By Liam Bush •

Google and Apple Finally Close Privacy Loophole

A few years ago – back in 2013 – we flagged what we considered to be a major problem with Chrome iOS. We blogged about it. TechCrunch ran a story about it. As did Gizmodo, The Verge, TNW and Cult of Mac.

The issue was this: when browsing in incognito mode on Chrome iOS, searches carried out in incognito windows weren’t strictly… well, incognito. So even if you thought your searches were concealed, when you switched back to standard browsing your history followed you there, showing up in the search bar. Not great.

Now, some three years later, it looks as though the issue has finally been addressed. Version 48.0.2564.104 of the Chrome iOS app (released 8th February 2016) now prevents writing to local storage within incognito mode, thus solving the problem.

The change came about when Google implemented Apple’s new WKWebView. Not only does this make the app faster and less likely to crash, it also implements a ‘websiteDataStore’ for each tab. This means private data in an incognito tab can be kept private by giving it a read-only datastore. So in other words, Apple created a brand new class with additional functionality, which in turn Google could use to fix the longstanding bug.

We put all this to the test and can confirm the issue is finally sorted – you can check it out in the comparison videos below. This is obviously great news for end users. It finally means the searches they make in incognito mode remain private. Which is, of course, precisely what they should have been in the first place.