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Why you should ALWAYS delete your web cookies (and how to do it)

You've heard about cookies, right? We're not talking about the type you eat. These are computer cookies, which are snippets of your private information, like your name and email address, that your web browser keeps.

There is a good reason to have cookies. Websites use them to remember your passwords and other information, like recent purchases or payment card information.

Have you ever wondered how your computer remembers what was in your Amazon shopping cart, for example, or remembers your logins and passwords? That's where cookies come in.

It's hard to remember life without them. Could you imagine trying to remember all your logins and passwords for every website you visit? That would be a headache.

Yet, there are a few reasons why you should seriously think about deleting cookies. For one thing, cookies can be outdated or corrupted. That can cause error messages.

Second, although each cookie is tiny, many cookies can start taking up space on your computer. That can slow it down.

Third, and most important, these cookies save information about you. They store private information about sites you visit and purchases you make. Do you really want advertisers and, worse, hackers accessing your personal information?

Note: Do you know there are web browsers that don't collect your personal information? Check out these three browsers that don't track you.

The good news about cookies is that they're pretty easy to delete. Below, I'll tell you step by step how to delete cookies on popular web browsers, including Chrome, Edge and Firefox.

Although deleting cookies is slightly different for each browser, the steps boil down to this: Find your web browser's menu bar, often on the upper-right side of your computer screen. Look for something like History or Privacy, then click on that. Right click on a folder or file you want to delete. It might say something like, "Past 7 days."

Keep reading for steps to delete cookies on your web browser.

Note: Before you start deleting cookies, make sure you're OK with giving up the benefits of cookies. If you're not sure you want your computer to forget all your passwords, and all the personal information you've saved on sites, take your time. You may want to start by deleting older cookies. Look for folders that say something like, "Older than 6 months."

Chrome

Chrome is good about letting you choose what type of cookies you want to delete. If you want to save your cookies on your favorite sites or just save passwords, but delete everything else, you can.

Click on the little orange exclamation point on the upper-right side of your screen. Click Settings, then scroll down to the bottom of the page. Click on the blue link that says Show Advanced Settings.

Scroll down to Privacy >> Content Settings. To delete all cookies, click on All Cookies and Site Data >> Remove All. To delete only some cookies, scroll down to specific sites and hover your cursor over it. Click the X on the right-hand side.

Firefox

It's easy to clear out all your cookies on Firefox. Click on the menu. That's the three horizontal lines on the upper-right side of your screen. Click on History >> Clear Recent History >> make sure only Cookies has a check mark next to it >> Clear Now.

To handpick which sites you want to mange, click on Menu >> Options >> on the left-hand menu, Privacy >> under History, choose Firefox Will: >> click on the down arrow and select Use Custom Settings for History >> on the right side, click on Show Cookies. Type in the website address you want to manage in Search or scroll down to find it >> highlight that site >> Remove Selected.

Microsoft Edge

To delete all cookies on Microsoft Edge, click on its menu in the upper-right corner. That's three little dots. Scroll down to Settings >> under Clear Browsing Data, click on Choose What to Clear. To delete just the cookies, make sure the blue box next to Cookies is check marked. Then, click Clear.

Internet Explorer

As with Microsoft Edge, you clear cookies on its predecessor, Internet Explorer, in much the same way.

Click on the little sprocket (circle with points) on the upper-right side of your computer screen. Click on Internet Options >> under the General tab, click on Browsing History >> Delete.

Safari

If you use Safari on a Mac, here's how you delete cookies. Click on Preferences >> Privacy >> Remove All Website Data. Or click Details to select which sites and cookies you want to delete >> Remove.

Just a reminder, take your time deleting cookies. You may want to keep them for your favorite websites. If you use a site often, you might prefer the ease of getting right back to where you left off, while giving up space on your computer and some of your privacy.

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