Back in February, we reported about a Chrome (for iOS) beta that allows you to lock your Incognito tabs with Face ID or Touch ID. Well, now this feature has finally made it to iPhones and iPads worldwide! Or… sort of.
Google is just about ready to make “Device Authentication for Incognito” official, but users can already enable it for testing in just a few simple steps until this official release becomes a fact. It’s part of Chrome’s “Experiments” features that let users test early versions of some upcoming updates.
We thought it was ironic that you get a warning which says that by enabling these features, you could “lose browser data or compromise your security or privacy”, while this feature aims to improve your privacy.
If we look past the warning, we can assure you we’ve tested “Device Authentication for Incognito” on iPhone with Touch ID, as well as on iPad with Face ID, and we can confirm that the feature works as advertised.
How to use Touch ID or Face ID to access Incognito tabs on Chrome for iOS/iPadOS:
1. Make sure you have downloaded the latest version of Chrome on your iOS/iPadOS device.
2. Open Chrome and search for chrome://flags in the address bar.
3. Once you see the “Experiments” page, type in “Device Authentication for Incognito” in the “Search flags” field.
4. Simply change the status of the feature from “Default” to “Enabled”.
5. Now, close and reopen Chrome the browser. Once you are in Chrome, go into Settings > Privacy and tap on “Enable Lock Incognito Tabs”. Ta-da! You’re good to go!
When the “Device Authentication for Incognito” feature is enabled, it will prompt you to unlock your incognito tabs every time you try to access them after you’ve closed Chrome.
You can disable this feature by going into Settings > Privacy and turning “Lock Incognito Tabs WhenYou Close Chrome” off.
Note: We didn’t love the fact that you need to tap on the “Unlock with Touch ID/Face ID” button every time we launched Chrome before actually being able to register our face or thumbprint, but we guess this is done for additional privacy in case you open your Chrome browser with Incognito by accident, and you don’t want the tabs to show up.
Step 1 (tapping on “Unlock with Touch ID/Face ID”) makes the process of unlocking longer.
All in all, this is a great little privacy feature that aims to make your browsing more secure and protect your personal information from people – not websites. It’s a neat trick that elevates biometric authentication on smartphones and tablets and makes it even more valuable than it was before.