Chrome for Android might soon bring back screenshot support in incognito mode
Google had removed the ability to take screenshots in incognito mode with Chrome v65 on Android back in 2018. The feature was restricted as a measure to protect users’ privacy. However, it seems that this might change soon and the feature could be re-introduced. While there are complexities at hand, the Chrome team has added a flag to Chrome 89 Canary allowing users to take screenshots while on an Incognito page.
As of now, if you are using Chrome on your Android device and try to take a screenshot of a webpage opened in an incognito tab, you should see a message saying “Can’t take screenshots here.” The idea behind disabling screenshots is the fact that Incognito browsing is usually opted for when the user does not want to leave history behind, and screenshots are nothing but proofs of the very same. As pointed out by Techdows, a thread on the official Chromium Bug report page mentions that there are a few complexities that make it difficult to add a setting to enable this. Firstly, incognito doesn’t have any existing settings making it non-trivial to add a ‘new’ incognito setting. Until the requested change is made in how Android segments screen-obfuscation and screenshot capability, the setting would not be an on or off choice, but rather: ‘Screenshot enabled’ or ‘Hide screens’.
Notably, other Chromium-based Android web browsers like Firefox include an option to “Allow screenshots in Private browsing” while Kiwi browser provides “Protect Incognito Windows” privacy setting that lets you hide content and prevent screenshots in incognito mode.
For now, the developers have added a new flag on Chrome v89 Canary that does allow you to take screenshots while in Incognito mode. This can be done via the following steps:
- Open Chrome Canary
- Visit chrome://flags
- Search for “Incognito Screenshot”
- Click on the dropdown arrow and enable the setting
- Restart the browser
We are yet to get a confirmation from Google whether this feature will actually be introduced to all users in the future.