How To Stop Canvas From Tracking Tabs

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Year: 2021

There has been a rise in the use of online learning platforms like Canvas due to the ongoing pandemic. With the increased usage, there is a heightened concern over privacy. One of these concerns involves Canvas’s ability to track tabs during quizzes or exams. This feature raises a myriad of privacy issues, and most users are seeking ways to prevent such tracking. In this post, we will explore how you can stop Canvas from tracking tabs.

Understanding Canvas Tab Tracking

Canvas, like many other learning management systems, has an inbuilt feature that allows professors or course administrators to track student activity during an online quiz or exam. This includes tracking whether a student navigates away from the quiz page, possibly to access other resources. The primary purpose of this feature is to maintain academic integrity during exams.

However, it’s essential to understand that Canvas does not intrude on the student’s privacy beyond the browser tab where the exam or quiz is happening. It doesn’t have the capability to monitor what you are doing on other tabs or other applications on your device.

How to Stop Canvas from Tracking Tabs

While Canvas’s tracking mechanism is designed to ensure fairness in examinations, there might be situations where you do not want your tabs to be tracked. Here are a few ways you can stop Canvas from tracking tabs.

Use a Second Device

One of the simplest ways to stop Canvas from tracking your tabs is to use a second device. You can use your phone or a tablet to look up information while keeping your quiz tab open on your primary device. Thus, Canvas will not record any tab-switching activity on your end.

Use Incognito Mode

Another way to prevent Canvas’s tab-tracking feature is to use your browser’s incognito or private browsing mode. When you open a new incognito window, it operates separately from the rest of your tabs. Therefore, Canvas cannot track what you do in an incognito window.

Here’s how to open a new incognito window:

For Chrome: Press Ctrl + Shift + N

For Firefox: Press Ctrl + Shift + P

Use a Virtual Machine

If you’re tech-savvy and want to take another step to ensure your privacy, you can use a virtual machine (VM). A VM is a virtual environment that operates independently from your host operating system. Therefore, Canvas cannot track any activity outside the VM.

Please note that the legality and ethical implications of these methods depend on your institution’s policies. Always ensure that you are abiding by your institution’s rules and guidelines when taking online exams.


While Canvas’s tab tracking feature is designed to maintain academic integrity, it’s essential to understand its scope and how it can be mitigated. Whether you’re using a second device, incognito mode, or a virtual machine, remember to respect your institution’s rules regarding online exams.

Online education platforms have made learning convenient and accessible. However, as users, we must understand these platforms’ functionalities and respect the rules set by our institutions. Happy learning!