View LinkedIn profiles anonymously

Have you ever wanted to look at someone else’s LinkedIn profile without them knowing?

I can think of any number of reasons why you legitimately might want to check out a profile on LinkedIn anonymously, but the default setting is that the object of your attention will know that you have done it and who you are.

Actually, it’s quite simple to change this. You can choose, instead, to allow the other party to see your “Private profile characteristics” or just that another LinkedIn member has looked at their profile (see Figure 3). When I first learned of this I assumed that there would be a big catch – that you would only be able to do this if you were a “Premium” (ie “paying”) LinkedIn member. Not so. You can also do it with a free membership (but, of course, you get a better deal if you are a paying member – see next paragraph).

There is one downside, however, that you need to be aware of. If you choose to go “undercover” with a free membership then there’s a “tit for tat” in that you will no longer see the identity of anyone else who views your own profile. Moreover, your history of people who have already viewed your profile will be wiped out (so you might want to do some “screencaps” before invoking private mode). Apart from that, there is no other catch that I know of. There’s nothing stopping you, for instance, from changing from “normal” to “private” to have a sneaky peek at someone’s profile and then changing back (apart from losing your history of viewers as explained above). If you have a premium membership then you can “go private” and retain the history of the last 90 days worth of viewers.

The way to change the settings on a computer is as follows:

  • Sign in to LinkedIn in the usual way
  • Click on the “Me” icon at the top right of the screen and then on “Settings & Privacy” (Figure 2)
  • Down the lefthand side, click on “Visibility”
  • To the right of “Profile Viewing Options”, click on “Change”
  • Click the circle next to the preferred option

The way to change the settings on an iPhone is as follows:

  • Sign in to LinkedIn in the usual way
  • Tap on your profile icon at the top left of the screen
  • Near the top left of the screen, tap on “Settings”
  • Tap on “Visibility”
  • Tap on “Profile Viewing Options”
  • Tap on the preferred mode

All of the illustrations here pertain to changing the settings on a computer:

LinkedIn - settings
Figure 1

LinkedIn - visibility
Figure 2

LinkedIn - privacy options
Figure 3