Instagram Incognito Mode: Can You Keep IG Off Your Trail?

Profile photo of Karen Lin, author

Karen Lin

Instagram 101 | Feb 16, 2024

Want More Real Instagram Followers?

Privacy on Instagram is a big issue for many people who love the platform. Some make their pages private to ensure only people they know see their photos. Others like to hide their posts from certain people to safeguard their privacy. But is there a way to keep your activity private on the app as well? Is there such a thing as Instagram incognito mode?

According to the Pew Research Center, 61% of adults want to do more to protect their privacy online. They don’t want big entities and advertisers to get their hands on sensitive data and information about their online activity. That’s why people love turning on private browsing when they surf the web. Today, let’s see if it’s something you can do on Instagram, too.

A Person secretly peeking through window blinds.

Keeping Your Data Activity Safe: Does Instagram Have an Incognito Mode?

“Incognito mode” is a popular way to browse the internet without an app storing data on your activity online. Web browsers also don’t store passwords or cookies from your data while in this mode.

Browsers like Chrome and Safari have a version of this concept. It’s an excellent way for people to use the internet without leaving a trace. This feature has become critical as people are increasingly concerned about keeping their online activity private and secure.

It makes sense for users to also want an incognito option on Instagram. If you could use the app without it storing your data, the possibilities would be vast. You could view people’s IG Stories without revealing your identity. You could also search discretely without affecting your search history. But does Instagram have an incognito mode?

Sadly, Instagram doesn’t have a similar feature right now. There’s no way to lurk on the app without it keeping your activity. People will know if you watch their Stories, and you’ll see your recent searches when you open the search tab. Don’t worry; there’s no way anyone can tell if you’ve visited their page, even when you’re not incognito.

Vanish Mode on Instagram: Send Direct Messages Incognito

While there is no way to go incognito on the app, there are still ways to keep your activity hidden. For example, Vanish Mode allows you to keep certain direct messages secret and on the down low.

Vanish Mode on Instagram is kind of like incognito mode, but specifically for messages. You can enable this mode when you’re chatting with someone on Instagram. When you’re on Vanish Mode, the messages you send automatically disappear after the recipient sees them and closes the DM. Photos, videos and other content you share on the chat will also disappear.

Vanish Mode is terrific if you’re sharing secrets with a friend over DM. It’s also great for flirtatious, off-the-record conversations. 

To turn Vanish Mode on, simply swipe up on your chat with someone. This automatically brings you to a darker screen and will show that you are in Vanish Mode. To get out of this mode, just swipe up again. 

While this is fantastic for keeping direct messages discreet, be sure to only send private information to people you trust. People can still screenshot and record content you send through Vanish Mode. So, if you don’t trust the person to respect your private content, don’t send it at all.

Vanish mode is excellent for friends sharing top-secret messages.

How To Post an Incognito IG Story

Instagram Stories are awesome for sharing candid, real-time updates about your whereabouts and milestones with friends and family. But some people are uncomfortable with sharing these things with every person that follows them. So, is there a way to post an incognito IG story?

The best way to keep your Stories private is by creating a Close Friends list. This is a list of people in your circle you choose to be labeled as your “close friend” on Instagram. Once you set up your list, you can start posting Stories for their eyes only. It’s the perfect way to post personal updates that you don’t want the public to see.

Here’s how to create your own Close Friends list and post Stories that only they can see:

1. On your IG profile, click on the hamburger menu (three horizontal lines) in the upper-right corner.

2. Click “Settings and privacy”.

3. Scroll down to the “Who can see your content” section and choose “Close Friends”.

Make your Close Friends list in Instagram’s settings.

4. Here, you’ll see the list of all your Close Friends on Instagram. To add someone to the list, search their IG handle in the bar on top. Then, click the dot on the right of their name to make them a Close Friend.

5. Add as many people as you want to this private list. Click “Done” when you’re finished adding everyone in your inner circle to the list.

6. Now, you’re ready to post Instagram Stories just for your Close Friends. Start by opening the Story Editor and creating a new Story post.

7. When you’re done customizing your Story, click the “Close Friends” button on the bottom of the screen. It should have a round, green icon with a white star on it. 

Hit the green Close Friends button to post your Story to your most trusted circle.

How To Go Incognito on Instagram To Watch Someone’s Stories

Whenever you open someone’s Stories, your Instagram handle will go straight to their list of Story viewers. This isn’t always ideal, especially if you don’t want them to know that you’ve seen their post.

Perhaps you want to check in on someone you’re not on good terms with. Or maybe you’re curious about someone’s life updates but don’t want to interact with them. Is it possible to watch their Stories anonymously, given that Instagram doesn’t have an incognito mode?

Here’s our trick for how to go on Incognito on Instagram to watch someone’s Stories: use our Anonymous Story Viewer. This free tool allows you to view any user’s IG Stories as long as their account is public.

Simply enter their username in the bar, click “Search”, and wait for their Stories to load. From there, you can view their photos and videos an unlimited number of times until they expire. No login is required to use this tool, so Path Social will never reveal your identity. It’s the perfect way to stay anonymous while keeping tabs!

Be Clever and Find Your Ways To Go on Instagram Incognito Mode

While there’s no such thing as incognito mode on Instagram, a few clever features maintain your privacy.

In your DMs, you can use Vanish Mode to keep your messages and private photo-sharing secret. If you’re wary of sharing your Stories with everyone, you can set up a Close Friends list. And if you don’t want someone finding out that you watched their Stories, you can use an anonymous Story viewer.

These features might not be the incognito mode you’re used to, but they offer valuable privacy options on Instagram. They can help keep your posts and actions private. Although they’re not perfect, they can offer a level of privacy for sharing with people you’re comfortable sharing with. 

Once you’re a little more confident with posting Stories and content outside of Instagram incognito mode, beef up your presence. Path Social’s AI-powered algorithm helps serve your content to the niche audience that will love it most. This allows you to gain more engagement on your posts and real followers for your page. It’s a great way to get yourself on the map! Start growing your community today by working with us.