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Is there a way to disable Incognito Mode in Chrome without rooting? My phone is running Android Lollipop.

marked as duplicate by Izzy Dec 4 '18 at 23:08

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    Is there a good reason why would you want to disable Incognito mode? – Firelord Sep 30 '15 at 14:46
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    @Firelord: Maybe the asker wants to install a web-filtering app such as Qustodio or Norton Family. Incognito mode tends to interfere with the proper operation of such apps. (The workaround is to upgrade to a device which can run Android 6.0 "Marshmallow" or CyanogenMod 13 or higher. Then Qustodio will work even when the user has enabled Chrome's incognito mode.) – tealhill Sep 26 '16 at 2:35
  • Dear Cassie: On Android 5.x "Lollipop" and below, what you want may be impossible. Instead, install some monitoring software which lets you find out what your kids do in incognito mode. (Not all monitoring software has this capability.) Then tell your kids that you've done so. – tealhill Sep 26 '16 at 2:36
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Disclaimer

This answer is pointless. Once you've read the end of my answer, you will see why.

My answer

I personally have tried Qustodio's "Block Incognito Browsing" feature. (I was using a phone running Android 4.1.2 and a recent version of Google Chrome.)

It didn't work at all.

Incognito browsing still worked perfectly, and was not blocked or even hindered whatsoever. Even after an hour or more, Qustodio had no idea that I was using Chrome's incognito mode.

In a help center article, Qustodio LLC does admit:

Please note that our incognito blocking feature is still experimental.

If you want to prevent incognito browsing, I see a few options:

  1. You could lock down the device completely (though this is almost impossible to do correctly) and then to make sure that the only browser which the user can access is a browser which is incapable of incognito browsing.

  2. Or you could use Norton Family's incognito detection. If Norton Family alerts you that incognito has been used, perhaps you could confiscate the device from its user for a day or two. (Norton Family claims to be able to email you after someone uses incognito mode on the device. But I've never tested it, and I don't know whether or not it would work reliably. You should test the feature on a few separate occasions before relying upon it.)

  3. You could try Qustodio. Even though their (experimental) incognito-blocking feature didn't work for me, maybe it will work for you.

  4. If you are willing to root your phone, this may provide you with a new, additional option for disabling incognito mode. Remember that you can unroot your phone afterwards.

Why this answer is pointless

Yet all this is pointless. The user can use the browser's "Clear History" tool, or Android's application manager, to clear the browsing history — anytime he wants to.

Why would anyone want to disable incognito mode?

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You could try Incoquito - it's free and allows you to either automatically close all incognito tabs when the screen turns off or to disable incognito browsing altogether by preventing incognito tabs from being opened at all.

Disclosure: I am the developer of Incoquito.

EDIT: There is now also a paid version of Incoquito available for a minimal amount. It includes a monitoring mode as well as logging of events/activities related to incognito browsing in Chrome as well as the ability to hide the app from the launcher. It also includes the following experimental features (as requested by several parents):

  • Log videos played within the YouTube app
  • Uninstall detection & prevention
  • Android settings guard
  • Block access to YouTube app
  • Dear parents: Incoquito alone isn't sufficient. It may be easy for your kids to get around it, even if they're not tech-savvy. You must also install a filter. ❧ The free version of Qustodio is probably the best free option; the free version of Norton Family might be the second-best free filter. If you're willing to pay, I've read that NetSpark or GenTech are better than the free products. ❧ You may also want to collect up your spouse's and kids' new and old Android devices, and to lock them all in your bedroom every night. – tealhill Jun 5 '17 at 18:45
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Qustodio provides a way to disable to block Incognito browsing. You need:

  1. Qustodio Account
  2. Qustodio App for Android
  3. Open App > Configure this Device > Device Settings > Block Incognito Browsing
  4. Patience, wait for some time for it to work and block incognito mode.

Source: How do I block Incognito mode browsing on Android with Qustodio?

