Private Browsing - Use Firefox without saving history

Revision Information
  • Revision id: 109157
  • Created:
  • Creator: AliceWyman
  • Comment: edit to pending revision: menu path to Privacy settings.
  • Reviewed: Yes
  • Reviewed:
  • Reviewed by: ideato
  • Is approved? Yes
  • Is current revision? No
  • Ready for localization: Yes
  • Readied for localization:
  • Readied for localization by: ideato
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Revision Content

As you browse the web, Firefox remembers lots of information for you - like the sites you've visited. There may be times, however, when you don't want people with access to your computer to see this information, such as when shopping for a present. Private Browsing allows you to browse the Internet without saving any information about which sites and pages you’ve visited.

Private Browsing also includes What happened to Tracking Protection?, which prevents companies from tracking your browsing history across multiple sites. To learn more about Private Browsing with Tracking Protection in Firefox, see What happened to Tracking Protection?.

We'll show you how it works.

Important: Private Browsing doesn't make you anonymous on the Internet. Your Internet service provider, employer, or the sites themselves can still track what pages you visit. Private Browsing also doesn't protect you from keyloggers or spyware that may be installed on your computer.

How do I open a new Private Window?

There are two ways to open a new Private Window.

Open a new, blank Private Window

  • Click the menu button New Fx Menu and then click New Private Window.
    private browsing - fx29 - winxp private browsing - fx29 - win8 private browsing - fx29 - mac private browsing - fx29 - linux
  • Right-clickHold down the control key while you click on any link and choose Open Link in New Private Window from the context menu.
    Link in Private Window Fx20 WinXP Link in Private Window Fx20 Win7 Link in Private Window Fx20 Mac Link in Private Window Fx20 Lin
Tip: Private Browsing windows have a purple mask at the top.
Mask - WinXP Mask - Win8 Mask - Mac Mask - Linux

What does Private Browsing 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. For more info about tracking, see How do I turn on the Do Not Track feature?
  • 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.
  • New bookmarks you create while using Private Browsing will be saved.
  • Any files you download to your computer while using Private Browsing will be saved.
  • Firefox Hello is not available in Private Browsing.

Can I set Firefox to always use Private Browsing?

Firefox is set to remember history by default but you can change this setting in your Firefox Privacy OptionsPreferences (click the Firefox menu New Fx Menu , choose OptionsPreferences and select the Privacy panel). When you change your History setting to Never remember history, this is equivalent to always being in Private Browsing mode. For more information, see Settings for privacy, browsing history and do-not-track.

Important: When Firefox is set to Never remember history you won't see a purple mask at the top of each window, even though you are effectively in Private Browsing mode. To restore normal browsing, go to your Privacy OptionsPreferences and set Firefox to Remember history.

Other ways to control what information Firefox saves