What’s the first thing you see? The Remove All Website Data button, right? How many cookies are stored in Safari? Click the Details button for, well, all the details on the cookies. If you’re like most Mac users, regardless of the browser you use, you’re infected with hundreds or maybe thousands of tracking cookies.
Here’s how to manage cookies and improve security on your Mac.
Cookies Bad! Delete Good!
If browser cookies are so bad, then why does every web site place cookies in your browser? It’s the nature of the internet.
Most of us need cookies to navigate through web sites, logon to check email, and so on. Cookies are used in tracking which web pages you visit.
Here’s the problem with cookies. Over time, without pruning, cookies can take up a lot of space on your Mac. While cookies themselves are usually benign, they can track your online usage over time.
There are two basic ways to manage cookies, