How to use Private Browsing in Safari on OS X Yosemite

Safari in OS X Yosemite is faster and more convenient to use than ever. Among the upgrades is improved Private Browsing, which keeps Safari from keeping track of what web pages you're looking at, what passwords you're entering and more. Here's how it works.

It's pretty easy to forget, but left to its own devices, your web browser can collect a lot of information about you. It keeps a history of the web pages you've loaded, and many web sites leave behind "cookies" which contain information advertisers can exploit later.

Those are some reasons why Safari supports Private Browsing, which keeps Safari from doing any of those things. When Private Browsing is turned on, Safari doesn't remember any of the pages you visit during that session in its History. The pages aren't cached, and your AutoFill information isn't used, either.

How to enable Private Browsing in Safari on OS X Yosemite

  1. Launch Safari on your Mac running OS X Yosemite or higher.
  2. Click on the File menu and select New Private Window ā€” alternately, you can hold down the command and shift keys and type N.
  3. A new window appears with a dark colored search field instead of a white/opaque one. This is how you can tell you're using a private browsing window.

That's all there is to it! None of the activity in the private browsing window will be recorded.

There's been a change in behavior from Mavericks to Yosemite worth noting. In previous releases of OS X, turning on Private Browsing activated the feature for all open windows and tabs. To stop Private Browsing, you had to go up to the Safari menu and de-select it. Yosemite changes that behavior.

Now only the new window ā€” and any new tabs you create in that window ā€” will be private. Any other windows you have open, and any tabs in those windows, remain in their regular state.

This makes it easier to use Private Browsing on pages you'd prefer to keep private, while allowing you to continue to work without any trouble in other pages.

Private Browsing with Safari in OS X Yosemite is pretty straightforward, but if you have any questions, let me know.