Modern versions of Safari for Mac OS have the ability to initiate private browsing mode on a per-window basis, allowing you to easily open a new private browsing session in Safari at any time.
This is a marked difference from how Private Browsing worked previously in Safari on the Mac, which converted all browser windows and tabs that are open in Safari into privacy mode. Now, you can open an individual Private window, and each tab within a Privacy Mode active window will be it’s own unique private session. Any other open or active Safari windows will remain as normal browsing sessions.
Using the new per-window Private Browsing mode feature of Safari is really easy in Mac OS and you have two ways to launch into a new private window; either with a menu item, or a keyboard shortcut. This article will show you how to use Private Browsing mode on Safari for Mac.
How to Open a Private Browsing window from the menubar in Safari for Mac
Choose the “File” menu and select “New Private Window”
How to Open a Private Browsing session with a keystroke in Safari for Mac OS
Hit Command+Shift+N to launch a new private browsing window
You’ll see a message saying “Private Browsing Enabled – Safari will keep your browsing history private for all tabs in this window. Safari won’t remember the pages you visit, your search history, or your Autofill information”, in case you were wondering, that includes browser caches and cookies too. You can then launch additional private browsing tabs by hitting Command+T within the private window.
Privacy Mode windows are demonstrated to be private by darkening the address / URL bar of that Safari window (speaking of the address bar, you may wish to show the full website URL in the address bar, which is confusingly hidden by default in the latest Mac Safari versions). This makes the private browsing windows easy to identify from non private windows, the shade of grey in the URL bar should be familiar to those who have used Private Browsing in Safari in iOS too.
You’ll obviously need to be in Safari on a modern version of Mac OS to have this functionality, anything like macOS High Sierra, Mac OS Sierra, Mac OS X El Capitan or OS X Yosemite should have such a feature available to it.
Again, it’s important to emphasize how this is different from prior versions of Safari. Older versions of Safari would send ALL windows and sessions into privacy mode, whereas the newest versions of Safari allow for a per-window and per-tab approach to private browsing, without impacting the other open windows and browser tabs.
While Chrome users have long been able to accomplish this, the ability to launch a new and separate private browsing window in Safari is new. Safari also handles it a bit differently than Chrome, with each new Safari window launched in Privacy Mode being completely separate in terms of temporary cookies and logged in sites, whereas Chrome will carry forward a privacy session login through to other privacy windows and tabs until they have been closed, Safari does not do that. The exception to Chrome would be with the hidden Guest mode feature, which can break a browser session away from another private tab or window. Ultimately whether you want to use Chrome or Safari is up to a matter of personal preference, both are excellent web browsers.