Let’s not beat around the bush; the incognito mode built into Google Chrome for iOS is used for one thing, and that’s browsing websites that you wouldn’t want others to know you were browsing. But you should stop it — right now.
It appears that the latest release added a nasty bug that causes all of those sordid searches you make in incognito mode to be shared with the regular browser window — as well as Google Chrome on your Mac or PC if you have them all set up to sync with each other.
The bug was discovered by Parallax, a design, development, and marketing firm based in Leeds, England, that happens to share its name with the fancy new home screen affect Apple introduced to iOS 7. It’s demonstrated by Tom Faller, the company’s project manager, in the video below.
Faller notes that this is particularly concerning given Chrome’s universal navigation bar, which is used for both entering URLs and making searches, and sometimes causes users to accidentally perform a search when they enter a URL incorrectly. So if you know the address of the questionable site you wish to visit, incognito mode will still keep your secret safe — as long as you enter that address correctly.
Get it wrong, however, and you could end up with strange search terms appearing in the regular Chrome window. And if you sync your Google Chrome data across all of your devices, those searches will appear on those, too.
As far as we know, the bug only affects the latest Chrome release on iOS. Until it fixed, you may want to refrain from using its search function in incognito mode.