How To

How to Delete Cookies – A Guide for a Faster, Safer Computing Experience

Google promised back in January 2020 that it would block third-party cookies from its Chrome browser within 2 years. But here we are in mid-2022 and the internet giant is still delaying the process saying it, “needs to move at a responsible pace” and “avoid jeopardizing the business models of many web publishers which support freely available content.” Google’s Chrome remains the reigning champion with a nice majority of market share (some 63+%), so what Google does matters…but despite delays, it does appear we are nearing the end of the unloved third-party cookie.

However, as Vox Magazine explained, eliminating cookies is a tough promise for Google to fulfill as the company “relies on third-party cookies for some of its lucrative ad business and is a major player in the digital advertising ecosystem that will be upended by the change.” In short, Google isn’t all that excited about the death of cookies, but its back is against a wall as it fends off privacy concerns – which are harped on by competitors such as Apple. Chrome is also facing increasingly strong challenges from the likes of Firefox, Opera, and Brave.

There is, however, there is a simple how to delete cookies solution. Go to your web store and download a pop-up blocker that stops pop-ups and pop-unders, as well as overlays, while also giving you a tool to accept or reject cookies from websites you visit. You can stop third-party tracking cookies; general cookies and pop-up blockers are a good way of preventing your web activity from being tracked. They also help you stay concentrated on work as those annoying pop-ups and privacy request overlays are relegated to a small box or removed entirely.

That’s an easy Cookies, however, are not always evil. While they do track your activity online, they store passwords and save records of shopping wish lists, etc. You may not want to reject all cookies, but most are unwanted and unneeded. So, until they finally bite the dust and become history, here are two main recommended options for cookie control: The first is to use a pop-up blocker extension to prevent most pop-ups, including the ones that ask for cookie consent. The second is to manually go into your browser and remove them. The pop-up blocker has the benefit of stopping them before they load, but removing cookies is actually a lot easier than you might assume.

For Chrome on your computer: 

  1. At the top right, click ‘More.’
  2. Click ‘More tools’ and ‘Clear browsing data.’
  3. Choose a time range, or delete everything by selecting ‘All time.’
  4. Check the boxes next to: ‘Cookies and other site data’ and ‘Cached images and files.’
  5. Click ‘Clear data’ – and you’re done! 

Firefox allows cookies to be removed in pretty much the same way. Safari already blocks third-party cookies by default, but Apple users can also remove cookies via the Safari browser. Select the gear icon, click ‘preferences’ then ‘privacy’. Select ‘manage website data’ and pick the websites you want to remove your cookies from or select ‘remove all – remove now.’ We won’t go into all the other browsers as for the most part they follow a similar convention. As noted earlier, some are also switching over to Brave.

It is based on the Chromium web browser but is very privacy-focused and automatically blocks online advertisements and website trackers as a default. Brave reportedly has more than 50 million monthly active users and is growing. Brave faced controversy in 2020 after it was discovered that the browser had inserted affiliate referral codes navigating to the cryptocurrency trading site, Binance. The CEO apologized and called it a “mistake” and promised corrections. Controversies aside, Brave is considered by some to be the world’s ‘most privacy-focused’ browser and that has a strong appeal to those with such concerns.

Google knows it needs to change and in 2021, tried out something called the Federated Learning of Cohorts or FLoC. But in early 2022, it was yanked as too many argued that in essence, FLoC was just another tool giving ad companies much less and Google much more control over information.

Now it’s trying something called Topics that works by analyzing your browsing history. After it works out the things you’re interested in, Chrome will record the ‘five most-visited categories’ you visit, and throw in a sixth ‘random’ category. These six categories are used to pick the ads you see and are shared with the websites you visit. Data is deleted after three weeks. Topics are not a done deal and remain mired in controversy. So, for now, the best move – especially for Chrome users – is to stay aware of, and block or remove cookies via your browser or a pop-up block extension.

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