Cookies are small text files with snippets of information stored on the user's browser. Such a storage happens when the user visits a website. Cookies may contain a wide array of information, from the very basic like the user's name to more complex information such as time spent by the user on the website, pages viewed, their preferences, etc.

Cookies aid towards creating a smoother experience for the user. With the information stored about the user's browsing history and the many ways in which the site is accessed, a content provider can usually cater to user's needs better. Cookies may also be used by third-party advertisement providers to show relevant ads.

Though harmless, some people prefer to clear cookies or disable cookies completely for more anonymity. Of course, it will not protect user's privacy online, but it may help prevent advertisers from learning too much, as well as keep other people who use user's browser from learning certain information about them.

How to disable cookies?

Cookies are enabled by default to help websites "fine tune" themselves to the needs of the visitors. It creates a better experience for the user and is usually necessary to keep track of user's session especially when a user is required to sign in, or for eCommerce sites. Follow these simple steps below to disable or enable cookies in your browser.

Disable cookies in Chrome

  1. Click "Settings" in the top-right corner, marked by the three "dots".
  2. Click "Show advanced settings" at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Move on to the "Privacy" section and click on the "Content settings..." button.
  4. The settings for cookies may be changed in the cookies section right at the top.

To allow the retrieval of the first-party and third-party cookies, select "Allow local data to be set".

To disallow storage of all types of cookies, select "Block sites from setting any data". One important bit has to be kept in mind, choosing such a setting may result in the improper functioning of websites that require sign-in information.

To block third-parties from creating and collecting cookies make sure to check "Block third-party cookies and site data". This will prevent third-party websites (mostly advertisers) from storing cookies on the user's browser.

Disable cookies in Firefox

  1. Click on the menu button, marked by the three horizontal lines in the top-right corner and select "Options".
  2. Move on to the "Privacy" tab on the left side.
  3. Under the "History" option select "Use custom settings for history" in the drop-down box.

Choosing the box containing "Accept cookies from sites" will result in the websites being able to store cookies.

If you would like to prevent cooking from being stored and access by third-parties make sure to set "Accept third-party cookies" to "Never" in the drop-down box. This will prevent third-parties from storing cookies on the user's browser.

Disable cookies in Microsoft Edge

  1. Click on the menu button marked by the three dots in the top-right corner and select "Settings".
  2. Scroll down the bottom of the side panel and click on "View advanced settings" button.
  3. To disable cookies select "Block all cookies" in the drop-down box right below the "Cookies" section.

Disable cookies in Internet Explorer

  1. Click on the "Settings" icon in the top-right corner and select "Internet options".
  2. Switch to the "Privacy" tab.
  3. Move the slider all the way up and you should see "Block all cookies" displayed right next to it. To allow cookies you will need to move the slide all the way down instead.

Disable cookies in Safari

  1. Click on "Safari" menu item, and then the "Preference" option from the drop-down menu.
  2. Switch to the "Privacy" tab at the top.
  3. Next to "Cookies and website data" select "Always block".

Disable cookies in Opera

  1. Click on "Tools" in the top menu and select "Preferences" in the drop-down box.
  2. Switch to "Advanced" tab at the top.
  3. Select "Cookies" on the left side.
  4. Select "Never accept cookies" to disable cookies.

How to clear cookies?

Clear cookies in Chome

  1. Click "Settings" in the top-right corner, marked by the three "dots".
  2. Click "show advanced settings" at the bottom of the screen.
  3. Move on to the "Privacy" section and click on the "Content settings..." button.
  4. In the popup box click on "All cookies and side data..." button.
  5. Click on "Remove all" button in the top-right corner to clear cookies in Chrome. To delete individual cookies only you may enter it in the "Search cookies" text box and then either delete them one by one or click on "Remove all shown" button.

Clear cookies in Firefox

  1. Click on the menu button, marked by the three horizontal lines in the top-right corner and select "Options".
  2. Move on to the "Privacy" tab on the left side.
  3. Under the "History" option select "Use custom settings for history" in the drop-down box.
  4. Click on "Show cookies..." button.
  5. Click on "Remove all" button at the bottom of the popup box to clear cookies in Firefox. To delete individual cookies only you may enter it in the "Search" text box and then click on "Remove selected" button.

Clear cookies in Microsoft Edge

  1. Click on the menu button marked by the three dots in the top-right corner and select "Settings".
  2. Click on "Choose what to clear" button below the "Clear browsing data" heading.
  3. Check "Cookies and saved website data" and hit "Clear" button to clear all cookies in Microsoft Edge.

Clear cookies in Internet Explorer

  1. Click on the "Settings" icon in the top-right corner and select "Internet options".
  2. Click on "Delete..." under "Browsing history" tab.
  3. Check "Cookies and website data" and hit delete to clear cookies in Internet Explorer.

Clear cookies in Safari

  1. Click on "Safari" menu item, and then the "Preference" option from the drop-down menu.
  2. Switch to the "Privacy" tab at the top.
  3. Click on "Remove all website data" to clear cookies in Safari. To delete individual cookies only click on "Details..." button, enter a domain in the "Search" text box and click on "Remove" button.

Clear cookies in Opera

  1. Click on "Tools" in the top menu and select "Preferences" in the drop-down box.
  2. Switch to "Advanced" tab at the top.
  3. Select "Cookies" on the left side.
  4. Click on "Manage cookies" and then "Delete all cookies" to clear cookies in Opera.

Cookies FAQ

Why would someone want to clear cookies?

Cookies have been known to track users data and information. This has led to the creation of many privacy-related concerns, wherein a user wouldn't want his privacy to be so easily accessed. Some cases have also been noticed, wherein tracker cookies, meant to follow a user's movements, have resulted in identity thefts.

Why are cookies used by websites?

Whenever users visit websites they have no idea who they are. By storing cookies on the user's browser these websites are able to customize the user experience for their visitors as well as maintain login sessions and of course display relevant ads.

What information do cookies store?

Cookies may store a wide array of information but as a general rule, they don't contain anything other than some random alpha-numeric text characters to be able to identify the user and track their sign-in sessions, movements around the website, location, etc.

Who can access and view my cookies?

Only the websites you visit and their third-party affiliates are able to access your cookies. It's a good idea to refer to website's privacy policy to learn about how and for what purpose they use cookies. Of course, if someone uses your browser they will also be able to view and access your cookies.

Are cookies safe and secure?

Cookies on their own are perfectly safe and do not pose any harm to users or their computers. It is important to keep in mind though that if someone obtains those cookies from your computer then they could potentially gain access to information that should otherwise be secure.

How long do cookies last?

It depends on the timer set for the cookie and could vary from website to website. For eCommerce based websites it may be anywhere from hours to years on end, same with the websites that ask users to sign-in. It may also get deleted automatically when the browser is closed which is known as the session cookie.