How to block tracking cookies from your desktop or mobile device (2024)

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The present day internet experience has become vastly more sophisticated than was two decades ago. New programming languages, libraries and algorithms have emerged, allowing developers in all fields of technology to do more than they could only previously imagine possible.

Internet security became a prime concern and tech developers sought newer and more innovative ways to prevent loss of data and personal information. Browser companies created new tools that would allow its users to safely browse the web with as little interruption as possible. And though much has improved to provide a sanction on much of the internets possible dangers and fiascos, one thing that seems to linger as a growing concern for many. That is, the increasing use of Tracking Cookies to monitor user activities across the web.

For many individuals, groups and even companies, the idea of being notoriously surveilled and commodified online has generated growing concerns about data privacy, consent, and the depreciation of digital autonomy. In this article, we will go over what tracking cookies are, and some basic techniques that you can use in order to reduce or even eliminate them for your online experience.

What are tracking cookies?

Tracking cookies are small pieces of code that websites use to track your browsing activity. They allow advertisers to gather data about users, which is then used to serve targeted ads. However, tracking cookies can also pose a security risk as they can expose users’ personal information and be used by hackers. In this article, we’ll show you how tracking cookies work and what you can do to protect your privacy on the web by blocking them.

How tracking cookies work

Tracking cookies are stored on your device and are used to track your activity across the web. They can be used to build up a profile of your browsing habits and they are also used to serve targeted ads, which is why it’s important that you block them if you want to avoid being tracked. Ads and related post or content are tailored towards your unique user experience and tracking cookies are the device that websites use to measure your interest. If you’ve ever wondered why those ads about your love for dogs or a specific brand of fashion keeps popping up everywhere, then tracking cookies is your answer.

Protection level

You can set the protection level to block cookies from all sites, including third-party domains, or only third-party cookies (cookies from a site other than the one you are visiting). Some websites may not allow you to continue browsing unless you reduce or completely turn off cookie blockers. Whether the reward is worth the risk would be a choice left up to you. Most browsers come with three levels of security which are:

  • Medium – Blocks all cookies except those from the site you are visiting
  • Low – Blocks only third-party cookies. This is what most people are used to seeing on their browsers today.
  • None – blocks no cookies

What tracking cookies let you do

tracking cookies

Tracking cookies are used for many things. They track your internet activity and browsing habits, which can be used to serve you targeted ads that match your interests. They track your location, device type and behavior in order to customize the experience based on where you are currently located in physical space and the devices you use. They allow companies to serve you products tailored to items you’ve previously purchased. By collecting data about your current location and the places you’ve previously visited, they can provide content specific to your area of residence or operation.

Ways to block tracking cookies in your browser

You can block tracking cookies from following you around online. In addition, by using a privacy based browser such as Ghostery or Brave (see below), you can prevent websites from fingerprinting your device specifics and identifying who you are while browsing the web. These valuable tools will not only block existing trackers but also prevent new ones from loading on sites you visit. Here are a few common ways to block tracking cookies.

How to block third-party cookies in Chrome from desktop and mobile

  1. Open Chrome.
  2. In the top-right corner of your browser window, click on the Settings icon (the three horizontal lines).
  3. Select Content settings from the menu that appears.
  4. Scroll down to Cookies and Site data and click Manage Exceptions.
    Note: If you don’t see this option, it means that you have disabled third party cookies for all websites using Chrome’s default settings (see above). However, if you want to allow some third parties but not others this can be done here by creating exceptions for specific domains or subdomains or for individual cookies or site data items.
  5. Under “Allow sites to save and read cookie data…” select Allow local data to be set (recommended), then click Done

