Private browsing in Firefox

Want a little more privacy when you’re browsing? Try the Private Window mode in Firefox. Here’s how to use it.

Open Firefox and click the 3-line menu icon on the upper-right side.  Choose New Private Window from the drop-down menu.


A private window will open. Private windows have a dark purple background.


When you browse in a private window, Firefox does not save:

  • Visited pages: No pages will be added to the list of sites in the History menu, the Library window’s history list, or the Awesome Bar address list.
  • Form and Search Bar entries: Nothing you enter into text boxes on web pages or the Search bar will be saved for Form autocomplete.
  • Passwords: No new passwords will be saved.
  • Download List entries: No files you download will be listed in the Downloads Window after you turn off Private Browsing.
  • Cookies: Cookies store information about websites you visit such as site preferences, login status, and data used by plugins like Adobe Flash. Cookies can also be used by third parties to track you across websites.
  • Cached Web Content and Offline Web Content and User Data: No temporary Internet files (cached files) or files that websites save for offline use will be saved.

Firefox does save bookmarks and downloads. This is a great feature to use if you’re using someone else’s PC.  It’s also good if you share a PC with someone. If you’ve been looking for a gift for someone and searching Mountain Bikes, that search could show up if someone else visits those same sites and tip your spouse off that a gift is on the way. This way, your searches stay private.

Now, this doesn’t prevent other folks like your employer or your ISP from knowing what sites you visit.

You can also choose to open a link in a new Private Window. Just right-click on the link and choose “Open in a new private window” from the drop-down menu.



You also have the option to turn on tracking protection with a private window. This feature can block many, but not all, methods websites use to track you online.


You’ll see a little purple mask icon at the top right of the page to indicate that you are using a private window.


When you close the window, you’re no longer in private mode. You’ll have to select it again the next time you open Firefox.

Click here to learn about Incognito browsing in Chrome.

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