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This article was published on October 3, 2013


Chrome for iOS is storing the Google searches you make in incognito mode [Updated]

Chrome for iOS is storing the Google searches you make in incognito mode [Updated]
Jon Russell
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Jon Russell

Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on T Jon Russell was Asia Editor for The Next Web from 2011 to 2014. Originally from the UK, he lives in Bangkok, Thailand. You can find him on Twitter, Angel List, LinkedIn.

Google Chrome for iOS is being affected by a strange bug that keeps Google searches made from the browser’s incognito mode on file.

Update: The issue is actually already known to Google, as explained at the bottom of this post.

Incognito mode usually keeps Web browsing history secret but search terms entered via Google.com are being retained, meaning that they show up as auto-prompts when searching from Google.com in regular mode. The glitch applies only to search terms made directly on Google.com, since items entered into the URL/search bar are not retained.

British company Parallax first highlighted this issue, which we were able to replicate as below:

incog

Since it is such a specific issue, it seems unlikely to affect many users — but it is a concern since incognito mode is supposed to provide a watertight, anonymous browsing experience.

We’ve contacted Google for further details.

Update: It turns out that Google has previously noted the issue within its support pages, where it says the problem comes with developing for iOS:

On Chrome for iOS, due to platform limitation regular and incognito* tabs share HTML5 local storage, which is typically used by sites to store files on your device (client-side caching) or to provide offline functionality. This means the same sites can always access their data in this storage in both regular and incognito* tabs. Incognito* tabs will still keep browsing history and cookies separate from regular tabs, which are cleared once those tabs are closed.

➤ Chrome for iOS’ incognito mode isn’t private, bug reveals [Verge]

Headline image via Roger Casas-Alatriste / Flickr

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