Make no mistake: You’re being tracked.
Want to be shocked? Take a look at the secret map in your smartphone that watches your every move. Tap or click here to see the map tracking you and wipe it clean
What about advertisements that follow you across the web? Facebook is one of the biggest data hogs. Tap or click for ways to stop or limit targeted ads on Facebook.
And then there are cookies, small bits of data that track your activity online. They’re not just lurking in your computer. On your smartphone, cookies save your passwords and help you log on more quickly, but they can also collect a lot more than you want.
Ask yourself: Are cookies worth the cost?
When it comes to cookies, take a good hard look at your priorities. Do you prefer the convenience of a browser like Safari or Chrome or the privacy of a browser that doesn’t save cookies in the first place?
It’s a hard balance to strike, especially considering how convenient cookies make our browsing experience. They save your login info and keep track of your preferences to show you the content you care about but, of course, that comes at the cost of your privacy.
The choice is up to you. If you want to clear them out, navigate to your smartphone’s settings. Scroll down to the list of apps. Find your browser and follow the instructions below.
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1. Start with Safari
For Safari on an iPhone, follow these steps:
- Open Settings and tap Safari.
- Tap Clear History and Website Data. Apple will tell you, “Clearing will remove history, cookies, and other browsing data.”
- Then, tap Clear.
2. Kick cookies out of Chrome
If you’re a Chrome user instead, the process is a little different.
On an iPhone:
- Open the Chrome browser and tap the three dots in the bottom right corner and choose Settings.
- Now tap Privacy and then Clear Browsing Data. Check Cookies, Site Data, but uncheck the other items.
- Then, tap Clear Browsing Data and tap Done.
This is also a great way to check which data you want to clear. Notice the option for Cached Images and Files. Make sure this is checked, tap Clear Browsing Data and then confirm your choice.
For Chrome on Android, follow these steps:
- Open the Chrome app on your Android phone or tablet. Tap More, which is to the right of the address bar.
- Click Settings.
- Tap Privacy, then select Clear browsing data.
- To delete everything, select All time. If you want to delete cookies from a certain period, choose your time range at the top.
- Check the Cookies, media licenses and site data option.
- Then, select Clear data and Clear.
3. Clean up Firefox
Firefox’s creator, Mozilla, puts privacy front and center. This browser blocks tracking cookies by default.
There’s a caveat. Firefox does allow first-party cookies, which are stored by the website you’re visiting.
These cookies let website owners collect analytics data, remember your language settings and so on to personalize your experience. If you want to clear them out, here’s how.
On an iPhone:
- Open your browser and tap on the three horizontal lines in the lower right corner. From there, tap on Settings.
- Scroll down to the Privacy section. Click on Data Management.
- Tap Clear Private Data at the bottom.
- You’ll get a warning dialog box. If you want to clear all the selected data, tap OK.
Note: This will also clear history from your synced devices.
If you use an Android, follow these steps:
- Tap Menu, then Settings.
- From there, tap Privacy.
- Select Clear now and a new window will appear.
- Tap Clear Data.
4. Put your privacy at center stage with Opera
Here’s another privacy-centric option that encrypts your data and blocks ads.
To clear cookies, open the browser on your Android or iPhone and tap the Opera icon in the bottom right corner.
- From there, hit Settings. That will take you to a new window.
- Scroll down and select Clear Browser Data. You’ll then have the option to delete cookies and site data, clear your browsing history and even change your site settings.
- Tap Cookies and Site Data to delete all your cookies.
- You’ll see a new option at the top of the window emerge next to the Clear Browser Data header.
- Tap the Clear button.
For good measure, tap Cached Images and Files to empty out everything slowing down your browser. Then, tap the Clear button.
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