There are many reasons to use Incognito Mode in Google Chrome. In many cases, you just don’t want other people to rummage through your browser tabs. But all it takes for anyone to access your personal Chrome tabs is to grab your iPhone when it’s unlocked. To fix that, Google is currently working on a security setting that will allow you to lock incognito tabs behind Face ID or Touch ID.
Currently, the new privacy and security feature in beta testing is only accessible from the latest beta version of Google Chrome. To participate in the beta, you must be invited to install the TestFlight beta app, but the program is currently full. If you̵
Why would?” Because Google is slowly implementing this privacy measure, which was initially revealed on Feb. 11, for beta users via a server-side update. At the time of writing, the feature had barely hit iPhones and chances are Google will only push it to a limited number of beta testers (which is common in testing).
According to The Verge, Google is expected to release Chrome 89 sometime in March, but it’s not clear if this biometric authentication will be ready yet. Once the function is ready, it is easy to set up. Open Chrome on your iPhone and tap the ellipse (•••) at the bottom right. Next, tap on ‘Settings’, then ‘Privacy’ and toggle on the ‘Lock incognito tabs when you close Chrome’ switch.
You may be asked to give Chrome access to Face ID or Touch ID, and once you do, you’re ready to test locking and unlocking Incognito tabs using your face or fingerprint respectively.
If you haven’t closed the Chrome app since turning on the feature, you should still see your Incognito tabs just fine. However, close Chrome, reopen the app and go to your Incognito tabs. The tabs should be blurry when you first return to them. To blur them, Chrome scans your face with Face ID, or you need to touch your fingerprint on Touch ID. Once authorized, your tabs will be visible again.
This process is similar to the incognito biometric lock already available in the primary Google app. To turn it on, tap your profile picture, tap Settings, choose Privacy & Security, then toggle on the Enable Face ID for Incognito Mode toggle. Incognito mode is locked after 15 minutes of inactivity, such as when the Google app is used without incognito or not in the app at all.
Whether Chrome integrates the 15-minute rule like the Google app does remains to be seen. So far, the feature has just started development, so things may change as the beta progresses.
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