In this article, we’ll show you how to clear cookies from your computer, using the Chrome or Safari browser. These are generally the most popular browsers being used, with Google Chrome generally being used on Windows and Safari typically being used on Apple computers.
These guidelines can also be used for clearing cookies on your mobile, tablet or iPad. It’s also a good rule of thumb to clear cookies from computers on a regular basis, to ensure that you can browse the internet safely, privately and securely.
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What are cookies and what are they for?
Cookies are like small text files that are stored on your computer, and collected by the websites you visit. They are created by websites to store data and information about your browsing activities, e.g.) the types of things that you look at, for how long, etc.
They serve several purposes, including:
Cookies can help websites remember your preferences and settings, such as login information or items in a shopping cart, during a single browsing session.
Cookies also allow websites to tailor their content and services based on your previous interactions and preferences. They can remember your language preference, display customized advertisements, or provide personalised recommendations.
Tracking and analytics
Cookies enable website owners and third-party services to gather information about your browsing behaviour. This data is used for analytics, statistics, tracking and marketing purposes to understand user patterns, improve website performance, and deliver targeted advertising.
Cookies can be used for authentication purposes, allowing you to stay logged in to a website across multiple visits without needing to re-enter your credentials each time.
Whilst most cookies are collected for legitimate purposes, there is also the concern of third-party tracking, which raises privacy concerns. Knowing how to clear these cookies means that you can navigate the internet safely and keep your browsing activities private.
How to clear cookies from computer with Chrome
Clearing cookies isn’t as simple as just closing the tab or deleting your account with a particular website, they are in fact stored on the browser your computer is using and they require you to clear them manually.
Web browsers provide options to manage and control cookies, including the ability to delete them, block specific types of cookies, or adjust privacy settings related to cookies.
To clear cookies from your computer on Chrome, you can follow these steps:
- Open your web browser
Launch the web browser on your computer, by selecting the Google Chrome tab.
- Access the browser settings
Look for the settings menu, which is represented by three vertical dots or lines in the upper-right corner of the browser window. Click on it to open the menu.
- Navigate to the privacy or browsing settings
In the settings menu, search for an option related to privacy, security, or browsing. The exact name may vary depending on the browser you’re using, for Google Chrome browser, it is called ‘privacy and security’.
- Clear browsing data
Once you have selected this option, you should find an option to clear your browsing data. Click on it.
- Choose what to delete
A new window or tab will open, presenting you with various options to clear. Make sure to select the option to clear cookies or browsing history. You can usually customize the time range for which you want to delete the data, such as the past hour, day, week, or everything.
- Clear cookies
Check the box or toggle next to cookies or similar wording to indicate that you want to delete cookies specifically. You can also choose to delete other browsing data like cache, history, and saved passwords if desired.
- Initiate the deletion
Once you have selected the desired options, click on the button to clear or delete the data. The wording may differ depending on the browser, but it’s typically something like “Clear data” or “Delete.”
- Wait for the process to complete
The browser will start deleting the selected data, including cookies. This may take a few seconds or longer, depending on the amount of data being cleared.
- Restart your browser
After the deletion process is finished, close and reopen your web browser for the changes to take effect.
Please note that these instructions are general, and the exact steps might differ slightly depending on the browser you’re using on your computer and its current version.
How to clear cookies from Safari
Safari is the typical browser used on Apple products, this can be your Mac computer, iPad or iPhone. These steps work the same across all Apple devices, but keep in mind, it’s only useful if you actually browse using Safari. You need to clear cookies with the browser you use in order to make it effective.
Follow these steps to clear cookies in Safari:
- Open Safari.
- In the menu bar at the top, click on “Safari.”
- Select “Preferences” from the drop-down menu.
- Go to the “Privacy” tab.
- Click on the “Manage Website Data” button.
- In the new window, click on “Remove All” or select specific websites and click on “Remove” to clear their cookies.
- Click on “Done” to close the window.
- Restart your browser for the changes to take effect.
How to clear cookies from Firefox
If you are using Firefox as your computer browser, be sure to check out this video below on privacy extensions!
Why clear cookies?
Clearing your cookies regularly is a good practice to get into the habit of as it will be useful for:
Clearing cookies can be useful when troubleshooting certain website-related issues. Sometimes, corrupted or outdated cookies can cause problems with website functionality or prevent proper login. Clearing cookies can help resolve such issues by forcing the browser to create new cookies.
Storage and performance
Over time, cookies accumulate and take up storage space on your computer. Clearing cookies can help free up some disk space and potentially improve the performance of your browser.
Cookies can track your online activities and collect information about your browsing habits, preferences, and behaviour. Clearing cookies can help protect your privacy by removing this stored data and reducing the chances of your activities being tracked by websites or advertisers.
Important things to note when clearing cookies
It’s important to note that clearing cookies may change how you browse the internet, it will log you out of websites, remove personalised settings, and delete stored login information.
You may need to re-enter passwords and adjust settings again when you revisit websites. Therefore, it’s recommended to consider the potential implications before clearing cookies, especially if you rely on certain website functionalities or preferences.