Chrome Rolls Out Fingerprint Authentication for Incognito Tabs for Android
Google has announced that it is rolling out the ability to require fingerprint authentication to access Incognito tabs in Chrome for Android. This feature, which was first introduced to Chrome for iOS in early 2021, aims to provide an additional layer of security for users browsing the web in private mode.
How it Works
The feature is simple to use. Once enabled, users will be required to “Unlock Incognito” with their fingerprint after reopening the Chrome browser on their Android device. There is also the option to “See other tabs” on the Incognito splash screen, as well as an overflow menu to close all private browsing tabs or open settings. Force closing Chrome will continue to remove all Incognito pages.
Enabling the Feature
This is an optional feature and can be enabled from the Chrome Settings menu by navigating to Privacy and security > Lock Incognito tabs when you leave Chrome: Use screen lock to see open Incognito tabs. Enabling or disabling the feature requires verification, and users can also use their PIN if they prefer. The splash screen will appear immediately after you exit out of Chrome, making it handy when giving somebody your phone (as long as they don’t know your passcode).
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Google has announced that the feature is “currently rolling out to Android users” as part of Data Privacy Day. It is not yet widely available (as of Chrome 109), but users can enable this flag to get the feature immediately: chrome://flags/#incognito-reauthentication-for-android
In addition to the fingerprint authentication feature, Chrome is also expanding its Safety Check feature with more personalized recommendations and reminders about what users have previously shared with websites. Users will be able to find these controls in one place to revoke permissions and protect their privacy. Safety Check already looks for compromised passwords, harmful extensions, and prompts users to install updates.