For Mac OS X, how do you disable Incognito mode in Chrome? The desired result simply being that the user cannot browse in Incognito mode, even if they know the keyboard shortcut or something similar.

  • What does "disable" mean to you? Rip out the code? Change the keyboard shortcut? Recompile it to always be cognito? Something else? (Since you've already answered - it's somewhat clear what you are asking - just a reason for someone to down vote I suppose...)
    – bmike
    Aug 18, 2015 at 19:37

4 Answers 4


The short answer: you must edit the preferences file so that the key IncognitoModeAvailability has a value of 1.

Original Instructions

In /Library/Preferences/ add a plist entry to the file com.google.Chrome.plist such that the key is IncognitoModeAvailability and the value is 1.

Here is an example: assuming the file com.google.Chrome.plist doesn't exist, use a text editor to save the following code:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
<plist version="1.0">

The full file name and path of the above should be /Library/Preferences/com.google.Chrome.plist.

Updated Instructions

Since macOS Sierra, proper plist files seem to be in some binary format by default—a format that you can't edit with a normal text editor. I found that I can open them in Apple's Xcode and it has a nice GUI—very easy to edit. If you don't have access to Xcode, I think you can use the plutil terminal command like this:

plutil -convert xml1 YOUR_FILE_NAME_HERE

In xml format, you should be able to edit it in a text editor, and a web site I read says that the xml format should work fine.

Regardless, I recently was able to disable Incognito mode using Xcode on the ~/Library/Preferences/com.google.Chrome.plist file. (Furthermore, I had to delete /Library/Preferences/com.google.Chrome.plist because my old version was deemed "corrupted" because it wasn't in a proper file format.)

  • @user26270 If you are on OS X 10.11, there is a new security feature that prevents you from editing files in /Library. You can turn off SIP and then edit the file and it will work. Also, I haven't tested this, but if you put the file in ~/Library, maybe it will work. Nov 19, 2015 at 20:56
  • 1
    /Library/Preferences is not protected by SIP (would be kind of pointless anyway)
    – nohillside
    Nov 19, 2015 at 21:09
  • I'm on OS X 10.10.5. I couldn't edit the plist in a text file, had to do it through XCode. And it still didn't disable Incognito mode.
    – user26270
    Nov 19, 2015 at 21:41
  • Hmm, well it's working great on a few machines I've seen or worked on. Maybe check spelling and capitalization on IncognitoModeAvailability and check that you don't have multiple installs of Chrome (maybe one local and another one). Nov 20, 2015 at 3:51
  • It is working after all. Maybe I just had to restart, which I thought I did before commenting that it wasn't working. I've upvoted the answer and deleted my comment saying it wasn't working.
    – user26270
    Nov 23, 2015 at 16:48

Rather than converting the plist and manually editing it, you can set the option in one step. In the Terminal, run:

defaults write com.google.chrome IncognitoModeAvailability -integer 1

Then reboot or run:

killall cfprefsd

to reload the plist cache. It is not enough to quit and relaunch Chrome, or even to logout and login again.

IncognitoModeAvailability can be set to 0, 1, or 2:

  • 0 means Incognito is enabled
  • 1 means Incognito is disabled
  • 2 means Incognito is forced
  • The killall really is key (I was looking to re-enable). Strangely no chatbot can answer this simple question
    – NelsonGon
    Feb 18 at 0:20

Here's an updated way for macOS Sierra.

  1. Install a plist editing program like PrefSetter.
  2. Using Finder, go to the ~/Library/Preferences/ folder.
  3. Copy and paste an existing plist file, (I used com.google.Keystone.agent.plist).
  4. Now open that copied file using PrefSetter, and rename it com.google.Chrome.
  5. Delete all existing keys, and create a new key, giving it the name: IncognitoModeAvailability.
  6. Under class, choose Integer, and under value, enter 1.
  7. Now save this file, and copy and paste it into the /Library/Preferences folder as well. (Remember this isn't the same folder as ~/Library/Preferences folder)
  8. Restart your computer, and viola, it should work!
  • On Mojave here. Does 1 mean to disable? So 0 means to enable? Which sounds very backwards.
    – Jonny
    Jan 30, 2019 at 5:29
  • Checked chromium.org/administrators/… which also says 0 would mean incognito mode enabled, 1 is incognito mode disabled. Mine is disabled for some reason but setting it to 0 and restarting does not help. Set that in both ~/Library/Preferences/com.google.Chrome.plist and /Library/Preferences/com.google.Chrome.plist.
    – Jonny
    Jan 30, 2019 at 5:41
  • ^ Turned out I was connected to a network where that value is forced to 1. You can find the forced policies at this url in chrome: chrome://policy/
    – Jonny
    Jan 30, 2019 at 5:48

I've seen a bunch of very complicated directions/suggestions for how to disable Incognito in Google Chrome for Mac OS X, but I've found a much simpler method.

Simply open up Chrome, click on "Chrome" in the upper-left hand corner; click on "Preferences"; click on "Settings"; scroll to the very bottom and click on "Show Advanced Settings"; scroll to the very bottom and click on "Reset Settings." Voila! But, now your settings are at their original settings, so you'll now have to go and reset those settings that you want to change from their original state.

  • 2
    How does that disable it? It might switch it off, but you can always switch it back on.
    – Tetsujin
    Jun 30, 2015 at 9:06
  • 1
    Agreed. This may shut incognito mode off temporarily, but does not disable it. Aug 18, 2015 at 19:35

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .