How To Delete Tracking Cookies

5 min read

It seems like every day the internet is becoming less and less private. With advertising being the predominant monetization model, all websites want to track your activity and extract as much data as possible from you to sell to the highest bidder. 

Most of us would agree that this situation is not ideal. Luckily, we can do something about it. We can learn to configure a few privacy-first apps and tools to minimize the amount of information we expose about ourselves. The best place to start is to learn how to delete tracking cookies.

What Are Tracking Cookies?

In general, cookies are small unique text files that are put on your browser by the websites you visit to be able to identify you later. Sometimes they are used for benign purposes, such as keeping you logged into the services you come back to all the time, such as email. 

The problem is you never know how your information is being used exactly. Even with legislation like GDPR and CCPA that requires websites to outline what they do with your data, the terms of use are just a bunch of convoluted legalese no one has time to go through. 

Hence, the solution most of us should adopt today is to find a balance between not feeling constricted in using the internet but, at the same time, being mindful of our data and getting used to regularly cleaning up the information we leave behind. 

Are tracking cookies dangerous?

When people hear about how invasive tracking cookies can be they immediately wonder whether they are dangerous. Good news is cookies are not viruses or malware — they are text files. So they can't damage your Mac directly.

However, if you let tracking cookies accumulate too much information about you online, it's possible that this data will end up in the wrong hands and later be used in a scam against you. That's another reason for why limiting your tracking cookies exposure is a good idea. 

How to find tracking cookies in all browsers

Since cookies are an essential part of how the web works, their functionality is supported by all major browsers. Hence you can manually find and delete them at any time. 

Here's where to find tracking cookies in Safari: 

  1. Go to Preferences (⌘ + ,)

  2. Navigate to the Privacy tab

  3. Click Manage Website Data…

  4. Select any website whose cookies you want to delete and then Remove. You can also Remove All. 

tracking cookies in Safari

Finding cookies in Firefox is easy too: 

  1. Go to Preferences (⌘ + ,)

  2. Navigate to the Privacy & Security tab in the sidebar

  3. Scroll down to Cookies and Site Data

  4. Open Manage Data… 

  5. Choose between Remove Selected or Remove All

Manage cookies in Firefox

And this is how the same process works in Google Chrome: 

  1. Open Preferences (⌘ + ,)

  2. In the sidebar, go to "Privacy and security"

  3. Choose "Cookies and other site data" 

  4. Click "See all cookies and site data" 

  5. Use the trash icon to delete specific cookies or hit Remove All

Manage cookies in Chrome

How to remove tracking cookies automatically

For the most part, finding tracking cookies in any browser is not difficult. But since we tend to use a few browsers at once, the process required to remove tracking cookies every week will eventually get tiring and you might not do it as often as you should. The solution is, of course, in working with a tool that will help you delete tracking cookies from everywhere automatically. 

CleanMyMac X is the world's leading Mac optimization tool, helping you keep your Mac clean, fast, and secure. You can easily run system cleanups, uninstall apps completely, detect malware, get rid of junk, and remove tracking cookies from all your browsers with a click of the button. 

Here's how to remove tracking cookies with CleanMyMac X: 

  1. Launch CleanMyMac X

  2. Navigate to the Privacy tab and Hit Scan

  3. Select your browser and then Cookies. Repeat for every browser on your Mac. 

  4. Click Remove

remove tracking cookies with CleanMyMac X

For the best privacy results, repeat the process every week or so. 

How to avoid tracking cookies

While knowing how to remove tracking cookies is essential to maintain your privacy online, doing everything you can to minimize data collection and cookies on your Mac should be a priority. 

Lots of websites today fall under new GDPR or CCPA laws. You've probably seen those annoying pop-up banners asking you to agree to terms and conditions. Well, in some cases, the websites are obliged to give you the option to reject or at least configure your preferences. Make sure to always take a few extra seconds to select the setting with which your visit won't be tracked. 

Or, how about preventing tracking altogether? AdLock can help you avoid maneuvering around website cookies. It simply stops websites from showing those cookie pop-ups in the first place. To make it work, you should enable ad blocking and anti-tracking in the app. If you need to see ads and cookie banners on certain pages, you can easily add them to your Allow list.

Ad blocking

Another thing you can do is send a "do not track" message along with your traffic and restrict cookie collection directly from your browser.

Here's how to do that in Safari: 

  1. Open Preferences (⌘ + ,)

  2. Go to the Privacy tab

  3. Check "Prevent cross-site tracking"

Prevent cross-site tracking in Safari

Firefox has a similar option: 

  1. Go to Preferences (⌘ + ,). 

  2. Switch to Privacy & Security. 

  3. Choose between Standard, Strict, or Custom tracking protection. Standard should be good for most use cases. 

  4. Below, select Always under "Send websites a Do Not Track signal…"

Block cookies in Firefox

Finally, configure the same settings in Chrome: 

  1. Launch Preferences (⌘ + ,). 

  2. Go to "Privacy and security". 

  3. Under "General settings," pick "Block third-party cookies". 

  4. Toggle on the "Send a Do No Track request…" setting

By now, you should be already ahead of 95% of people in terms of online privacy. Sadly, it's not only cookies online that track your activity. Websites can use other, more invasive techniques like fingerprinting, IP address collection, and even track the movements of your cursor. This is why it's highly recommended to have a reliable VPN that would protect your browsing. 

ClearVPN is a great tool to protect your online activities. Using handy one-click shortcuts, you can encrypt your connection, anonymize IP, bypass geo-restrictions, and more. Particularly if you connect to public Wi-Fi, ClearVPN is a must-have.

ClearVPN app

As you can see, there are a variety of ways to remove tracking cookies, both manually and automatically with an app like CleanMyMac X. Just don't forget to repeat the process every week or so. Even better, use AdLock to prevent being tracked on the web. To secure your browsing and change IP, use ClearVPN.

Best of all, CleanMyMac X, AdLock, and ClearVPN are available to you absolutely free for seven days through the trial of Setapp, a platform with more than 240 Mac and iPhone apps that make your life easier, from helping you manage projects to blocking distracting websites (Focus). Try every Setapp app you're interested in today at no cost and see how much better and more interesting your Mac life can be.

250+ apps for $9.99
per month

Sign up to Setapp and try them for free.