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How to disable Chrome Incognito mode on macOS

Chrome has an incognito mode and we’ve discussed how you can disable it on Windows 10. The same trick doesn’t work on macOS but that doesn’t mean you can’t disable Chrome’s incognito mode on macOS. You can. The process is different and there are many, unnecessarily complicated solutions to this simple trick. Here’s how you can disable Chrome incognito mode on macOS without jumping through any hoops.

Disable Chrome Incognito mode

If you have Chrome open, quit it. Do not close the browser. Quit it to close it properly. You can do so by right-clicking Chrome’s dock icon and selecting Quit from the context menu.

Next, open Terminal and run the following command.

defaults write com.google.chrome IncognitoModeAvailability -integer 1

Once the command has been executed, run the following command.

killall cfprefsd

Open Chrome and the incognito option will be gone from the more options menu. Likewise, the Ctrl+Shift+T keyboard shortcut won’t open an incognito window either.

Executing this command will also add a ‘Managed by your organization’ message at the very bottom of the menu that opens when you click the more options button in Chrome. This won’t mean much. The browser will continue to work the way it normally did. If you execute the above commands from a normal user account, it is possible that you might have to enter the admin password.

To undo the change and get the incognito mode back, make sure you’ve quit Chrome and then run the following command.

defaults write com.google.chrome IncognitoModeAvailability -integer 0

Once the command has run, run this next one.

killall cfprefsd

This will bring incognito mode back to Chrome and the message ‘Managed by your organization’ will be gone. This works on macOS Catalina.

Edit the plist file

The other way to disable Chrome incognito mode on macOS involves editing or even creating a plist file. This file isn’t difficult to create but if you’re on macOS Sierra or later, editing a plist file is no longer simple. You need an app to open and edit these files. Xcode does the job but unless you develop on your Mac, it’s unlikely that you have it.

If you want to go with the plist route, create a new plist file and name it com.google.Chrome.plist. Enter the following in the file and save it.

<?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">
<dict>
<key>IncognitoModeAvailability</key>
<integer>1</integer>
</dict>
</plist>

Make sure you quit Chrome before you make changes to or create this file.

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