In this article, you will learn everything about LinkedIn Private Mode, what it is, when to use it, and when to disable it. Also, we have included simple step-by-step instructions on how to enable and disable Private Mode, along with the differences between free and LinkedIn Premium features.
LinkedIn is a social media platform designed specifically for professionals to network, share ideas, and seek potential job opportunities. One of the features LinkedIn offers to help users control their activity and maintain their privacy is the “Private Mode” function. It’s available both to free and premium accounts.
What is private mode?
Private Mode is a feature in LinkedIn that enables users to browse other LinkedIn profiles anonymously. When you visit a LinkedIn profile in private mode, your profile information will not be displayed in the profile owner’s “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” section, maintaining your privacy.
To enable or change your privacy settings, follow these simple steps:
1) Click on your profile image in the top right-hand corner of the LinkedIn homepage and select Settings & Privacy.
2) Choose “Visibility” on the left part of the menu. Once the page loads, select “Profile viewing options“.
3) Finally, you can choose which one of the three possible options you want to use. The first option is the default one.
4 Reasons for Using Private Mode
There are several reasons why LinkedIn users choose to browse profiles in private mode but most common reasons include:
- Staying anonymous: Perhaps the most obvious reason is to maintain anonymity when visiting LinkedIn profiles. For example, when you’re browsing competitor profiles, doing research on a certain industry, or scoping out potential candidates.
- Protecting personal privacy: Sometimes, you may wish to browse LinkedIn without sharing your personal or professional information. In this case, using private mode can offer extra privacy.
- Job hunting: Many users employ private mode when looking for new job opportunities to avoid alerting their current employers or clients. By using the private mode, you can discreetly visit company pages, hiring manager profiles, or potential coworker profiles.
- Reducing the risk of spam: Some users may find that after visiting another person’s profile, they receive unwanted messages. Browsing in private mode can help reduce the risk of unsolicited contact.
Both Free and Premium LinkedIn accounts can use the benefits of LinkedIn private mode, however, there are some key differences.
Private Mode Options for Free Users
LinkedIn’s private mode allows users to browse other people’s profiles anonymously. Users have the option to toggle between three privacy settings for their profile viewing:
- Your name and headline: This option displays your full name, headline, and profile picture to the person whose profile you view. This is the default setting for free accounts.
- Private profile characteristics: This option will show the person you viewed their profile and only display generic information about you. Information includes small details like your industry and job title. Your name and profile picture will not be shown.
- Private mode: Selecting this option allows you to browse profiles completely anonymously. The person whose profile you viewed won’t know that you visited.
When you use the second or third private mode as a Free user, you won’t be able to see who views your profile. To reset this, simply switch back to the default option. Premium users can see who views their profile on any privacy setting.
Although free LinkedIn users have the ability to browse profiles anonymously, LinkedIn Premium subscribers enjoy additional benefits:
- Full anonymity by default: Premium users can browse profiles anonymously while still being able to see who viewed their profile.
- Premium profile viewing statistics: With a premium subscription, you will receive access to more detailed and insightful statistics about the people who view your profile. This valuable information can help you make more strategic networking decisions and identify potential opportunities.
- Improved search results: LinkedIn Premium offers advanced search filters and personalized search suggestions. These can help you find the right people and companies faster.
These private mode benefits are available on all four types of LinkedIn Premium subscriptions: Premium Career, Premium Business, Sales Navigator, and Recruiter Lite.
How Your Personal Information Is Protected
LinkedIn Private Mode allows users to visit other profiles without revealing their identity. When you set Private Mode, the person whose profile you are viewing will not be able to identify you. However, it’s essential to understand that the privacy provided by this feature is limited.
While you are in Private Mode, your name, headline, and profile picture will be hidden from the person whose profile you have visited. Instead, they will see a notification in their “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” section showing that someone viewed their profile anonymously. Your name may also be replaced with characteristics such as “LinkedIn Member” or “Someone from X industry.”
However, be aware that LinkedIn still records your profile views and statistics even when you’re in Private Mode. Some users might receive notifications stating, “Someone at your company viewed your profile” which might enable them to conclude who the anonymous viewer is, especially when working for a small organization.
LinkedIn is a valuable platform for professionals to network, share resources, and search for jobs, however, sometimes it’s more beneficial for users to use LinkedIn’s “Private Mode.”. Let’s explore when it’s best to use Private Mode, and how to engage with connections while using this feature.
When to use Private Mode?
LinkedIn Private Mode is an excellent option when you want to browse LinkedIn profiles and engage with other professionals discreetly. However, there are other instances where it can come in handy:
- Researching Competitors: If you want to gather information about your competition or people working in the same industry, Private Mode lets you view their profiles without alerting them to your presence.
- Job Hunting: When searching for a new job, it can be useful to browse company profiles and employee information without making your activity public. By using Private Mode, you can explore job opportunities and gain insight into potential employers discreetly.
- Professional Assessment: If you want to evaluate your skills, achievements, and experience in comparison to other professionals in your industry, Private Mode lets you view their profiles without disclosing your identity.
- Building a Target List: Use Private Mode to view and identify potential contacts, clients, or partners for future projects without them knowing you checked their profile.
Before enabling Private Mode, remember that it disables some key features like “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” and “Viewers of this Profile also Viewed” sections if you are not a premium user.
