While Chrome for iOS hasn’t seen a stable release since November amid an ongoing pause in updates, Google continues work on the beta channel and is currently testing a way to lock Incognito tabs with Face or Touch ID.

Chrome will let you “Lock Incognito tabs” so that they will be blurred in the tab switcher “until you confirm it’s you” using Touch or Face ID. Google calls it a way to “add more security” as you multitask across apps.

This is also useful when letting somebody else use your iPhone or iPad to perform a new search. In this hypothetical scenario, a user that opened another tab to do their business would courteously want to close it once complete. In the process of doing so, they might see all the windows you have open in the switcher.

The ability to lock Chrome’s Incognito tabs is similar to a feature in the main Google Search app that uses biometrics to “confirm it’s you when returning to an incognito session after 15 minutes.” 

Google Drive has a similar “Privacy Screen” that requires fingerprint or face confirmation every time you open the file storage app. However, there is the option to delay the authentication by 10 seconds, one minute, or 10 minutes when multitasking.

Despite being listed in the release notes, this feature is not yet available for all beta users. There appears to be a server-side component, while the public launch of Chrome 89 is expected next month — assuming Google’s iOS update situation gets resolved by then. Once live, it will be controllable in Settings > Privacy > Lock Incognito tabs when you close Chrome.

Chrome lock Touch Face ID

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com