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.

These cookies are specific to your interactions with a website. They may be used after you leave the website to process those interactions (such as buying a sweater). Although cookies usually expire after a set period of time, clearing them is good for your device’s functionality. It also protects your privacy. In this article we will show 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?

Most of the time, cookies are helpful. They assist you in navigating through recent searches. Websites use them to anticipate what content you need. Cookies generally do not carry harmful software like viruses or 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 browser cookies in Firefox

  1. Open Firefox. You open Firefox by clicking on the app’s icon which is orange in color and pictures a fox on a round-shaped background.
  2. Click on the menu icon (☰) located on the top right corner of your Firefox browser. After clicking once, a menu will appear.
  3. On the drop-down menu, click on “Library.” This will open a new page of the menu.
  4. Click on the “History” option.
  5. Click on “Clear recent history.”
  6. Select the time range to clear.
  7. Click on “Everything.”
  8. Click on the “Cookies” box.
  9. Click the “Clear” option.

That’s it! Now you know how to clear browser cookies in Firefox.

How to clear cookies in Chrome

  1. Open Chrome on your device.
  2. 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.
  3. Click on these three upright dots and a drop-down menu will appear.
  4. At the bottom of this dropdown menu there is an option “Advanced.” Click on it.
  5. Scroll down until you see the “Privacy and security” option and click on it.
  6. Navigate to “content security.” Here you will see the option “cookies.”
  7. Click “see all cookies and site data” and select “delete all.”
  8. Confirm this option by clicking “clear all.” That deletes all cookies.

How to clear browser cookies in Safari

  1. Navigate to the Safari menu and select the preferences. Or, you can hold down the cmd key and comma key at the same time.
  2. A new page will come up. Choose the “privacy” tab located at the top of your browser. (The seventh option from left to right.)
  3. Click on the “Remove all website data.”
  4. Click “Remove now” to proceed with the clearing of all cookies.
  5. If you want to select specific cookies, click on “details” and select the ones to remove.
  6. 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

  1. 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.
  2. Select the “Delete browsing history on exit” and click “Delete.” Press “OK” to complete.

Option 2

  1. Open the control panel and enter “Network and Internet.”
  2. Click on “Delete browsing history and cookies.”

Option 3: Delete browser’s history and cookies in the local group policy

  1. First, turn on the local group policy editor.
  2. 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

  1. 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.”
  2. Once you are in Windows Explorer, go to the hidden folder location and delete any listed cookies or .txt files.

Option 2: Internet Explorer

  1. Open the control panel.
  2. Open the “Internet Explorer” option and click on “Tools and internet.”
  3. On the browsing history, click “Delete” and you will have cleared all the cookies.

How to delete cookies on iPad

Like any other device, cookies also exist on iPads. Here is how to clear cookies on iPad.

  1. Open settings on your iPad.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 delete cookies on iPhone

Just like iPads, cookies are found on iPhones. Here’s how to clear cookies on an iPhone.

  1. Go to the settings app on your device.
  2. Find and tap on the Safari icon.
  3. This action will bring up a new page and you will be able to access the “Clear history and website data.”
  4. Tap on that option and a confirmation window will pop up giving you the option to delete and clear cookies.
  5. 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 delete 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.

  1. Locate the library option on your Mac, then the cookies folder, which is located in your home folder.
  2. 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 delete cookies on Android

  1. Open the browser on your Android device and click on the menu option.
  2. Tap or select the “more” option.
  3. Select the “setting” option.
  4. Navigate to the “Privacy settings” and select the “Clear cache” option.
  5. Click “OK” and all the cache will be deleted.
  6. Just below the “Clear cache” option, there is another option to “Clear all cookies and data.”
  7. 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

There are specified methods of how to clear cookies on iPad. However, here are a few more tricks you can use to clear persistent cookies.

  • The first trick is to turn on anti-phishing blockers. You can turn this option on by tapping on settings then accessing Safari. Then turn on the “Fraudulent website” warning. This option alerts you every time you visit a suspected phishing website.
  • The next trick is to block iOS cookies. To activate this option tap on “Settings”, then Safari, then “block cookies.” After this, choose among the following options: “Block,” “Allow from the sites I visit,” or “Always allow.” In this case, choose to “block cookies.”
  • The last trick is to clear information from your iOS device.

Enabling or disabling cookies

There are times when you will want to enable cookies.

When you enable cookies, your device will save passwords and login credentials on specific sites you visit regularly.

It also allows the website owners to present information and content relevant to a specific group of users by analyzing their cookies. Enabling cookies also comes with great risk and disadvantages, including security threats, lower loading speeds, and a threat to the privacy of users.

Why it’s a good idea to clear cache and cookies

light bulb

Several recent events will prompt you to take action to clear cache and cookies. These events include the 2015 -2016 incident at Yahoo where hackers broke into their systems and stole proprietary codes relating to the Yahoo use of cookies. The use of this code by the hackers allowed them to forge cookies for up to 32 million Yahoo users, giving them unlimited access to the victims’ accounts without having to put in passwords. These attacks brought about a conversation about the dark side of cookies and cache. Yes, there are a lot of benefits in maintaining consistent cookie and cache data, but if things were to go wrong, your privacy would be compromised faster than the website’s ability to counter.

Are cookies bad?

Any expert will tell you that when it comes to technology, nothing is all bad. Whether you enable cookies depends on your assessment of what harm can come if cookies were intercepted through a hack—or a compromised system.

However, it is important to clear cookies once a month at least. Deleting should be more frequent when you visit questionable websites like those on the dark web. Or, if you notice a change in the performance of your device. Of course you’ll want to clear  browser cookies when you hear of a hack regarding a website you often visit. Websites are obligated to tell you if and when your privacy is compromised.

Pros of deleting cookies

  1. Clearing cookies aides in the protection of personally identifying information
  2. By deleting cookies, you enhance your device performance
  3. By deleting cookies and cache, you free up more space

Cons of deleting cookies

  1. Deleting cookies means your saved passwords are deleted
  2. Blocking cookies limits a user’s internet experience
  3. Pages load more slowly as a result of rebuilding the cache

Types of cookies

Session cookies

These are cookies that are used by online shops like Amazon and Alibaba to allow or aid you to keep items in your online basket when you are shopping online. These cookies self-erase once the browser is closed.

Permanent cookies

These cookies remain even after a user closes the browser. The cookies are kept and stored to be able to remember users’ login details as well as passwords. The law in many countries requires these cookies to be deleted after 6 months.

Third party cookies

These are cookies that are installed by third parties with the goal of collecting certain info regarding the user.

All the above types of cookies can be erased, blocked, or even reported in case of violation. They are specifically stored in your device, hence you have the power to delete or keep them. There are some devices and browsers that automatically show pop-ups in case the website tries to insert cookies in your device. This gives you the power to prevent cookies from being stored in your device.

It is advisable to always delete your cookies regularly especially when the performance of your device is affected. It’s no secret that cookies can be dangerous. However, deleting these cookies may lock you out of your favorite websites in case you forget your password.

Ensure you back up passwords and login credentials before clearing cache and cookies.

Conclusion

It is paramount that you are aware of the risks and benefits of cookies. You should know what steps and measures to put in place to ensure your privacy and browser experience are maximized. Make sure you delete cookies and cache often. If you are unable to delete cookies from you devices, please seek the advice of an IT expert. Now go get a real cookie.