Why can't a tab in a Private window be moved to a regular window?

It seems that one or more tabs in a Private window can only be moved to another Private window.

If a user chooses to move a tab in a Private window to a non-Private window, shouldn’t that option be available to him/her?

Why is that not possible?


Because that would completely defeat the purpose of a Private window.

The idea of a Private window is that anything in that window stays there, never leaves and no data that is accrued from it is saved during the browsing session (that is to say, up until that window is closed). Some data can be taken into a Private session — such as saved passwords, bookmarks, site history etc, but nothing goes leaves that window.

This is the case for tabs as well — you cannot just “move” a tab from a Private window to a standard window because that would be data/information leaving the Private session. It is an all or nothing deal.

Additionally, consider a case where this might be done on accident — because yes, accidents do happen. What if a tab in a Private browsing window were to accidentally be moved to a standard window? Not only will that tab appear when the browser is reopened, the history of visiting that tab (and any associated cookies or site data) is now saved in the browser — again, fully defeating the purpose of a Private window.

If you’re viewing a site in a Private window and instead want to move it to a standard window, copy the site address and paste it into a regular browsing window.

@mattches Thanks, I understand all that and am aware of the solution in your last paragraph. (One can also bookmark the tabs and then reopen them in a regular window. Based on what you wrote, I wonder why that’s possible.)

If the user who first opened the tabs in a Private window has now decided to move one or more of them to a regular window, it’s his/her responsibility to know the caveats that apply.

As ‘the person in charge’ he should be free to change the ‘mode’ if that’s what he wants to do. If he/she is later worried about the privacy of the content in any of those regular tabs he/she can always reopen them again in Private tabs.

In my view, it’s a matter of having Private mode for what the user wants it to do and not being bound by its default behavior for what the user doesn’t want it do.

It seems to me there’s an inconsistency in not being able to move a tab from Private to regular but being able to bookmark it and open it in a regular tab.

Maybe we just don’t think alike. :wink: