Learn more about private browsing

Private browsing lets you browse the web without storing any history on your computer. Flash Player integrates with your web browser to automatically clear stored data in accordance with your browser's private browsing settings.

What is private browsing?

Web browsers typically keep a history of sites you have visited to help you quickly retrace your steps online. For times when you do not want other people to see your history, many browsers offer a "private browsing" mode. When you turn on private browsing, browsers do not store any history, allowing you to hide your activity from other users sharing the same computer.

When you use private browsing mode, your web browser stores several types of information only temporarily. Once you leave private browsing, the browser deletes that data, including the record of your visit in the browser's history, cookies, and cached image files. In normal browsing, the browser remembers your history even after you've closed and restarted your browser. Flash Player also automatically clears any data it stores during private browsing, helping to keep your history private.

Note: Some websites that expect to save data using local storage can exhibit unexpected behavior during private browsing sessions.

Browsers that support Flash Player private browsing

Current versions of the following browsers support private browsing integration with Flash Player 10.1 and later:

  • Google Chrome

  • Mozilla Firefox

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer

  • Apple Safari

How does private browsing work?

Before Flash Player 10.1, the player behaved the same whether the browser was using private browsing or not. Browsers could clear data temporarily stored during a private browsing session, but they were unaware of any data stored in Flash Player local storage (also known as local shared objects or LSOs). Information in Flash Player local storage is stored on a site-by-site basis, so that one website can never see information from another website. However, storing information on a site-by-site basis can still leave a history of previously visited sites that have used local storage.

Starting with Flash Player 10.1, Flash Player actively supports the browser's private browsing mode, managing data in local storage so that it is consistent with private browsing. When a private browsing session ends, Flash Player automatically clears any corresponding data in local storage.

Also, Flash Player separates the local storage used in normal browsing from the local storage used during private browsing. When you enter private browsing mode, sites that you previously visited cannot access information they saved on your computer during normal browsing. For example, if you save your password in a Flash-powered web application during normal browsing, the site does not remember it when you visit the site using private browsing.