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LinkedIn private mode: How to browse privately

Sometimes you need more privacy, and LinkedIn private mode is a great tool you can use to increase your privacy on the platform. For various reasons, you don’t always want people to know that you’ve been looking into their profiles and their business. You can also gain strategic advantages from keeping your LinkedIn profile browsing private. In this article, we’ll look at how to turn on private mode in LinkedIn and the benefits you can gain from doing so.

LinkedIn private mode: How to browse privately

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

What is LinkedIn private mode?

LinkedIn private mode is your way to stay anonymous on LinkedIn when looking at other users’ profiles. It lets you look at profiles without showing your name and personal information to the users whose profiles you view. Although these users will know that someone has viewed their profile, they won’t be able to see who.

LinkedIn offers three different visibility modes:

  • Public mode. In LinkedIn’s full public mode, your name, company, position, and other personal information are all available for users to see.
  • Semi private mode. This mode doesn’t show your name but does display some private profile characteristics. You can set it to display the company you work for, your position, or both.
  • Private mode. This mode doesn’t show any information about you to the users whose profiles you view. Instead, they’ll only see you listed as “Anonymous LinkedIn Member.”

How to turn on LinkedIn private mode

While you can switch to private mode through both desktop and mobile applications, the process is slightly different.

Turn on LinkedIn private mode on desktop

The process of turning on private mode in LinkedIn on your desktop is straightforward:

  1. Open up your browser and log in to
  2. Click on your profile picture.
  3. From the drop-down menu, click on “Settings.”
  4. On the left side of the “Settings” window, click on “Visibility.”
  5. You’ll see a new menu called “Visibility of your profile & network.” Click the first item on the list, which is “Profile viewing options.”
  6. From the “Profile viewing” list, click on the bubble to select “Private mode.” You’re now able to view other LinkedIn members’ profiles without revealing your identity.

Turn on LinkedIn private mode on mobile

If you want to know how to set LinkedIn to private using a mobile app, the process is just as easy:

  1. Grab your mobile device and open up the LinkedIn app.
  2. Tap your round profile picture in the top left corner. This will open up a side menu.
  3. In this side menu, tap “Settings.” This will open up the menu.
  4. Tap “Visibility.” This will open the settings for “Visibility of your profile & network.”
  5. Tap the first item on the list, “Profile viewing options.”
  6. Tap “Private mode” to view other members’ profiles privately.

How to turn off LinkedIn private mode

It’s likely that you won’t always want to use private mode on LinkedIn, so you’ll need to know how to turn it off as well. There is no switch for turning private mode on and off directly, but instead you must choose one of the three visibility modes.

Whether you want to change your visibility status on desktop or mobile, all you need to do is follow the same steps outlined above and, this time, select a new option. If you choose the public or semi-private mode, that will essentially turn off private mode on LinkedIn.

When should you use private mode on LinkedIn?

There are plenty of reasons, personal and strategic, to use private mode on LinkedIn. These are the main ones we’ve encountered:

Private mode on LinkedIn for networking

LinkedIn is still the most popular social networking site for building work and business-related contacts. It makes sense, then, that many users want to build the biggest and best networks they can. One way that many people do this is by looking around at what other people in their industry are putting into their profiles and the sorts of people they’re able to attract. They can then take in these ideas privately and then use them to develop their own profile.

Private mode on LinkedIn for generating lead lists

If you’re looking for leads for your business, LinkedIn can be a goldmine. But before you reach out to new people cold, it’s useful to know more about who you’re contacting. This is a good reason to use private mode. You can collect information before you reach out so that your pitch is more appropriate, targeted, and professional when you give it in public mode.

Private mode on LinkedIn for doing competitor research

As in any other marketplace, it’s full of competition, and knowing how to use private mode on LinkedIn can help you improve your position. This helps you discover the competitors in your market without revealing yourself. You can privately look at what your competitors are and aren’t putting in their profiles and learn what’s effective to help you improve yours.

Private mode on LinkedIn for looking at potential candidates

If you’re a recruiter or a manager looking for new talent, LinkedIn is a great place to find professionals. At the same time, though, you don’t always want to get people’s hopes up just because, as a representative of your company, you’ve checked out their profiles. Using private mode when you look into candidates helps you gather information and look for best-fit candidates without them knowing who you are.

Private mode on LinkedIn for safety and security

When someone knows more details about you, it can make it easier to trust them. LinkedIn phishing attacks are just one of the tricks that threat actors use to con people these days.

So how can you protect yourself? You can always reduce the unnecessary personal details in your profile or restrict who can see it. You can also disguise your online behavior by using LinkedIn in private mode to attract less attention when you browse the profiles of strangers so you don’t unwittingly make yourself a target.

How to make your LinkedIn profile more private

There are many other ways to increase your privacy on this networking site:

  • Set your default viewing to semi-private mode when you’re not using private mode.
  • Delete any personal information.
  • Show only your last initial instead of your full last name.
  • Edit your profile’s visibility to limit who can see it (e.g., only people on LinkedIn, first- degree connections).
  • Adjust the settings for who can see your email address.
  • Disallow other users from being able to see your connections list or who you’re following.
  • Turn off representing your company so your name and information don’t automatically come up when people refer to your company.
  • Block your profile from being discovered when people search for your email address or phone number.
  • Don’t let your profile be discovered off LinkedIn.

All of these tips can help you increase the level of privacy you place on your profile, and you can adjust most of them in your settings. At the same time, it’s important to remember that LinkedIn is a social networking site, and the whole point of it is to make connections and meet people. So the more private you make your behavior, the fewer new people you’ll be able to meet and connect with.