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How to enable cookies on iPhone and stay private

5 min read

If you’ve been following tech news for the past few years, you know how privacy has become one of the central issues, discussed by the media, government, and society as a whole.

When it comes to personal devices, one particular technology that gets mentioned quite often (if not to say demonized) is cookies. Cookies allow websites to store bits of identifiable information on your devices to provide you with a more personalized experience.

At their worst, however, cookies can be used to track which websites you visit, selling the resulting data to advertisers, who can then track you around the web. 

Nevertheless, cookies can be useful and are even required on some websites for them to function properly. The key is to know how to allow cookies on iPhone and other devices without giving up your privacy. 

Why enable cookies on iPhone at all?

Cookies do tend to get a bad rap. That’s why lots of people decide to look up how to clear cookies on iPhone and turn them off for good. 

What happens after is less predictable. When you delete cookies on iPhone, you get logged out of all the websites you’ve visited in the past. This means you have to log in everywhere again using your username and password combination. 

In addition, you get another round of all the signup pop-ups, banners, and notifications, and have to click through those. All the incomplete actions (e.g. items in a shopping cart) get deleted as well. 

The question is, can you be more granular in terms of the cookies you delete? And the answer is yes. 

Cookies can generally be divided by source intro first-party (those that are installed by the websites you visit and remember your preferences) and third-party (those that are installed by other websites and track you around the web). When you’re wondering how to delete cookies on iPhone, it’s the latter that you want to get rid of. 

Let’s see how to manage cookies properly and also how to clear history on iPhone to only keep the cookies you want.

How to manage cookies on iPhone

Before you decide whether you want to block or enable cookies, it’s important to start fresh and delete all the cookies currently stored on your iPhone. 

How to delete search history on iPhone

There’s really just one practical way to delete cookies on iPhone, and that’s learning how to delete history on iPhone completely, in terms of the websites you’ve visited. This is because history and website data (cookies) are the same as far as your iPhone is concerned.

Here’s how to clear search history on iPhone: 

  1. Open Settings
  2. Go to Safari
  3. Scroll down and tap Clear History and Website Data

Clear History and Website Data

If you want to delete data from a specific website, you can: 

  1. Go to Settings
  2. Tap Safari
  3. Navigate to Advanced ➙ Website Data
  4. Swipe left on any website and tap Delete

delete data from a specific website

How to block cookies on iPhone

Now, your website history and cookies are deleted, and you can start a new, privacy-minded journey. Your first option is to block all cookies completely. 

To do that in iOS 11 and later:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Navigate to Safari
  3. Toggle Block All Cookies to on
  4. Block All

Block All Cookies

If you have an older iPhone with iOS 7 to 10, the process is a bit different: 

  1. Open Settings
  2. Go to Safari
  3. Tap Block Cookies
  4. Select Always Block

How to enable cookies on iPhone

As we mentioned above, blocking cookies completely is not an ideal option and will likely interfere with your day-to-day activities. 

It’s much better to allow cookies but in a controlled and privacy-first way. Here’s how to do it on on iOS 11 and later: 

  1. Launch Settings
  2. Open Safari
  3. Toggle off Block Cookies
  4. Turn on Prevent Cross-Site Tracking
  5. Turn on Hide IP Address ➙ Trackers and Websites (optional, if you have Private Relay enabled)

Settings Safari - Prevent Cross-Site Tracking

These settings provide a perfect balance between privacy and everyday usability. If you have an older iOS version, you should really try to update to iOS 11 or later. If you can’t, here’s the best way to enable cookies with privacy in mind: 

  1. Open Settings
  2. Go to Safari
  3. Tap Block Cookies
  4. Select Allow from Websites I Visit
  5. Toggle on Do Not Track as well

What if you don’t use Safari, but Chrome or Firefox instead? Well, then your options are more limited. You can’t disable cookies completely, but you can turn off third-party cookies. 

Here’s how to do that: 

  1. Open Settings
  2. Go to Chrome or Firefox
  3. Turn off Allow Cross-Website Tracking

How to enable even more privacy with a VPN

If you turn off third-party cookies and hide your IP from Websites and Trackers, you’re well on your way to keeping your iPhone browsing habits private. 

However, you can make your iPhone even more private and secure if you introduce a VPN (virtual private network) to the mix. Usually, VPNs are cumbersome to configure and manage, but not ClearVPN.

ClearVPN is the most user-friendly VPN out there. Just install and use one-click shortcuts to enable any mode you’re interested in, from watching sports channels in other countries to hiding your IP to changing your location. This VPN also allows you to hide your internet activity from your ISP (internet service provider), which often sells your data to the highest bidder. Finally, a completely private environment with no setup required. 

ClearVPN All Shortcuts

As you can see, you don’t have to completely enable or disable cookies on the iPhone to balance privacy and ease of use. There’s a great middle ground you can configure. In addition, you can get ClearVPN and hide your activity from websites once and for all. 

Best of all, ClearVPN is available to you absolutely free for seven days through the trial of Setapp, a platform with more than 230 privacy-first apps for Mac and iOS. For example, you can find and delete duplicate files with Gemini or improve your language skills with Wokabulary. Try every Setapp app at no cost and collect your new favorites. 

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