When someone talks about cookies, you may picture a sweet, crunchy, and mouth-watering baked treat. However, the types of cookies we’ll talk about in this article are the ones found in our phones, tablets, and computers. Cookies are small files that are automatically created by the websites we visit. They are stored on your device to ensure you have a seamless user experience.
The cookies are used to facilitate various functions on websites. They are usually added to your computer after you enter the site or after a certain interaction, and they usually expire after a certain time. With that said, it’s good practice both in terms of privacy and performance, to periodically clear them.
This article will tell you how to clear browser cookies. Different devices and browsers have their own way of clearing cookies. For that reason, we offer you a step-by-step guide on how to clear browser cookies for all your devices and browsers.
How do cookies affect you?
Usually, cookies help you browse more conveniently. They help websites provide you with more relevant content or deliver more relevant ads. They don’t normally carry viruses or other types of malware.
The real threat with failing to clear browser cookies is the risk of a cookie being used to collect and store your personal information.
Reputable companies take steps to protect their users from these types of threats. But sometimes we venture into the world of less reputable sites. This is where the risks arise.
Our guide on how to delete browser cookies starts with Firefox.
How to clear cookies on Firefox
- Open Firefox. To open Firefox, you have to click on the app icon – the round, orange image of a fox.
- Click on the menu icon (☰) located on the top right corner of your Firefox browser. After clicking once, a menu will appear.
- On the drop-down menu, click on “Library.” This will open a new page of the menu.
- Click on the “History” option.
- Click on “Clear recent history.”
- Select the time range to clear.
- Click on “Everything.”
- Click on the “Cookies” box.
- Click the “Clear” option.
That’s all there is to it – you can now clear your Firefox browser cookies.
How to clear cookies on Chrome
- Open Chrome on your device.
- Navigate to the far top right corner of your Chrome browser to an icon marked by three upright dots. These dots represent settings on the browser.
- Click on these three upright dots and a drop-down menu will appear.
- At the bottom of this dropdown menu there is an option “Advanced.” Click on it.
- Scroll down until you see the “Privacy and security” option and click on it.
- Navigate to “content security.” Here you will see the option “cookies.”
- Click “see all cookies and site data” and select “delete all.”
- Confirm this option by clicking “clear all.” That deletes all cookies.
How to clear cookies on Safari
- Navigate to the Safari browser menu and select the preferences. Or, you can hold down the cmd key and comma key at the same time.
- A new page will come up. Choose the “privacy” tab located at the top of your browser. (The seventh option from left to right.)
- Click on the “Remove all website data.”
- Click “Remove now” to proceed with the clearing of all cookies.
- If you want to select specific cookies, click on “details” and select the ones to remove.
- Click “remove.”
How to delete cookies on Windows 10
There are three ways to delete cookies on Windows 10.
Option 1: Deleting browser cookies in Internet Explorer
- Open the Internet Explorer browser and click on the “Tools” icon. It is the small gear icon located at the top right corner of your browser. A drop-down menu will appear.
- Select the “Delete browsing history on exit” and click “Delete.” Press “OK” to complete.
- Open the control panel and enter “Network and Internet.”
- Click on “Delete browsing history and cookies.”
Option 3: Delete browser’s history and cookies in the local group policy
- First, turn on the local group policy editor.
- Enable “Allow deleting history” on your PC’s configuration.
How to delete cookies on Windows 7
The process on how to delete browser cookies on Windows 7 is similar to that of Windows 10. However, there is a major difference in where to locate the necessary settings required to access the ”delete” option.
Option 1: Windows Explorer
- To delete cookies using Windows Explorer, you first open the “Folder” option and check the “Show hidden files.” Then, uncheck the “hide protected operating system files.”
- Once you are in Windows Explorer, go to the hidden folder location and delete any listed cookies or .txt files.
Option 2: Internet Explorer
- Open the control panel.
- Open the “Internet Explorer” option and click on “Tools and internet.”
- On the browsing history, click “Delete” and you will have cleared all the cookies.
How to clear cookies on iPad
Like any other device, cookies also exist on iPads. Here is how to clear cookies on iPad.
