Covering your tracks may be a little harder than previously thought in Chrome for Android
While it’s probably not earth-shattering news, you might be interested to know that there are some gaping flaws with Google Chrome’s incognito mode, as I discovered while attempting to fix a co-worker’s malfunctioning Chrome browser on his Android.
Incognito mode, for those who have never used it, doesn’t save or present tracking information to a website, nor save history, and basically functions as a blank new browser every time you launch it. It’s useful for surfing sites that you don’t want to know who you are, and also useful for not leaving tracks on your phone. Or it should be.
My co-worker’s phone had stopped loading web pages a day or two prior in Chrome, but he had not updated or done anything to change the Chrome app. So I went poking around to see what could be the matter. There wasn’t much in the history, and nothing for the past day, but the SD card was full. He said he hadn’t been doing anything with it.
The downloads folder tended to disagree with his assertion, as every single video he’d downloaded while in Incognito mode appeared there, and his keyboard also betrayed his trust, as looking at the custom dictionary revealed the names of some sites he regularly visited that really shouldn’t have been stored. I looked there as I started typing a web address in Chrome and one of my options was not something I’m going to mention here.
In the end, I’m not sure what was wrong with his Chrome. It was fixed by simply rebooting the phone. I did learn that Incognito mode downloads videos using a trackable method, I learned that the keyboard app remains unaffected and can and probably will store any embarrassing site names, and I learned to never trust Incognito mode or handle anyone’s phone without gloves.
I also found that System Tuner is a great application to use to locate a 14 gigabyte reports folder that had filled most of the SD card.