Every time you visit a website, a pop-up privacy consent banner appears, asking you to allow website cookies.
But what happens if you do, or if you don’t?
And once you accept them, how can you disable cookies on your browser later?
Let’s get to the bottom of these questions.
But, before we get to that, let me just shortly explain how cookies work and why this is important for you.
It’s worth mentioning that I usually use one to two different browsers on my devices.
However, I was intrigued to see whether the process to disable cookies works as smoothly on other popular browsers as it does on the ones I use.
Choose your browser and quickly jump to the solution on how to disable website cookies:
What Are Website Cookies?
Website cookies are small pieces of data that store information about your device and network every time you open a website.
For example, when you shop on Amazon and then return to your cart after initially closing the website, the items are still there.
That’s because the website remembers your choices, and it keeps them available for the next time you come around.
That happens thanks to website cookies.
Whether it’s to keep you logged on, to remember your preferences, or to make ads more relevant, the purpose of website cookies is to enable you with a better browsing experience.
However, without proper settings, they can sometimes be intrusive to your privacy.
Take for example third-party cookies.
They are some of the most intrusive ones and will track every move you make across different websites.
Their sole purpose is to create your consumer profile so that advertising networks can target you with customized ads.
Luckily for you, there are ways to manage cookies to protect your privacy.
When Should You Disable Cookies?
One thing you’ll notice below is that most browsers discourage users from disabling all cookie activity.
On one hand, cookies are not exactly privacy-friendly.
Then again, they do, indeed, provide a better browsing experience.
So how can you determine what’s the right thing to do?
In most cases, browsers provide more than the “turn it on/off” option.
You can opt for more personalized settings, like disabling third-party cookies only, choosing which websites keep your cookies and which don’t, etc.
Another thing I find useful in this situation is the Cookie AutoDelete browser add-on (I use it on my Chrome browser).
It’s very convenient.
Once you install and enable it, it deletes cookies the moment you close the tab.
It really depends on what you prefer.
The add-on gives you full control over website cookies.
Now, with this out of the way, let’s get into the more detailed steps for each browser separately.
How to Disable Cookies on Your Desktop or Mobile Browser?
Disabling cookies on any browser follows pretty much the same rules:
- Open your Settings menu;
- In Privacy and security, find the “Manage cookies and other (website) data” option;
- Check the button that disables all website cookies.
The same rules apply to mobile browsers.
But, depending on your operating system, you can either disable them directly through the app or your privacy settings.
How to Disable Cookies on Chrome?
- Open your Chrome browser. In the top right corner, click on the three dots.
- Open the Settings menu.
- From there, choose Privacy and security.
- You need the first two options: Clear browsing data, and Cookies and other site data.
- To remove all cookies from every website you’ve visited, click on Clear browsing data.
- Choose a time range, check the box – Cookies and other site data – and click the Clear data button.
- You can also choose Advanced, where you can see the number of websites that store information about you.
- By clicking Cookies and other site data, you can see other more detailed options. Check the “Block all cookies” button, to disable them on Chrome.
- If you want to enable them again, repeat the same steps, then choose one of the other three options. I opt for the second one, Block third-party cookies in incognito.
How to Disable Cookies on Chrome Android?
Disabling website cookies on your mobile Chrome browser (android) is actually very similar to the steps you follow on your desktop browser:
- Launch the Chrome app and in the upper right corner tap on the three dots to open Settings.
- In Advanced, find the menu “Site Settings”.
- Open Cookies, and toggle the button to disable or enable them.
How to Disable Cookies on Mozilla Firefox?
- Open Settings in the top right corner.
- Once in Settings, choose Privacy & Security from the menu.
- Choose “custom” to disable all websites from storing cookies in the future. Then, reload your browser to save your changes.
- To delete current website cookies, scroll below and find the Cookies and site data section.
- Click on Manage data and choose the websites you want to remove cookies from or remove all of them.
- For a quick solution any time you open a website, click on the lock icon right next to the website URL and select Clear cookies and site data.
How to Disable Cookies on Safari?
If you’re a Mac user, Safari should be your default browser.
