Main Page

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 14:35, 8 December 2013 by Markhurd (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki!
We have an explanation for all 1 xkcd comics, and only 42 (2%) are incomplete. Help us finish them!

Latest comic

Go to this comic explanation

Incognito Mode
They're really the worst tech support team. And their solutions are always the same. "This OS X update broke something." "LET'S INFILTRATE APPLE BY MORPHING APPLES!"
Title text: They're really the worst tech support team. And their solutions are always the same. "This OS X update broke something." "LET'S INFILTRATE APPLE BY MORPHING APPLES!"


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Is it Blondie, just with more details to her hair? Examples of web pages that needs cookies to work properly (or at all), pages that many people like to use and wold be annoyed if they did not work due to getting stuck in incognito mode

A woman (maybe a different version of Blondie, or Rachel from The Animorphs) warns Cueball about not browsing for more than two hours in incognito mode as he might get stuck there forever.

The caption explains that tech tips from Animorphs are the worst, i.e. the woman is an Animorph, and this was not good advice.

Animorphs is a book series by K. A. Applegate featuring several children who have a special power: they can morph into various animals whose DNA they have absorbed through alien technology. However, if they stay morphed for over two hours, they will get stuck in that form until they die.

In this comic Randall pokes fun at this by relating it to surfing in incognito mode/privacy mode in a browser. This mode is used for browsing the internet without storing cookies or browsing information. If you really did end up permanently in incognito mode by using it for more than two hours many would be trapped by now. The question is if getting trapped in that mode forever is a bad thing. But there are lots of pages that will not work properly without cookies. Nevertheless, the use of the incognito mode makes it harder for advertising networks to analyze your surfing behaviour.

It is unknown if this hypothetically "being trapped in incognito mode" would extend to real life. But if it did, then perhaps people would be unable to identify you and your interactions would leave no memories behind after you went away. An inverse kind of amnesia, where it is just you no one can remember.

The title text continues the idea that an Animorph tech support team would be the worst possible explaining that their solutions are always the same. And then it gives and example which references a common occurrence in the Animorphs book series wherein the protagonists uses their ability to morph into animals to infiltrate enemy strongholds. In the example it is an update for Apple's OS X (a popular commercial operating system), that broke something. The solution is to infiltrate Apple by morphing apples. That advise, however, is nonsensical within the rules for morphing, put forth in the books, since the children can only turn into animals and not into fruits like apples.

Animorphs has been referenced before, first only in the title texts of 1187: Aspect Ratio and 1360: Old Files, and then later in the main comic in 1380: Manual for Civilization, with the books being the actual manual...


[A woman with long blonde hair (maybe a version of Blondie) holds both arms up as she addresses Cueball who is sitting in an office chair working on his laptop.]
Woman: ...But remember—if you browse in incognito mode for more than two hours, you'll be trapped there forever!
[Caption below the panel:]
Animorphs tech tips

Is this out of date? Clicking here will fix that.

New here?

Last 7 days (Top 10)

Lots of people contribute to make this wiki a success. Many of the recent contributors, listed above, have just joined. You can do it too! Create your account here.

You can read a brief introduction about this wiki at explain xkcd. Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the wiki! We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between. If it is referenced in an xkcd web comic, it should be here.

  • List of all comics contains a table of most recent xkcd comics and links to the rest, and the corresponding explanations. There are incomplete explanations listed here. Feel free to help out by expanding them!
  • If you see that a new comic hasn't been explained yet, you can create it: Here's how.
  • We sell advertising space to pay for our server costs. To learn more, go here.


Don't be a jerk. There are a lot of comics that don't have set in stone explanations; feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.

If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.

Please only submit material directly related to —and helping everyone better understand— xkcd... and of course only submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited). Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users who repeatedly post such content will be blocked.

If you need assistance from an admin, post a message to the Admin requests board.

Personal tools


It seems you are using noscript, which is stopping our project wonderful ads from working. Explain xkcd uses ads to pay for bandwidth, and we manually approve all our advertisers, and our ads are restricted to unobtrusive images and slow animated GIFs. If you found this site helpful, please consider whitelisting us.

Want to advertise with us, or donate to us with Paypal?