How to Disable Safari Private Browsing on Mac
If you hand your Mac over to someone else, for example, you may not know what they were doing during their browsing sessions. Put kids in the equation, and it becomes a serious problem because of the many harmful websites.
This is why you may want to disable the incognito windows of Safari on your Mac. If you installed macOS 10.15 Catalina, this is easily achievable due to the presence of Screen Time. Let's see how.
Use screen time to turn off Safari private browsing
Screen Time debuted on iPhone and iPad alongside iOS 12. Not only does it offer the ability to keep an eye on activity on all of your iOS devices, but it also contains a fair amount of web content restrictions . Restricting adult content in particular not only blocks all NSFW content but also disables Safari's private browsing tabs.
And with macOS Catalina, you also get Screen Time with a similar set of features for your Mac. The following steps will show you how to configure screen time and enable adult content restriction to disable private browsing in Safari.
Note: The following steps apply to standard administrator and user accounts in macOS Catalina.
Step 1: Open the Apple menu, then click System Preferences.
2nd step: Click on the option labeled Screen Time.
Note: If screen time is already enabled for your Mac, go to step 4.
Step 3: Click Options in the lower left corner of the Screen Time panel. Follow by clicking on the Activate option in the upper right corner of the screen to activate the screen time for your Mac.
Step 4: Click the side tab titled Content and Privacy. Follow by clicking the Activate button in the upper right corner of the Screen Time panel.
Step 5: Click the radio button next to Limit Adult Websites in the Web Content section. Finally, exit the Screen Time panel.
Note: Selecting this option will block sites that contain adult content. However, you can use the Customize button in the Web Content section to whitelist specific sites.
And that's it. Private browsing in Safari is now disabled. You can no longer open incognito windows in Safari – the New Private Window option in the Safari File menu will be grayed out and the associated Shift + Cmd + N keyboard shortcut will not work either.
If you want to re-enable private browsing in Safari on your Mac, go back to the Screen Time panel, click Content & Privacy, then click Unrestricted Access.
Other devices and screen access codes
If you have other macOS or iOS devices linked to your Apple ID, your restrictions will also be reflected by default. If you want to prevent this from happening, click the Options button in the lower left corner of the Screen Time panel. Then just uncheck the box next to Share on all devices.
You can also configure a screen time access code via this screen, which will prevent anyone from messing around with your screen time settings. To do this, check the box next to Use screen time access code. If you already have a screen access code for your iPhone or iPad, you can use it instead, as long as the Share on multiple devices box is checked.
Disable Safari private browsing in guest mode
By default, macOS Catalina enforces adult content filters when logged in as a guest user. This means that private browsing in Safari is already disabled. But if that doesn't seem to be the case, here's what to do. Start by clicking on the Users and Groups option in System Preferences.
On the Users and Groups screen that appears, click the padlock icon in the lower left corner of the screen, then select Guest User. Finally, check the box next to Limit adult websites. This should turn off incognito windows when using Safari as a guest.
However, all data in the guest user account is deleted each time a user logs out, which defeats the purpose of disabling private browsing in the first place. But putting limits on NSFW content is still a big plus.
Remote screen time management
Screen Time for macOS Catalina also allows you to turn off private browsing in Safari remotely, which adds to the convenience when managing a Mac belonging to a family member. To do this, you need to add the person using the Family Sharing option, found in the System Preferences panel.
Then head to the Screen Time panel, use the drop-down menu below your profile photo, and then go to the family member's profile.
Make the required changes (all screen time controls remain the same) and you're done. Remember that Safari restrictions will also apply to all iOS or iPadOS devices owned by the family member.
Too much privacy
Confidentiality must be respected. But not when you want to know what happens when someone else is using your Mac. And with Screen Time, nothing prevents you from completely deactivating the incognito windows of Safari.
So why did you disable private browsing in Safari? Let us know in the comments.
Then: Is Chrome also installed on your Mac? Here's how to turn off incognito mode in Google’s browser.