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    How does this app work? Have you used this personally? Please share a screenshot which shows that either the Incognito mode can't be accessed for some reason or is simply unavailable in Chrome, after configuring the app. – Firelord Sep 30 '15 at 15:53
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    I have not used it personally. Here's the source qustodio.com/en/help/article/1796566 – Sharath Kumar Sep 30 '15 at 15:54
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    "Once this feature is enabled Qustodio will automatically detect within a short time when user is engaging in Incognito browsing and block the web-browser completely until the administrator of the Qustodio account enters the Qustodio password to unblock the device....No. Blocking of Incognito browsing is not immediate. It takes a short time for Qustodio to analyze browsing activity to detect that Incognito mode is being used." I see. Thanks for the article though. – Firelord Sep 30 '15 at 15:57
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    @Firelord: On my phone, I can freely use incognito mode for an hour or more. Even after an hour or more, Qustodio neither detects my incognito browsing nor takes any corrective actions. I suppose I could have contacted their support team and sent in a bug report, but instead I have rooted my phone and disabled incognito mode using another technique. – tealhill Jan 7 '16 at 1:52
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I have just released a new app which blocks incognito tabs from Chrome, Incognito Away. It has password protect features, and is geared towards parents wanting to protect their children.

The Chrome tabs are blocked instantly, as soon as some tries to open it. You can also have a pop-up message appear when some does try and open an incognito tab. For example, you could write out a warning to a child.

Additionally, there is an inbuilt feature to hide the app’s icon from the launcher, so that it’s harder for someone to even find that the app is installed.

To prevent people from being able to uninstall the app, I would recommend that you download an “App Lock” type app from the Play Store (such as this one). This will make it so that if someone tries to open your Device Settings to uninstall the app, a password will be required.

Note: I am the developer of Incognito Away. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch :)

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Google Family Link

If you set Google Family Link to protect an Android device, it will automatically disable Google Chrome's incognito mode on that device. (Google says so in this article. I myself have tried Family Link and verified that the article is correct.)

Family Link can also do Web filtering, screen-time monitoring, and device-location tracking. But these features are optional; you may disable them if you wish.

The usual Family Link setup is as follows: One device (a computer or mobile device) is the "parent" device, and a second device is the "child" device. Incognito mode will only be disabled on the "child" device.

If you'd like to get started, you may set up a "parent" account now.

It has quirks

Google Family Link has some quirks. I've described the biggest quirk I've noticed, and its workaround, in another thread.

I hope that Google will work on eliminating the quirks in the future.

Despite its quirks, Family Link works reasonably well already, and I think it's a good way to disable incognito mode.

It may be easy to defeat

I'm not sure whether or not Family Link is easy for crafty children to defeat. But, in general, there are ways to defeat most parental-control software tools.

It's wise to buy your kids a flip phone with no data plan, and a non-portable computer which is permanently stored in a public room such as the living room. It's also wise to store all of your personal cellphones, laptops, and tablets in your bedroom at night, so that your kids can't secretly use them.

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SecureTeen is a great app for Android and iOS -- blocks incognito mode, and gives parents the ability to block apps if necessary. Also shows history of Google searches. It has been a great tool in our family. Officially, it has 5,000+ reviews and a 3.5 star rating (as of April 2016).

Official Google Play Image Link

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    This doesn't appear to block Incognito mode, it just logs all activity whether or not Incognito is used. – Matthew Read Apr 7 '16 at 20:25
  • A Google Play rating of 3.5 stars isn't very good. – tealhill Aug 24 '16 at 17:51
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    You can't with Secureteen, it's not a reliable parenting app, I have it installed on androids phone with lollipop and several problems were validated, incognito mode is not blocked and useless users support...consider Norton family or other alternatives – E toxqui Dec 4 '16 at 21:58
  • @tealhill 3.5 stars is considerably bad for an app on Play store. Generally 4.0 is "not bad" and 4.2-4.3 is "mediocre / average". – iBug Jun 18 '17 at 7:33

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