How to Clear Browser Cookies

An Internet cookie – also called a web cookie, HTTP cookie, or browser cookie – is a small text file sent from a website and stored by the browser on the user’s computer. Websites use cookies to remember data about the user, but this can also become an invasion of privacy for some. Learn how to clear cookies in your browser – whether it be Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, or Opera – to protect your privacy and provide a more private browsing experience.

How do Internet cookies work?

When you visit a website, it stores your actions on your computer as text files. The next time you visit that website, your browser will “pull” those cookies and send them to the web server. The website can then use those cookies to bring you back to a saved version of the website. Essentially, cookies help websites know that you are a specific user, which allows the site to deliver its content as you left it.

For example, you may go back to a website you’ve visited before and find that your login information is saved to the site. Cookies save information like your login data, your search or watch history, your shopping cart, and anything else that could enhance the user’s experience for repeat visits to a site.

Why clear cookies in your web browser?

Cookies can be quite useful for streamlining your browsing experience, as they help websites take you back to where you left off. However, they also contain a lot of information about you and your browsing habits, which is a privacy concern. Cookies assist in ad tracking; some companies sell cookies to advertisers, exchanging your data for profit.

Ultimately, the amount of data cookies track on every site you visit is a concern. Though many sites allow you the option to limit certain cookies on their site, clearing cookies is the most comprehensive way to get rid of these tracking files.

How to clear browser cookies

If you’d rather have a cookie-free browser, many browsers offer the option to disallow cookies. Though it may make your browsing sessions slightly less efficient, you’ll be more anonymous, improving your privacy and improving your browsing experience in other ways. Find the instructions for your browser of choice below and follow the steps listed to clear cookies in your browser.

How to clear cookies in Chrome

To clear all cookies from the Google Chrome browser:

  1. Open Chrome on your computer.
  2. Click the three dots in the upper right corner of the browser window.
  3. Select Settings.
  4. Click Privacy and security and choose Cookies and other site data.
  5. Click See all site data and permissions.
  6. Choose Clear all data and confirm it by clicking Clear.

In addition to deleting your cookies, you can also change your cookie settings, which will keep some websites from allowing cookies during your browsing sessions in the future. Customize your cookie settings and periodically clear all the cookies in your browser.

How to clear cookies in Firefox

To clear all cookies from the Mozilla Firefox browser:

  1. Open your Firefox browsing window.
  2. Click the three horizontal lines in the top right corner of the window.
  3. Click History.
  4. Choose Clear Recent History.
  5. Set the time range to Everything, and click the Cookies box. If you want to clear your cache, download history, or active logins, you can select those boxes as well.
  6. Click OK to clear all cookies.

How to clear cookies in Edge

To clear all cookies from the Microsoft Edge browser:

  1.  Open your Edge browsing window.
  2. Select Settings and more in the upper right corner of your browsing window by selecting the three dots.
  3. Choose Settings and then Privacy, search, and services.
  4. Select Choose what to clear under Clear browsing data, then Clear browsing data now.
  5. Set a time range to clear under Time range.
  6. Select Cookies and other site data. Click Clear now to clear all of your cookies from the set time range.

Edge also provides users with the option to automatically delete cookies every time the browser is closed, which is convenient if you would rather not manually delete your cookies. This can be done in the same section as above; just choose Choose what to clear every time you close the browser under Clear browsing data and make your selections.

How to clear cookies in Safari

To clear all cookies from the Safari browser on Mac:

  1. Open the Safari app. Click Safari in the task bar and choose Settings.
  2. Click Privacy.
  3. Click Manage Website Data.
  4. Select the websites you want to eliminate cookies from and click Remove. You can also choose Remove All to clear all data.

You also have the option to block all cookies, which is available above the Manage Website Data button.

How to clear cookies in Opera

To clear all cookies from the Opera browser:

  1. Open the Opera browser.
  2. Click Ctrl+Shift+Del to open the Clear browsing data options.
  3. Select Cookies and site data.
  4. Click Clear data.

How to clear cookies on iPhone or iPad

Though your iPhone’s browser has a different layout than your computer, you can still clear your cookies. It’s done in the device settings rather than in the browser. To clear your cookies in Safari on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod, follow these steps:

  1. Open your Settings app.
  2. Select Safari.
  3. Scroll down and select Clear History and Website Data.
  4. Tap Clear History and Data to confirm.

How to clear cookies on Android

Similarly, Google Chrome on Android phones uses cookies that users can clear. The process is very similar to clearing cookies on your computer. To clear cookies on your Android, follow these steps:

  1. Open Chrome on your Android device.
  2. Tap the three vertical dots in the righthand corner.
  3. Tap Privacy and security and select Clear browsing data.
  4. Choose a time range and click the box for Cookies and site data.
  5. Tap Clear Data and then Clear.

This will get rid of the cookies and browsing data from your device.