First discovered by Chrome Story, a new Repository Commit points to the Chrome for Android development team adding an extra layer of protection to the browser’s incognito tabs via a developer flag. Once this feature rolls out, you’ll need to access them again by providing some form of reauthentication.
Add Incognito Reauthentication for Android feature flag.Bug: 1227656
Enable device reauthentication for incognito.
When enabled, a setting appears in Settings > Privacy and Security, to enable reauthentication for accessing your existing incognito tabs. – Android#incognito-reauthentication-for-android
Presumably, you’ll be engaging your phone’s biometric sensor or lock screen PIN, pattern, or passcode in order to do so, and while this may seem odd at first since the phone is already unlocked by this point, it could be useful for when you let someone else utilize your device for web browsing.
Google has implemented this double authentication before with its services – for example, when you visit Google Passwords and select an entry, or when you attempt to modify the lockscreen settings of your Chromebook, you’re required to input your device password again.
As of right now, toggling this flag (should you have it) does nothing, but will eventually place an option in your phone’s Settings menu that lets you enable or disable the need for secondary authentication for incognito tabs. For now, iPhone users are already benefiting from this new feature, but Android phone owners won’t have to wait long – a few months at most, is my guess.
This would be a really neat tool to have on Chromebooks too, especially as incognito mode is used more on desktops and laptops for planning and secretly shopping than mobile is – at least, I think that’s the case. Let me know in the comments if this feature seems appealing for privacy-minded individuals, or if it’s simply not something you’d use at all.