history on your iPhone.
Now you know how to check your incognito history, clear your DNS cache, and even how to delete your incognito history on mobile and desktop devices. For comprehensive privacy online, use a dedicated secure and private browser.
Yes, incognito mode does leave a data trail. It doesn’t hide your browsing activity from your ISP, employer, or other websites. They can see your browsing history, location, and any personal data you may be sharing along the way. Incognito mode hides your activity only from other people who share your device.
Traces of your incognito activity may remain behind on your computer in your DNS records, which even a powerful browser cleaning tool may not be able to flush. Luckily, there are ways to delete your incognito history via DNS cache.
Your incognito history can still be seen by your ISP, and the websites you visit can still track you. Incognito mode does not mean you’re browsing anonymously. Personal information like your device's IP address and what you’re doing on a website (especially while logged in) is visible to others around the web who might be tracking you online.
Your favorite websites, your ISP, your employer — not to mention data brokers and hackers coveting your personal data — can all still track you. If you’re using Chrome while logged into your Google Account, some of your private browsing activity may still be logged in My Activity, depending on your settings.
If you’re browsing privately, downloaded files and bookmarks will still be saved in your system. And while incognito mode deletes browser cookies, login information, and other website data from your device at the end of your private session, your website visits can still be tracked and recorded while you’re online.
If you’re looking to stop family members or roommates from viewing your browsing history when they use your device, browsing privately in incognito mode is a good solution. To learn more, check out our guides for the most common browsers:
If you want to stop your employer, ISP, or anyone else from seeing what you’re up to on the web, you’ll need to take additional steps to protect your privacy. For true anonymous browsing, use a VPN along with incognito mode to hide your IP address and encrypt all your web traffic.
Avast SecureLine VPN hides your online activity, doesn’t log regular or incognito history or app usage, and secures your browsing data against DNS leaks. It encrypts your connection with the click of a button, obscuring your online activity and identity from anyone trying to snoop.
While incognito mode can go a long way toward hiding your browsing behavior from other people who use your device, it won’t do much against the snoops, spies, and companies who may be tracking you online. Almost every browser offers an incognito mode, but for truly private browsing, you need to use a browser committed to protecting your privacy.
Our dedicated team of privacy experts created a browser that combines encryption, private browsing, and a suite of other advanced security features to keep your online life private.
Avast Secure Browser includes a wide range of privacy and security features.
Avast Secure Browser goes beyond incognito mode to deliver powerful privacy features like a built-in VPN, forced encryption, and a host of other tools to stop web tracking. Disguise your browser fingerprint, block ads, and protect yourself against other online threats that incognito mode can’t cover alone.
Download Avast Secure Browser today to hide your browsing behavior and add an extra layer of online protection so you can do what you want — privately and securely.