Handing over your mobile device to another person can be quite the challenging experience. Maybe a friend asks for your phone to browse the Internet for a moment, or a family member wants to use the web browser of your phone to show you something.
The big issue here up until now was that they gained access to your browsing data automatically when you handed over the phone or tablet. They got access to your browsing history, favorite sites, all bookmarks, saved passwords, and all other information including sessions you are signed in on websites and services.
Even if they would just type in a domain name or search term in the browser's address bar, they would see some suggestions based on your browsing history.
While some mobile browsers may offer options, like the private tab feature of Firefox, they are usually not sufficient to protect all of your data from prying eyes.
Mozilla introduced the new guest browsing featzre to the mobile version of Firefox recently. Guest browsing launched in Firefox for Android Beta, and is also available in Aurora and Nightly builds of the mobile browser.
In the coming month, it will also be made available in the stable version of Firefox for Android, so that all versions of the browser offer it to its users.
Here is how it works. When someone asks you to use your phone or tablet for a quick browsing session, you fire up the Firefox Mobile for Android browser, tap on the menu button of your device, and select New Guest Session from the context menu that opens up.
A prompt informs you about the following then:
The person using it will not be able to see any of your personal browsing data (like saved passwords, history or bookmarks).
When your guest is done, their browsing data will be deleted and your session will be restored.
The browser needs to be restarted for that to happen. This loads a secondary default Firefox profile that guests can use just like any normal profile of Firefox. The difference is that the profile will be reset in the end so that all session data gets deleted in the process.
To end the guest browsing session, tap on the menu button once more and select Exit Guest Session from the menu.
It needs to be noted that this is not a 100% sure fire way of protecting your data. While it is a solid protection for as long as you stand by the guest, it is relatively easy for the guest to switch back to the regular mode.
Guest browsing is similar to a blank secondary profile that you create on the desktop version of Firefox. It is a bit easier to switch between though, and takes the hassle of creating those profiles manually out of your hands.
It is a great option if you stay with the guest at all times, and not really an option if you leave the guest alone with your device as it is to easy to switch back (and then on again to avoid suspicion).
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.