How to Use YouTube’s Android App Incognito Mode

Woman with headphiones listenig to music.
YouTube has rolled out a new incognito mode so users can watch videos without having to face a series of recommendations later based on their history.

If you’re a regular YouTube user, you’ve probably encountered situations where the site recommends videos that you might not be interested in.

That is part of the machine learning technology that the video streaming service uses to keep note of the videos you frequently watch and then pick up suggestions of similar videos.

From YouTube’s point of view, this improves the user experience of the platform.

YouTube has now come up with a feature that lets users opt to open the videos in an incognito window on Android-run devices.

This means no history of the videos you watched is kept and you don’t have to worry about any unwanted suggested videos.

How exactly do you use this feature? Read on to find out more.

Enabling YouTube’s Incognito Mode

To use the new feature, you first have to be sure that your device has the latest version of the YouTube app.

1. For this, go to the Google Play Store on your Android device.

2. From the drop-down menu on the top left of the screen, click on My Apps & games.

3. Choose ‘Update.’ You can either update all or just choose the YouTube app.

4. Now you can open the updated YouTube app.

5. On the YouTube page, you have to click on your profile picture on top.

6. From the drop-down menu, choose ‘Turn on Incognito.’

7. Now you are good to browse incognito and play videos of your choice

It’s Like the Incognito Browser in Chrome

If you are used to browsing through the incognito browser in Google Chrome, the incognito option in YouTube would not appear new or odd.

The features remain the same. There will be no history of previously viewed videos.

You may search for new videos to watch and the search history will not be retained either.

You will have to input the details each time to watch the video.

This may be convenient for many users because they might be used to the easier way of just typing a few letters for suggestions to pop up.

Some Other Functions May Not Be Available

Music icon on keyboard.
The reason people usually go to the incognito mode on the normal browsers like Chrome or Firefox is that they may not wish others using the same computer or device to know the sites they visited.

While using the incognito mode on YouTube, you may not be able to download videos as you normally do where it is available for download, as you do on the normal mode.

The facility is meant to allow watching videos in a private browser without YouTube’s algorithm keeping a track of the titles.

You may choose to go incognito when needed and switch back to the normal mode at your leisure.

The same profile icon serves as the button to switch back to the standard mode from incognito.

The Feature Is in Beta Now

It must be noted here that Google is running this feature as a beta version and may keep it that way before making it a regular feature on the YouTube app.

Some of the other Google-owned apps—such as Chromecast and the GBoard keyboard—already have the incognito mode feature on them.

Users of iOS devices will have to wait longer for the feature to be made available.

Why Use Incognito Mode on YouTube?

The reason people usually go to the incognito mode on the normal browsers like Chrome or Firefox is that they may not wish others using the same computer or device to know the sites they visited.

The incognito mode ensures that all browsing history is erased as soon as the window is closed.

In particular, in a family environment, parents may not want their children to stumble upon some pages they have been going through.

It may be due to adult content or even accessing special sites like banking accounts.

In the case of YouTube, it’s not always the confidentiality that drives users to go incognito.

The ultimate purpose is to watch specific videos on YouTube and then leave the site.

When the same person gets back to YouTube again and logs in, there will be no previous history and no automatic suggestions.

When the feature is made regular, it’s possible YouTube may bring a button or an icon on the main page itself for choosing the incognito mode, instead of having to dig into the profile menu.

If the viewing history is not maintained within YouTube, there is still the possibility it can be dug up if any investigation has to be carried out.

To that extent, the history of videos viewed in terms of their URLs will be stored at the server end if you are using a networked system (like in schools or other institutions).

The service provider, whether it’s a dial-up or a Wi-Fi connection, will also be in possession of the log. Any other person logging into your system will not be able to see.

You can’t even go back and find the page in the history panel even if you wanted to. The last page you were in before logging out gets cleared a little while after you came out of the page.

The site will not capture any personal data and store it on the system.

Headphones on laptop.
That is part of the machine learning technology that the video streaming service uses to keep note of the videos you frequently watch and then pick up suggestions of similar videos.

Technology has to be used to the benefit of the individuals, and those developing new technologies keep this in view—based on the feedback they receive from time to time, they bring in changes to offer the choice to the consuming public.

YouTube’s new incognito mode feature should be seen in this perspective.

If customers preferred a service of this kind, Google has worked on it and introduced it. If there are people happy with the existing mode, they can continue to use it.

There may be some functional shortcomings in the new mode but as long as the purpose is served, it will be welcome by users who wanted it.

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