Right now the best way to watch YouTube on your phone without being tracked by its ever-knowing recommendation algorithm is to either completely log out or pause your viewing history. But Android Police report that Google is experimenting with an Incognito mode inside the YouTube for Android app.
The mode has appeared on the account settings page, right under the switch account and sign out options, according to screenshots posted by Android Police. Like Google Chrome's Incognito mode, activating the feature in the YouTube app reportedly stops the service from saving whatever videos you watch and temporarily ditches whatever subscriptions you may have, all while letting you remain signed into your account.
Screenshot: Android Police
YouTube's recommendation algorithm keeps finding its way into the spotlight. Last year, disturbing children's videos recommended by the algorithm sparked controversy and in March conspiracy videos on the platform raised further concerns. These factors can make watching YouTube a needlessly stressful experience, as the service's recommendation algorithm can push you down a wormhole of creepy Elsa and Spiderman videos with a single errant click.
The feature might seem small, but it could help alleviate that user anxiety. YouTube's video recommendations are typically really good, maybe even too good, and part of that reason is because it's so responsive to what content you consume. An easily accessible Incognito mode could allow for some much-needed privacy.
We reached out to YouTube for comment on the reported feature and will update this story with any additional information.