Why you should avoid using Glean in private browsing mode

Using Glean in private browsing mode is (potentially) a very bad thing 🔥🔥🔥


To allow you to work both online and offline, Glean needs to save Events locally on your device until they are uploaded to the cloud.
When you are in private browsing mode, Glean is prevented from saving to your hard disk, and instead your changes are saved as temporary site data in your browser.

Private browsing modes (such as Incognito Mode in Chrome) are designed to delete all site data when you close your browser or exit private mode.

This means that if you close your browser before your Events have fully synced to the cloud, your recordings and notes will be irretrievably lost 😱

Private browsing also severley limits the storage available to web applications.
This could prevent your Glean recordings from being saved and uploaded properly. 

Existing Events which have been synced to the cloud are not affected

The potential issues with private browsing apply only to new Events or changes to existing Events made while you are in Incognito Mode.


What to do if you have launched Glean in private browsing mode:

You will likely see the following warning message as soon as you open Glean in private browsing mode:

Critical Storage Issue dialog. Critical storage issue. Please act now to prevent loss of recordings and notes. Are you using private broswing? If yes, reopen Glean in a normal browser window. Is your device storage low? If yes, free up storage space by deleting unwanted files from your device. Estimated storage available: XMB (approximately X minutes of recording)

If so - and you have not started recording or made any changes to existing Events -  simply open Glean in a normal browser window.


What if I have made changes to Events in private browsing mode?

1. Check your cloud sync status

Always check your online connectivity and cloud sync status before closing a private browser window if you have made any changes in Glean.
Do not close your private browser session until Glean has synced your changes to the cloud.

You will see one of the following cloud sync status icons in Glean's header bar:

Upload Complete icon in Glean's header bar. Icon is a cloud outline with a tick inside. Upload Complete
All changes have been saved and synced to the cloud - it is safe to close your private browser window.
Upload in Progress icon in Glean's header bar. Icon is a cloud outline with an upward facing arrow inside. Upload in Progress
Keep your private browser window open until the upload completes.
Offline icon in Glean's header bar. Icon is a cloud outline with a diagonal strike-through. Offline
Keep your private browser window open until you reconnect to the internet and the upload completes. 

2. Open Glean in a normal browser window

You can do this before closing your private browsing session:

Incognito Mode runs in a separate window from your normal browser windows.
You will be able to open Glean in a normal browser window without having to close your private browsing session.

Gif showing the process of opening Glean in Incognito Mode, seeing the Critical Storage Issue dialog, and relaunching Glean in a new (normal) browser window.

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