- Open settings on your iPad.
- Scroll down to the Safari option located in the left-hand column. Click on this option and a message will pop up on the screen warning you that your action will clear all cookies.
- Click on the option “clear cookies and data.”
Note that the iOS will close all tabs previously opened on Safari and will log you out on all websites. Be sure you know all your passwords and login information before deleting cookies on your iPad.
How to clear cookies on iPhone
Just like iPads, cookies are found on iPhones. Here’s how to clear cookies on an iPhone.
- Go to the settings app on your device.
- Find and tap on the Safari icon.
- This action will bring up a new page and you will be able to access the “Clear history and website data.”
- Tap on that option and a confirmation window will pop up giving you the option to delete and clear cookies.
- Tap on “Confirm” and instantly your phone will clear all the cookies, data, and browser history. Perform this action regularly for added security and stability.
How to clear cookies on Mac
Macs, like all other devices that allow users to browse, save cookies. Here is a step by step guide on how to clear cookies on Mac. It’s important to know that there are apps other than the web browsers that store cookies, and these can be deleted by completing the following steps.
- Locate the library option on your Mac, then the cookies folder, which is located in your home folder.
- After locating these files, you can delete them one by one or all at once.
Note that deleting cookies for specific apps will lose your settings. This includes your display settings. You may also need to log in again on the websites you use. However, once you log in again, the websites will recapture and save your login details.
How to clear cookies on Android
- Open the browser on your Android device and click on the menu option.
- Tap or select the “more” option.
- Select the “setting” option.
- Navigate to the “Privacy settings” and select the “Clear cache” option.
- Click “OK” and all the cache will be deleted.
- Just below the “Clear cache” option, there is another option to “Clear all cookies and data.”
- Select and click “OK.” This action will log you out of all open websites and will require you to log in again.
More tricks to clearing cookies on devices
On iPad, there are specified ways to delete cookies. Yet we have a couple more tips for you on how to delete persistent cookies.
- On iOS, you can actually block cookies by going to Settings->Safari and choosing the Block cookies option. This offers a few options on how to deal with cookies – you can Block them, choose to Allow them from the sites you visit, or Always allow them. Choose the Block option.
- Finally, you can simply clear the information from your iPhone or iPad.
To disable or not to disable – that is the question
Sometimes it makes sense to keep cookies enabled. There’s no denying that they make things easier by removing the need to remember passwords, for example – especially for your regularly visited sites.
As mentioned previously, cookies also increase the relevance of content you will see on websites because they help services track what you’re interested in.
With all that said, almost every type of cookie reduces your privacy by a little bit – some more, some less. This means that disabling them is a very valid consideration.
Why clearing your cache and your cookies is a wise thing to do
In the era of diminishing privacy, clearing cookies is a good idea and this is not so hard to illustrate by example. In 2015-2016, hackers breached Yahoo’s systems, stealing proprietary codes related to the cookies of around 32 million users. This gave the attackers the ability to forge cookies and thus gain access to millions of accounts.
And this is just one example – by allowing cookies to remain on your computer for a long time, you are giving advertisers and data mining companies the green light to track your online activities. This certainly doesn’t increase your privacy.
Cookies – bad or good?
As almost any expert will tell you, few things are black or white when it comes to technology – it’s all about how you use it. The choice to enable or disable cookies is a maths problem of weighing convenience against privacy and, in some senses, performance.
With that said, you should still remove them at least once a month – more, if you’ve been visiting shady websites or seeing a drop in browser performance.
Short-term cookies like these remain on your computer until you close your browser. An example of their use is by e-commerce websites, allowing you to effectively use online shopping carts.
This term refers to those cookies that stay on your device from session to session. In other words, they don’t self-erase after you close your browser. An example of such cookies are those that store your login credentials. Legally, most countries require these cookies to expire after a certain period of time, which can often mean months.
Third party cookies
You can minimize your exposure to these third-party trackers by using browser extensions like Ghostery.
It’s important to know what you’re up against when it comes to cookies. Consider how much privacy you’re willing to give up for the sake of convenience and act accordingly. And, regardless of the situation – be sure to clear them occasionally.