When to disable Private Mode?
When you want a potential connection to notice you, it’s essential to switch from Private Mode to Public Mode. This is because being visible to people is vital when networking on LinkedIn, as it establishes trust and credibility. In order to disable private mode, just repeat the steps we listed at the start of this guide. Just make sure you choose the first privacy option that says “Your name and headline”.
If you use private mode, the person who you search for won’t be able to see these on your profile:
- Mutual interest: When connecting with someone new, they usually look at shared experiences, interests, or mutual connections.
- Relevant Content: Shared articles, blog posts, and updates that are relevant to your industry or your connections’ interests.
- Discussions: Comments on your connections’ and influencers’ posts that showcase your expertise and promote conversations.
- Endorsements and Recommendations: Endorsements of your connections’ skills and thoughtful recommendations for people you’ve worked with. The more support you offer, the more likely you’ll receive similar recognition.
- Groups: Your participation in LinkedIn groups that focus on your industry or area of expertise which includes your posts, comments, and similar.
When you have the private mode enabled, you miss out on the opportunity to show your optimized profile. Instead, use private mode only when doing some kind of research, but keep the default mode on for new potential connections.
Some users may prefer alternative methods to ensure their privacy on LinkedIn for various reasons, like restrictions or limitations of private mode. Let’s see what are your alternative options for remaining private without using the private mode.
Incognito Browser and Its Suitability
Incognito browser mode is a feature available in most popular web browsers, such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Edge. When browsing in incognito mode, the browser does not store any information about your browsing session, including your history, form data, or cookies. This can be useful for maintaining privacy when accessing LinkedIn.
However, the incognito mode doesn’t entirely hide your online activity. LinkedIn may still be able to track your browsing behavior and identify you through various means, such as browser fingerprinting, which can collect unique information about your browser and device.
Incognito mode is a useful alternative to LinkedIn’s private mode, but it has some limitations. It is best used when you want to keep your browsing history private from other users of your device, rather than ensuring complete anonymity from websites and online platforms. The downside of using alternative methods is that LinkedIn will sometimes prevent you from viewing the profile unless you log in.
Google Chrome & Opera: Windows, Linux, or Chrome OS: Ctrl + Shift + N, Mac: Press ⌘ + Shift + N.
Mozilla Firefox: Windows, Linux, Chrome OS: Ctrl + Shift + P, Mac: ⌘ + Shift + N
Microsoft Edge: Windows, Linux, Chrome OS: Ctrl + Shift + P, Mac: ⌘ + Shift + P
There are several third-party tools and extensions available that can help you maintain privacy and discretion while browsing LinkedIn. These alternatives come in various forms, from proxy servers to VPNs and even browser extensions:
- Virtual Private Networks (VPNs): VPNs are a popular tool for maintaining privacy and security while browsing the internet. A VPN encrypts your internet connection, hides your IP address, and routes your online traffic via a remote server. When using a VPN, you can access LinkedIn anonymously, without revealing your identity or location.
- Proxy Servers: Proxy servers act as intermediaries between your computer and the internet, allowing you to browse the web anonymously by hiding your IP address. While a VPN offers a higher level of encryption and security, proxy servers can still offer you increased privacy while accessing LinkedIn, especially if you need to view public profiles without being logged in.
- Browser Extensions: Another way to ensure private browsing on LinkedIn is through browser extensions that focus on security and privacy. One such extension is Privacy Badger, which blocks spying ads and invisible trackers, ensuring your browsing remains private. For those using Chrome or Mozilla, there are different extensions to view LinkedIn anonymously.
One thing to keep in mind is that these alternative ways can stop working overnight if LinkedIn decides to change something in its code. Using incognito browser mode, VPNs, proxy servers, and browser extensions can all offer alternative methods for maintaining your privacy while browsing LinkedIn, with varying degrees of effectiveness.
LinkedIn Private Mode allows users to view others’ profiles anonymously, preventing their names or profile information from appearing in the viewed person’s “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” section. This feature is beneficial for users who desire privacy while researching potential connections or scouting potential job opportunities.
To enable Private Mode, first, click on the “Me” icon at the top of the LinkedIn homepage. Then, select “Settings & Privacy,” followed by “Privacy” in the top center. Scroll down to the “Profile viewing options” section and choose “Private mode.”
3. Does using Private Mode impact my own “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” feature?
Yes, activating Private Mode affects your “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” feature. When using Private Mode, you will not be able to access complete information on individuals who viewed your profile, only limited data such as demographics and general industry fields.
LinkedIn Private Mode is available for both free and Premium account users. However, features regarding the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” section may be limited to free accounts compared to Premium accounts.
5. Can I see a profile of someone who blocked me?
No, regardless of the private mode option that you have turned on, you cannot see the profile of someone who blocked you on LinkedIn.
6. Can I still send connection requests and messages?
Yes, you can send connection requests and messages while using Private Mode. However, be aware that your anonymity may be compromised once you reach out to that person since interacting with others requires disclosing your identity.
7. Can I appear partially anonymous to others while using Private Mode?
Yes, you can choose to display limited profile information, such as your position and industry, without revealing your name when using Private Mode. To achieve this, select the “Anonymous LinkedIn Member” or “Someone at your organization” option under the “Profile viewing options” in your privacy settings.