Google Chrome eases computer sharing with default-to-guest ability

Protect multi-user computers by defaulting Google Chrome to guest mode

Whether it's in a library, school or other organization, shared computers are generally a part of business as usual. The big issue that's long impacted this shared-computer system is when a user would log on to Google Chrome and forget to log off after their session. This would result in the next user potentially having access to the previous user's Google account and search history. Google has fixed that with a new default-to-guest feature.

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When you set up default-to-guest mode, either as an enterprise policy or command-line switch, it prevents this user overlap by defaulting to the guest mode in each session. So, no longer are you reliant on honesty prevailing and users logging the last person out if they forgot.

When Google Chrome is in guest mode, it will not save any browsing data, including:

  • Websites you visit
  • Websites you sign in to
  • Search history
  • Search suggestions

How to turn on default-to-guest mode on Google Chrome

Turning on default-to-guest mode is quick and easy in every major operating system. Here are the outlines for Windows, macOS and Linux.

Google Chrome default-to-guest for Windows

  • Exit all running instances of Chrome
  • Right-click on your "Chrome" shortcut
  • Choose "Properties"
  • At the end of your "Target:" line, add the following:
    • chrome.exe --guest

Once you complete the change, use the shortcut to launch Chrome.

Google Chrome default-to-guest for macOS or Linux

  • Quit all running instances of Chrome.
  • Run your favorite Terminal application.
  • In the terminal, find your Chrome application and append:
    • --guest

For example, a command in macOS may look like: /Applications/Google\ Chrome.app/Contents/MacOS/Google\ Chrome --guest

In Linux, a command may look like: google-chrome --guest

Once you've completed the change, launch Chrome.

Disabling default-to-guest mode on Google Chrome

Did you mistakenly activate default-to-guest mode or just need to disable it for some other reason? Switching back to normal Chrome operation is as simple as removing the command-line switch.

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