May 14th 2008
By Mike Flaminio
Married men everywhere celebrated when Apple added "private browsing" to Safari. And, it does pretty much what it says--prevent the application from storing information, including history, downloads, Forms AutoFill information and searches.
Apple's documentation on the feature states: "You can make sure you don't leave your private information behind, without deleting other users' personal settings. Then when you turn off the private browsing feature, Safari resumes remembering your browsing history and other information."
A first-line, plausible deniability tool for the masses--cool!
However, as MacFixIt reader Christian Buerli reports, private browsing does not stop plug-ins from storing historical information.
For instance, even with private browsing on, the domain names of visited, Flash-enabled sites will be recorded to ~/Library/Preferences/Macromedia/Flash Player/#SharedObjects/.
The only way to prevent data from being stored by plugins is to turn them off--Safari > Preferences > Security and deselecting "Enable plug-ins."
Editor's note: If you're worried about a family member, etc discovering your predilection for cross-dressing poodle fanciers (whatever), Safari's private browsing is probably more than safe enough. If you're worried about criminal and / or government surveillance (ie NSA), then a properly folded and blessed tinfoil hat is perhaps your best defense...
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