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"It is clean”. Easy and quickly steps for cleaning browser history

Published: July 5, 2021 By Darina Shramko

Cookies watching you!

Did you know that cookies can track you? Oh, you will probably think that I have read too much many detective novels, and now I see a secret meaning in everything. However, books have nothing to do with it. I'm talking about the realities of the 21st century in which we unknowingly put our privacy at risk. Why is this happening?

When you visit a website on the Internet, a message appears at the bottom or side of the page that mentions the word "cookies". You are asked to agree to the cookie policy. You, of course, agree because you are much more interested in the purpose of a visit to the site than some incomprehensible cookie.

So, cookie files aren't at all a sweet delicacy. Although the term has a tasty name, its impact on our lives is as bitter as tar.

What are cookies, how dangerous are they, and how to clear cookies in the browser - you will get an answer to these and many other questions right now!

This article also:

  • a practical guide for Internet users on how to delete cookies from the browser
  • a practical guide for students of technical faculties
 

Disclaimer

This article discusses the tools that should use to clear cache and cookies. All information is provided only to inform you about the principles of using cookies. Any illegal use of the article materials is prohibited.

What are the cookies?

Yes, you understood everything correctly: the term that an active use in the vocabulary of programmers got such a "sweet" name.

According to one of the versions, the name of the cookie comes from the word magic cookie. Miracles, isn't it? A "magic cookie" in the language of programmers is a set of data that a program receives and then sends back to the addressee unchanged.

It's believed that the creator of the cookies is Lou Montulli, who in the distant 1994 decided to use them for a web connection. Thus, the use of cookies has solved the problem of reliably implementing a virtual shopping cart.

Cookies are small text files that store on our computer's hard drive. Cookies create to remember and track our online activities. Do not be surprised if, after searching for umbrellas on Google, you will be seeing ads for umbrellas on the Internet for another week.

The cookie algorithms work so that ads generate based on your queries in the search engine.  Suppose you are fond of reading and often order literature from online stores. In that case, advertising will offer you to buy a new book. At first glance, the use of cookies seems innocuous because they look like our helpers who select ads based on our interests.

However, not everything is as good it first glances. In addition to your interests, cookies remember the IP address of your computer, the date and time of visiting sites, browser version, and other confidential data.

Are cookies safe?

Cookies themselves are not dangerous − they are just text files that cannot harm you in any way. Indeed, the file cannot harm, but transferring cookies to third parties is already causing concern. Attackers can intercept or track your cookies to obtain detailed information about your online life.

As a rule, the information write in cookies encrypt before being sent, and the file itself is transmitted using the HTTPS protocol. Encryption of information is necessary to protect user data from theft or unauthorized access. The site developers are responsible for encryption and protocol transmission.

Cookies are temporary and permanent. Persistent cookies remain on the computer when we close the tab with the site, and temporary ones are immediately deleted. It depends only on the website developer which cookies will be used.

As a rule, developers prefer persistent cookies as they guarantee stable data collection. Users do not need to enter their password when they re-enter the site − cookies remember all the data. Transient cookies are used less frequently, as it is not profitable for marketers to lose data on user actions.

Of course, temporary cookies take up much less memory on your computer.

Users can only hope for the integrity of the competence of the developers. All the user can do is prevent the browser from collecting cookies or delete them from the browser and computer.

By the way, I also advise you to clear cache files.

The cache is a fast memory of the device, where copies of frequently used data are stored. What does it mean? Let me explain: for example, you love listening to The Beatles over breakfast. Data about listening to all songs record in an area of ​​memory. If you don't clear the cache, the memory area will become clogged. And besides, for security reasons, it is helpful to regularly clear cache. Why would anyone else know what music you listen to at breakfast, right?

So, it's time to start the most important thing - clear the cache and cookies on your device.

How to clear cache and cookies?

Deleting cookies will help you save space on your hard drive and protect your data from information collection. However, you can't visit online stores and other resources that only work with cookies. I recommend that you regularly clear cache and cookies in your browser and on your computer but don't permanently disable cookies.

