Here's something you probably don't think about often: clearing tracking cookies from your web browser cache.
If you're one of the 3,575,122,575 internet users in the world (thanks, Internet Live Stats) who browse through some type of social media platform, check their e-mail, purchase items, and more, you may want to consider getting rid of cookie files.
While you don't need to clear browser caches often, you may encounter instances where the cached data in the cookies will cause conflict with a website, just because the website you frequently use has been updated. The worst part? If you neglect to clear cache data, over time tracking cookies can even affect computer performance.
Never fear: I'm about to tell you how to clear internet cookies from your web browser cache.
You may also be wondering: are these browser cookies eating up space on my hard drive?
How to Clear Cookies - In This Guide
What Are Internet Cookies?
Before I delve into a step-by-step guide on how to clear the cache, I should first explain what internet cookies are. Unfortunately, they aren't edible, but they are tiny packets of data that contain your information regarding your activity on a website. Cookies, which are stored in a single text file, exist to help you access a site more quickly and efficiently.
Internet cookies do take up space, but it's minimal - just a few KB each. However, like a penny, the sizes can add up on your hard drive. On top of that, cookies contain your user data, so your privacy could be at stake (unless you rely on incognito windows, which prevents your device from storing anything in the browser history).
As for the content cookies store? The content varies from site to site, but cookies don't normally contain any personal information. If they do contain personal information, it's due to your input on a site's form. However, the information is coded in a certain way so that any third-party cannot obtain the information.
So what is an example of the information contained within a cookie? Well, your username and passwords (if you have a lot of passwords - and you should - you should consider a password manager), what your purchase history is on Amazon, and your site preferences all are stored within cookies. However, do note that there are multiple types of cookies available, each with a unique behavior. Some may be erased once you exit the internet browser, while some may remain.
Related: Compare internet service providers
What Does Deleting Cookies Do?
When you delete internet cookies (or "clearing cookies"), you're deleting cookies that you have gathered from websites on the browser. Essentially, you're wiping away your browsing habits and potentially personal information.
How to Clear Cookies on Chrome
So how would you go about deleting cookies on Google Chrome? Read on for a step-by-step guide to deleting cookies.
There are three different platforms that you can use Google Chrome with Android, iPhone, and computer. I will focus on all three:
How to Clear Cookies on Android Using Google Chrome
1. Open Google Chrome.
2. Tap the "More" button in the upper-right corner.
3. Tap "History" in the drop-down menu.
4. Underneath "Clear browsing data," choose the checkboxes for "Cookies and site data" and "Cached images and files".
5. Use the menu to select the amount of data that you'd like to delete; to delete everything, merely choose "beginning of time".
6. Tap "Clear browsing data".
How to Clear Cookies on iPhone Using Google Chrome
- Open Google Chrome.
- On your browser toolbar, tap "More".
- Then tap History, and then tap "Clear browsing data".
- Underneath "Clear browsing data," choose the checkboxes for "Cookies and site data" and "Cached images and files".
- Use the tool menu at the top to select the amount of data that you'd like to delete; you then choose "beginning of time" to delete everything (you can also choose to only clear recent history).
- Finally, tap "Clear browsing data".
How to Clear Cookies on a PC
1. Open Google Chrome.
2. Access browser settings by clicking on "More" (the three vertical dots in the upper-right corner).
3. Hover over "More tools," then click on "Clear browsing data".
4. In the "Clear browsing data" dialog box, click the checkboxes for "Cookies and other site and plug-in data" and "Cached images and files".
5. Select the amount of data that you'd like to delete, then choose "beginning of time" in the drop-down menu to delete everything.
6. Finally, click on "Clear browsing data".
How to Clear Cookies on Mac
Curious about how to clear cookies on Safari? After all, Safari accepts cookies and website data only from websites you visit by default, which helps prevent certain advertisers from storing data on your Mac. I can definitely show you here how to delete cookies on Mac, though you can find the official instructions here. Take note: changing your cookie preferences or removing cookies and website data may change or remove them in other apps, including Safari's Dashboard.
Take note: changing your cookie preferences or removing cookies and website data may change or remove them in other apps, including Safari's Dashboard.
1. Open up the Safari Browser, then go to the Safari general tab.
2. Select "Preferences" in the drop-down list and click "Privacy".
3. Click "Remove All Website Data" (you can also click "Details" and select particular websites, then click on "Remove").
How to Clear Cookies on iPhone
Fortunately, the iPhone naturally runs Safari, so the process of deleting your cookies from Safari is simple.
Here are the steps to clear history and cookies:
1. Tap the "Settings" gear icon.
2. Tap Safari.
3. In the internet options, tap on "Clear History and Website Data".
Clearing your browser history, cookies, and browsing data won't change your AutoFill information with Safari.
As an added note, if you want to delete all other stored information, you can:
- Tap "Settings"
- Tap "Safari"
- Tap "Advanced"
- Tap on "Website Data"
- Finally, tap on "Remove All Website Data"
How to Delete Cookies in Firefox
According to ZDNet's article on the "Most Popular US Web Browsers According to the Federal Government," Google Chrome is the most popular web browser, with 34.7 percent of all visitors using the browser.
Second is Internet Explorer with 28.3 percent, a third is Safari with 20.3 percent, and Firefox is in fourth place with 11 percent. While Firefox falls behind the other browsers, plenty of people utilize its prowess; nevertheless, it's important for people to maintain their cookies with Firefox. So how should one delete cookies on Firefox?
How to Clear Cookies in Firefox for a Single Site
1. Click on the tool menu button (with three vertical menu bars).
2. Select the "Options" gear icon, followed by "Preferences".
3. Choose the Privacy Panel from the menu bar to the left.
4. Set the "Firefox will" dropdown list to "Use custom settings for history".
5. Click on "Show Cookies" on the right-hand side.
6. In the "Search" field, you can type in the name of the website that uses the cookie files you would like to remove.
7. Select the cookies in the list and click on "Remove Selected".
8. Close the cookies window.
How to Delete Cookies in Internet Explorer
How do you delete cookies with Internet Explorer?
- Open Internet Explorer.
- Select the "Tools" button.
- Hover over "Safety".
- Select "Delete browsing history" in the dialog box.
- Select the "Cookies and website data" checkbox.
- Choose "Delete" to clear cached data.
How to Delete Cookies on Microsoft Edge
We should also include Microsoft Edge, which has made its debut not too long ago. Edge is included in Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile, Xbox One, and Windows Holographic, essentially replacing Internet Explorer. So let's go over real quick how clearing the cached cookies from Microsoft Edge works:
1. Open the Menu (three horizontal dots).
2. Click on "Settings".
3. Scroll down to "Clear browsing data" and click on "Choose what to clear".
4. Click on the checkbox for "Cookies and saved website data".
5. Click on "Clear".
See? Clearing the cache of cookies is not a tough task, and your PC or phone could always need a good cleaning, especially if you're concerned with privacy and conflicts of website updates which could interfere with device and computer performance. Again, you don't need to clear browser caches daily, but just like pop-up blockers and other security measures, it's a useful internet option to use.
Another thing to know: you can also rely on other programs, such as Piriform's CCleaner, to clear the cache of browser cookies. You can also utilize the power of Incognito Mode, which prevents internet browser cookies from being stored. Be forewarned: Incognito Mode will not hide your browsing habits from, say, internet service providers.
There you have it: now you know how to clear internet cookies. Clear recent history, or get rid of it all - you're the captain of your browser settings. One last note: cookies will do nothing with your personal documents, which you should consider backing up with one of the best online backup services.