How to block third-party cookies in Firefox from desktop and mobile

firefox browser
  1. To block third-party cookies in Firefox from desktop and mobile, you will need to change a setting in Firefox’s configuration.
  2. To do this, go to about:config (type the term into your browser bar). This will open up a page of options that are not usually visible by default.
  3. Type network.cookie.cookieBehavior into the search field and press Enter on your keyboard or click the magnifying glass icon next to it.
  4. When you see cookieBehavior appear in the list of search results on right side of window, double-click it with your mouse or press Return/Enter key on keyboard so that its value changes from 1 (default) to 0 (block all third party cookies).
  5. Then click OK button at bottom of About:Config window and restart Firefox browser for changes to take effect immediately

How to block third-party cookies in Safari from desktop and mobile

  1. Open your browser, then click on the Safari menu in the upper-left corner of your screen.
  2. Click Preferences and select Privacy (or swipe down from the right side of your device’s screen to open Control Center).
  3. Under Block cookies, choose Always or Never under Cookies from third parties and advertisers and Always under Cookies set by websites.

How to block third-party cookies in Internet Explorer from desktop and mobile

Internet Explorer
  1. Go to your browser’s settings
  2. Click on Privacy on the left-hand side of the screen, then click on Advanced Settings under Privacy and Content Settings
  3. Scroll down until you see Block all cookies or Third Party Cookies and make sure it has a checkmark next to it (if not, click on Block all cookies or Third Party Cookies)

Alternative services and features that can help block tracking cookies

There are a variety of alternative services that can help block tracking cookies.

  • Ad blocking extensions: Most browsers offer ad blockers that you can install to block trackers from following your online activity. For example, Firefox has the Tracking Protection feature integrated into its browser, which allows users to add a list of domains to be ignored by the tracker blocker. This way, any website on this list will not be able to load ads or collect data about you while you browse it.
  • Privacy extensions: There are also extensions that allow users to change their privacy settings and set strict rules for what they want their browser to do with data collection requests from sites they visit in the future. Some popular examples include Do Not Track Plus (for Chrome) and Ghostery (for multiple browsers).
  • Privacy focused browsers: Privacy focused browsers are web browsers that are particularly designed to protect users’ privacy and security when browsing the internet. These browsers often have built-in ad and tracker blockers, encryption tools, and options for managing cookies and other tracking technologies. By putting privacy first, these browsers hope to restrict the amount of personal data gathered by websites and third-party trackers, giving users more control over their online experiences and lowering the danger of data breaches or illegal spying. Two examples of privacy focused browsers are:

    Brave: a privacy-focused web browser based on the Chromium engine. It disables adverts and trackers by default and includes features like built-in HTTPS Everywhere, which encrypts connections to websites wherever feasible, and Brave Shields, which give you extensive control over privacy settings.

    Mozilla Firefox: While not entirely privacy-focused, Mozilla Firefox places a high value on user privacy and security. It includes Enhanced Tracking Protection, which automatically disables trackers, as well as a variety of privacy-focused extensions and options that allow users to tailor their browsing experience to improve privacy and security.
  • Incognito mode: Some users may prefer more manual control over how much information is collected about them when browsing online than what is offered by ad blockers and privacy extensions alone—which means selecting “Private Browsing Mode” or “incognito Mode” on their web browser could be just what they need! Private Browsing Mode does not save cookies or history between sessions (like regular browsing would), so any data collected about you during one session won’t carry over into another session—making it ideal for those looking for extra privacy protection when searching online from home computers especially since most people don’t even realize Private Browsing Mode exists until they accidentally stumble across it while trying different things out with their favorite web page(s).

Tracking cookies can follow you around the internet, but there are ways to stop them.

Tracking cookies can follow you around the internet, but there are ways to stop them. These sneaky little suckers are used to collect information about you, target you with ads and content, identify you (and thus your browsing habits and personal data), and track what sites you visit.

This is why it’s a good idea to block tracking cookies in your browser—it prevents these companies from collecting information about where you go on the web and using that data for their own purposes.

Conclusion

Cookies are a great way to personalize your experience on the internet, but they can also be used to track you. If you don’t want any websites following you around, this guide is everything you need to get started in reducing or eliminating them completely. If this information was helpful to you, please let us know in the comment section.

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