Cookies are good – for the most part – as they help the websites present the data personalized to your preferences. Most cookies are safe and cause no damage to your personal information or privacy. There are some bad ones, which are promptly identified and blocked by the advanced browsers we have these days. But, some of us still want to delete the cookies.
You must have noticed (it is difficult not to for it is so obtrusive) that what you look up for in Google often appears as a suggestion in the form of the advertisement on Facebook and other sites. Google and Facebook are two very different companies and probably rivals too. Does that mean they share your information with each other? Not really! Not in the way you are thinking. Instead, when you search for something on a search engine or visit a website, some bit of your browsing information is saved on your computer as what we call ‘Cookies’. The cookies from one website can be used by the other websites to present personalized content to you.
Online advertising companies also slip in the cookies on your computer so that they can learn your browsing habits and offer advertisements more relevant to you. All of this is legal. Remember, you checked the ‘I accept the Terms & Conditions’ checkbox while signing in? It is all laid out and documented there.
Most internet users are okay with such ways. There are some who find it intrusive and consider it as a privacy infringement. Thankfully, you can control as well as delete the cookies on your computer. This is exactly what we are going to learn in the proceeding text.
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Deleting the cookies completely could remove some important information related to your browsing history from the browser. While we will talk about clearing all the cookies at once, we will also look at how you can manage your cookies so you don’t have to delete them all.
There are plenty of things you can do with your cookies in Chrome. Chrome allows you to wipe out all the cookies or restrict the websites from which your browser receives the cookies. Let’s get started.
First of all, we need to go to Content Settings. You could visit the link chrome://chrome/settings/content or navigate to it. For that, click the ‘Menu’ button on the top right corner (three vertical dots) and choose ‘Settings.’ Scroll down a bit and click ‘Show Advanced Settings.’ Here, you can click ‘Content Settings.’
Here, you will see the Cookies section sitting right on top. Here you can see four cookie options. You can choose to receive cookies from all the websites without any restrictions. You can choose to accept cookies from all the websites but have them removed automatically once the browser is closed. Or, you could block all the cookies completely. This is not recommended as there are many websites that will not work unless you let them write cookies to your system. Then, there is the fourth option to block all the cookies and site data from third parties.
You can also see two buttons in this section – ‘Manage exceptions’ and ‘All cookies and site data…’
In case you wish to allow cookies from some sites and block from all others, you could do that by adding the URLs after clicking the ‘Manage exceptions.’
Deleting Cookies: If you wish to delete cookies individually or all of them at once, click ‘All cookies and site data…’ This will open another window where you can see the list of all the cookies saved thus far (the list may take a while to load depending upon the number of cookies saved).
If you want to delete an individual cookie entry, simply select it from the list and click the ‘X’ button on the right. If the list is too long and you cannot locate the cookie you wish to delete, there is a search button on the top right. Type in the name of the site or the keyword you have in mind. Delete the cookie once you have found it.
If you wish to clear all the cookies and start a clean slate click ‘Remove all’ button on the top right (next to the search box).
Be careful with the ‘Remove all’ button because when you click it, it will not pop any confirmation message. All your cookies will be removed without any further warning. Yeah! That’s kind of unbelievable but that’s what it is.
Note: Chrome syncs cookies and browsing history across the signed in devices. So, if you are signed in on multiple devices on Chrome with the same ID, your history may get affected on all devices. However, the locally saved cookies will not be affected. Clearing all cookies will NOT remove your saved passwords.
Mobile Devices: If you are using Chrome on a mobile device, such as Android or iOS, here is what you need to do. Open Chrome and go to Settings from the menu. Locate ‘Privacy’ and tap it. Now go to ‘Advanced Settings’ and select ‘Clear Browsing Data’. Since we want to delete only cookies, select ‘Clear cookies/site data’ and uncheck everything else (unless you wish to remove other information as well).
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Cookies have the same functions, role, and behavior across all the browsers. The only difference is that some browsers offer better cookie management than the others. For instance, the very popular Mozilla Firefox lets you customize the cookies in more ways than its more popular rival Google Chrome. But, honestly speaking, as a layperson, we don’t often use these tons of options presented to us. So, let’s take a look only at the things that matter. We will also learn how to remove all the cookies from Mozilla.
Just like Google Chrome, you can choose which sites the browser receives the cookies from. You can also permit all the cookies or simply block them all (we don’t recommend this). Or, you can block the site data and cookies from third parties. You can also have Firefox ask for your consent before writing any cookie to your system (a feature Google Chrome doesn’t offer at this moment.)
Delete Firefox Cookies: To go to the cookies section run Firefox and click on the ‘Tools’ button on the top right (three horizontal lines). A drop-down will appear. You need to click ‘Options’ on the list. Click ‘Privacy’ on the left pane.
In the History section, there is a dropdown ‘Firefox will’. Select ‘Use custom settings for history’ from that dropdown.
Click the button ‘Show Cookies…’ on the right. The list of cookies grouped by the website will appear. In a way, this is better than Chrome’s cookies list where each cookie appears individually. Here, if you wish to delete the cookies for a website, just select the group and click ‘Remove Selected’ button on the bottom left. To delete an individual cookie for a particular website, expand that site’s cookie list, select the cookie you wish to delete and click ‘Remove Selected.’
There is a search box at the top you can use to search for a particular cookie.
If you wish to delete all the cookies all at once, simply click ‘Remove All’ button at the bottom. Again, just like Chrome, the ‘Remove All’ button will remove everything in a single click without any warning. So, be careful.
Firefox Mobile: Open Firefox on Android or iOS. Open a new tab by tapping the ‘New Tab’ icon on the top right. You should be able to see the ‘Cog’ button on the top left; tap it. Scroll down a bit and tap ‘Clear private data.’ Select ‘Cookies’ on the next screen and then tap the ‘Clear Private Data’ button again. All the cookies on the mobile are gone now.
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WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER BROWSERS?
A vast majority of internet people use Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox browser. But, there are other browsers as well, such as Safari, Opera, Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer. A lot of Mac users access internet on Safari.
As you may have noticed, the process to delete cookies on Chrome and Firefox is easy and almost the same. All you need to do is navigate to the cookies section in the Settings. If you are using any other browser, you will need to follow the same process. The settings vary only slightly. You will be able to locate the Browsing history section very easily. </span