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Managing Private Browsing Options in Firefox Mac

written by: •edited by: Michael Dougherty•updated: 5/28/2011

If you're looking for a way to maintain privacy regarding your visited websites, the following steps explain how to enable and disable private browsing in Firefox on the Mac .

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    Is Private Browsing Available in Firefox?

    Most Mac users are happy enough enjoying the default browser, Safari, with its minimalist design and ease of use. However more and more users are enjoying the open source browsing experience of Mozilla Firefox, with its feature-packed selection of add-ons, functions and focus on web standards.

    One area in which Mozilla excels in is protecting the user from online threats; it informs you when you connect to a secure website to carry out transactions and allows you to specify more detailed privacy settings than any other browser.

    Firefox also includes an easy to use private browsing system, ideal for keeping your online movements a secret from anyone else who might use your computer…

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    Advantages and Disadvantages of Private Browsing

    Private browsing is a great tool for keeping prying eyes away from your most sensitive browsing habits. Introduced ostensibly as a means of doing some online shopping without family finding out about what you have purchased before it arrives, there are clearly other uses, such as covering up the visiting of gambling and other adult websites.

    Configure how Firefox records your Internet history You can configure how Firefox records your history via Firefox > Preferences > Privacy; this enables you to toggle between an always-off history function, an always-on recording of your visited websites (private browsing notwithstanding) and using custom settings. With a bit if experimentation in this area, you will be able to setup various useful configurations.

    While the idea of private browsing might seem attractive, however, there are various downsides to it.

    For instance, any interesting websites that you happened across will not be available to be visited again in the future, leaving you with the tricky task of trying to remember how you got there.

    Most importantly, it should be recognized that using private browsing on a computer where a family safety application is installed might result in the browsing session being recorded, and certainly if used on a browser in a corporate location your history of visited websites will be recorded, perhaps with embarrassing consequences.

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    How to Enable and Disable Private Browsing in Firefox for Mac

    Private Browsing active on Firefox Firefox makes it very easy for you to activate and deactivate the Private Browsing function, which is accessed via the Tools menu. Simply click Start Private Browsing or press SHIFT+COMMAND+P to toggle it off and on. You can also activate Permanent Private Browsing Mode in Firefox > Preferences > Privacy by selecting Use custom settings for history and checking the top box in the list.

    Mozilla Firefox will display a notification that private browsing has been activated, as well as display the small masque icon in the address bar, although this will be replaced by the icon of the websites you subsequently visit.

    Once you are done browsing in private mode, simply disable private browsing in order to begin recording your history once again. You can check your history of recently visited sites via the History menu

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    Author's own experience.

    Screenshots by author.