How to delete cache and cookies in Google Chrome

These recommendations will be relevant for Windows and macOS users.

1) Open Chrome browser.

2) Open the Settings menu (upper right corner of the browser).

Setting menu on Chrome in Windows

3) Open the Privacy and security.

4) Click on the Clear browsing data section. Opening this section, you can choose the frequency of deleting cookies.

Clear browsing data on Google Chrome in Windows

5) Having decided on the settings, click Clear data.

I also advise you to clear the cache to speed up the loading of sites in the future.

How to clear cookies on Android

Recommendations are relevant for phones and tablets on the Android platform.

1) Open Google Chrome browser.

2) To the right of the address bar, click the More - Settings button.

More tab on Chrome in Android smartphone

 

Settings menu

3) Select the Privacy and security - Clear browsing data. You have the option to personalize the selection of the cookies you want to clear.

Privacy and security tab

Clear browsing data tab

4) Check the items and click Clear data.

Clearing browsing data in Chrome on Android smartphone

For owners of iOS devices, similar instructions are relevant. You can follow these rules without hesitation since the functionality of Chrome on iOS devices is practically the same as on the Android platform.

How to delete cache on Firefox

The instructions are relevant for Windows and macOS users.

1) Open Firefox browser.

2) Click on Menu Bar – Privacy & Security.

Privacy & Security tab

3) Select Clear History. You can choose which cookies you want to delete.

4) Check your selection to ensure that only the files you really want to delete are selected.

5) Click Clear.

Clearing site data

By the way, I strongly recommend that you use the Firefox browser as it automatically blocks many third-party data tracking elements, including cookies.

How to clear cookies in Firefox on iPhone

Instructions are relevant for phones and tablets on the iOS platform.

1) Open Firefox browser.

2) Click on the Menu Bars – Settings.

Setting menu in Firefox browser on iPhone

3) Open Privacy and select Data Management.

Data Management tab

4) Tap on Clear private data.

Clearing private data

If you have a device on the Android platform, the above recommendations will be relevant. The browser interface is intuitive for Android and IOS users.

How to remove cookies in Safari on iPhone

1) Open Settings - Safari browser.

Open Safari on Settings

2) Scroll to Privacy & Security.

3) Click on Clear History and Website Data.

Privacy & Security tab

4) You can block all cookies on Safari. Choose Block All CookiesBlock All.

Blocking all cookies in Safari on IPhone

How to clear cache and cookies in Microsoft Edge on Windows PC

1) Launch Microsoft Edge − select Settings.

2) Select Privacy & security. Choose Block only third party cookies in Cookies.

Privacy & security tab

3) Select Choose what to clear. Choose Cookies and saved files, Cached data and files and click on Clear.

Clearing browsing data

How to remove cookies and cache in Opera on Windows PC

1) Open Opera browser.

2) In the upper left corner of the browser open Settings and scroll to Go to full browser settings.

Go to full browser setting in Opera

3) Select Privacy & Security – Clear browsing data.

Privacy & Security tab

4) Click Clear Data.

Clearing browsing data

This will clear the cache and cookies in the Opera browser.

For the Opera browser on the smartphone, the exact instructions are relevant.

Conclusion

Almost all Internet resources use cookies. It's beneficial for advertisers and marketers. Collecting user data helps to understand what products are in demand among users of different ages. Whether we like it or not, we will not be able to influence advertisers to stop tracking the actions of Internet users.

Cookies are useful because they remember our interests and provide accurate advertising recommendations that interest us. But…cookies collect confidential information about us.

We will not completely abandon the use of cookies, but it is in our power to minimize the impact of cookies on our lives. In this article, we discussed in detail how to restrict cookies and prevent browsers from tracking your online activities.

I will be happy to know that I helped you keep confidential data out of the eyes of nosy organizations that devalue a person's right to privacy.

Dear readers, in your opinion, are the problem of using cookies still relevant? Please, tell us what you think about this. I look forward to your feedback and comments!

Be safe and see you soon!

Author
Darina Shramko
Cybersecurity specialist and researcher.

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