Chrome's latest update, which added support for iOS 7, also included a significant flaw that was discovered by design firm Parallax (via TechCrunch). When using the search or address bar in an Incognito window within the app, browsing history will be saved and shared with the standard Google.com browser.


Google’s Incognito mode is designed to keep searches for sensitive information private, but as detailed in the video, searches will be displayed when the standard Google.com browser is accessed. The flaw can be replicated with the following steps:

- Open an Incognito window
- Enter a search term in the address bar and hit enter
- Open a non-Incognito window
- Navigate to Google.com
- Tap the search box on the page to see Incognito searches

TechCrunch contacted Google and learned that there is no fix for the issue, as it is an "unfortunate but unavoidable loophole that comes with building a browser for iOS. The company cites its Incognito support note, which does address the issue.

On Chrome for iOS, due to platform limitation regular and incognito* tabs share HTML5 local storage, which is typically used by sites to store files on your device (client-side caching) or to provide offline functionality. This means the same sites can always access their data in this storage in both regular and incognito* tabs. Incognito* tabs will still keep browsing history and cookies separate from regular tabs, which are cleared once those tabs are closed.

Apple’s default Safari browser does not appear to have the same issue, accurately hiding searches made in Private mode.

Top Rated Comments

Rocco83 Avatar
139 months ago
Hey everyone, Google here. We screwed something up in our browser. Apple's fault, not it!
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
seamer Avatar
139 months ago
I wouldn't be so quick to say "Safari is able to do it." Simply due to the fact Apple doesn't have to follow its own submission process, and their apps can have certain privileges that third-parties cannot.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
willdude Avatar
139 months ago
I wouldn't be so quick to say "Safari is able to do it." Simply due to the fact Apple doesn't have to follow its own submission process, and their apps can have certain privileges that third-parties cannot.

Indeed, this would seem to be exactly the case, since Apple doesn't let third-party apps restrict HTML5 local storage, which is what Google and other sites use for this search history.

It's also been like this since at least iOS 6, so it's weird that it's suddenly getting all this coverage.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
PracticalMac Avatar
139 months ago


TechCrunch contacted Google and learned that there is no fix for the issue, as it is an "unfortunate but unavoidable loophole that comes with building a browser for iOS. The company cites its Incognito support note (https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/95464?hl=en), which does address the issue. Apple's default Safari browser does not appear to have the same issue, accurately hiding searches made in Private mode.
Someone is dropping the ball.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bacaramac Avatar
139 months ago
Guess I don't see the big draw to not use iOS Safari. I think it works rather well . Guess it provides benefits to some, but I see no reason to stray from built in apps if you don't have to.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
redscull Avatar
139 months ago
Google is flat out full of bologna. This is their bug, irrefutably.

Sure, it's true that local storage is shared between incognito and normal modes, but it's also trivial to prefix all your storage keys with "incognito-" while reading/writing in incognito mode, and ensuring that normal mode never reads/writes storage keys prefixed with "incognito-".

Would your sensitive data still be on your system? Yeah, chrome would have to periodically clear all "incognito-" prefixed keys' values to resolve that. But at least these sensitive values would never be displayed via the browser. Only a data miner with access to your file system could get at them.

This kind of fix could be performed by a novice engineer. It is an embarrassing bug, not Apple's fault. Not unavoidable.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Popular Stories

iOS 17

iOS 17.5 Bug May Also Resurface Deleted Photos on Wiped, Sold Devices [Updated]

Friday May 17, 2024 12:24 pm PDT by
A bug in iOS 17.5 is apparently causing photos that have been deleted to reappear, and the issue seems to impact even iPhones and iPads that have been erased and sold off to other people. A Reddit user wiped an iPad following Apple's guidelines in September of 2023 before selling it off to a friend. That friend updated the iPad to iPadOS 17.5 this week, and began seeing the Reddit user's old ...
iphone se 4 modified flag edges

When to Expect the Next iPhone SE to Launch

Friday May 17, 2024 2:03 pm PDT by
It has been over two years since Apple released the third-generation iPhone SE, and rumors continue to surface about a new model. The latest word comes from The Information, which today reported that Apple plans to release a new iPhone SE with a design similar to the standard iPhone 14 in the spring of 2025. If this rumor is accurate, the iPhone SE would finally gain Face ID and a notch...
oled m4 ipad pro grainy display reports

OLED iPad Pro Users Report 'Grainy' Displays, But It May Not Be a Defect

Friday May 17, 2024 5:57 am PDT by
Some new M4 iPad Pro models are exhibiting a visible static grain pattern across the OLED display, according to several user reports on Reddit (1, 2, 3) and the MacRumors Forums. Image credit: MacRumors user bk215 Users who see the grain generally report that it is most noticeable in dark environments with the display set at a low to medium brightness while viewing content with gray or muted...
iOS 17

Troubling iOS 17.5 Bug Reportedly Resurfacing Old Deleted Photos

Wednesday May 15, 2024 5:29 am PDT by
There are concerning reports on Reddit that Apple's latest iOS 17.5 update has introduced a bug that causes old photos that were deleted – in some cases years ago – to reappear in users' photo libraries. After updating their iPhone, one user said they were shocked to find old NSFW photos that they deleted in 2021 suddenly showing up in photos marked as recently uploaded to iCloud. Other...
iPhone 16 Camera Lozenge 2 Perspective

iPhone 16 Lineup Rumored to Come in These Two New Colors

Sunday May 19, 2024 11:08 am PDT by
Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo today outlined his expectations for the iPhone 16 lineup's color options, revealing that two new colors should replace two of the existing shades. Kuo outlined his expectations in a post on X (formerly Twitter) earlier today. He believes that the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max will be available in black, white or silver, gray or "Natural Titanium," and rose....
Delta Hands On Feature

iPhone Emulators on the App Store: Game Boy, N64, PS1, PSP, and More

Thursday May 16, 2024 12:45 pm PDT by
In April, Apple updated its guidelines to allow retro game emulators on the App Store, and several popular emulators have already been released. The emulators released so far allow iPhone users to play games released for older consoles from Nintendo, Sony, SEGA, Atari, and others. A list of some popular emulators available on the App Store so far follows. Released Delta Delta is...