Lock your private browsing sessions behind biometric authentication
Incognito tabs in web browsers are useful when you want to browse dubious sites and don’t want anyone to know about them. While Google Chrome for Android has had incognito browsing for ages, anyone with access to your phone can easily take over your private browsing sessions, making them less personal. To make incognito tabs more secure, Google has been working to protect them through biometric authentication since at least August 2021. A few months ago, the feature made its way to the stable version of Chrome 105 for Android via a new flag. Now, Google is finally making this feature official and rolling it out to all Android users.
Ahead of Data Privacy Day (January 28), Google announced the rollout of biometric authentication to resume your incognito browsing sessions in Chrome for Android. However, the feature is disabled by default. You need to enable it by going to Chrome settings, going to Privacy and Securityand activating the toggle for Lock incognito tabs when you close Chrome.
After that, whenever you try to resume your incognito session after closing Chrome, you’ll need to confirm your identity through a fingerprint scan or your phone’s unlock pin. If the feature is not yet available on your phone, you can enable it by going to chrome://flags/#incognito-reauthentication-for-android and activate the flag. Restart the browser for the changes to take effect.
Note that you can continue to quickly close incognito tabs from your phone’s notification panel without opening them first. This process will not require your biometric data. The ability to lock tabs incognito has been available on Chrome for iOS for over two years now, and Google has taken its time bringing the feature to Android.
Along with a more private incognito browsing experience, Google also announced expanded capabilities for Safety Check to control unwanted notifications from websites. Safety Check will now more proactively send you personalized recommendations to disable these notifications.