Android Update

Chrome for Android rolling out fingerprint unlock for Incognito tabs

Spotted in development last year, Google announced today that it’s rolling out the ability to require your fingerprint to access Incognito tabs in Chrome for Android.

Introduced to Chrome for iOS in early 2022, this feature simply requires that you “Unlock Incognito” with your fingerprint after reopening the Android browser. There’s 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 continues to remove all Incognito pages.

This is an optional feature and can be enabled from Chrome Settings > Privacy and security > Lock Incognito tabs when you leave Chrome: Use screen lock to see open Incognito tabs.

Enabling or disabling requires verification, while you can also use your PIN. The splash screen appears immediately after you exit out of Chrome. It can be handy when giving somebody your phone (as long as they don’t know your passcode). 

Google announced today that the feature is “currently rolling out to Android users” as part of Data Privacy Day. It’s not yet widely available (as of Chrome 109), but you can enable this flag to get the feature immediately: chrome://flags/#incognito-reauthentication-for-android

Additionally, Chrome is expanding Safety Check with “more personalized recommendations and reminders about what you have previously shared with websites and find those controls in one place to revoke permissions and protect your privacy.” It already looks for compromised passwords, harmful extensions, and prompts you to install updates.

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