Disabling cookies on this one, however, is a three-step process:
- After you launch Safari, in the top left corner next to the Apple logo, launch Preferences.
- From there, enter in your Privacy settings.
- In Privacy > Cookies and website data, select “Always block”.
How to Disable Cookies on Safari iOS?
Again, the mobile version of the browser works a bit differently than the desktop one.
Here is how you disable cookies on your Safari iOS app (I am doing this on iOS 14.6):
- Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
- Scroll down or search Safari in the search box and open it.
- To disable cookies on Safari iOS, turn on “Block All Cookies” that’s under Privacy & Security, and confirm your choice.
- To delete currently stored cookies, tap on Advanced that’s supposed to be at the bottom of the menu.
- Open your Website Data. Here you will see all of the websites that are currently storing cookies on your device.
- To delete some cookies, click Edit in the top right corner. To delete all, click Remove All Website Data at the bottom of the screen.
How to Disable Cookies on Microsoft Edge?
I don’t usually use Microsoft Edge browser on my Windows 10, particularly because of its cookies.
Every time I open the browser, it greets me with a pop-up to allow all cookies, despite already setting up my privacy preferences.
Personally, I find it irritating.
Still, I am going to go over the process of disabling browser cookies on Microsoft Edge.
The steps are pretty much the same for Microsoft Edge Legacy, which is the older version of this browser.
- Click on the three dots in the top right corner, and choose the Settings menu.
- From there, on the bar on your left, find “Cookies and site permissions” and open it.
- Find “Cookies and data”, which should be under “Site permissions > All permissions”.
- Cookies should automatically be enabled. Click the toggle button to disable all cookies.
How to Disable Cookies on Opera?
- In the top right corner of your Opera browser, click on Easy Setup.
- Scroll down to open full browser Settings, which you will find at the bottom of the menu.
- In your Settings menu, scroll down to Privacy and security.
- Just as most browsers, Opera allows you to delete browsing data, which includes website cookies.
- To fully disable cookies, click on “Cookies and other site data”.
- From there, choose the “Block all cookies” option.
- Since disabling all cookies is not recommended by any browser, you can also try an easier solution to keep both your browsing experience and your privacy on a satisfactory level. Choose the option to block third-party cookies, and enable the option to clear cookies and site data once you exit your browser.
Super Cookies: What Are They, And Should You Be Concerned?
Before ending this article, there is one last thing that I’d like to address – super cookies.
You might not be familiar with this term.
But if you are, you already know that, in this case, simply disabling cookies won’t cut it.
Super cookies are highly intrusive and, unfortunately, they can sometimes carry malicious content like malware and viruses.
What makes them a real privacy and security threat is that they are much more difficult to detect and delete, as they are not stored in storage locations you would normally find other website cookies.
Some of them even come from your internet service provider.
Good news is that some browsers, like Firefox, are fighting back.
Let's start the year 2021 by upgrading to Firefox 85!— Firefox Support (@FirefoxSupport) January 26, 2021
🍪 Protection against supercookies
🗂 Lots of bookmark improvements
🔑 Remove all of your saved logins at once
📰 More relevant Pocket recommendation
Check out the full release notes here https://t.co/jcevXdQP63
Unfortunately, super cookies are not going away that easily.
Since there is no easy way to delete them, nor to stop them from invading your personal data, you’ll need to use an extra layer of protection like a VPN, as well as anti-malware software.
Quality VPNs are the real deal against ISP tracking.
They mask your online activity and keep you private on the internet.
Just make sure you choose a good one.
I would personally recommend Surfshark.
It’s fast, it’s good value for money, and it does its job to protect your online privacy and security.
And just like that, you disabled cookies on your desktop or mobile browser.
Personally, I don’t disable all cookies on my browser since it affects my day-to-day browsing experience.
I do, however, disable third-party cookies, regularly clear my browsing data, and I am extremely cautious which websites use my data and how.
That is just one of the steps I take to protect my online privacy.
I hope this article helped you do the same, and it answered some of your questions.
If you want an even better solution for your privacy, check out some of the most trustworthy VPNs on the market, and stay safe out there!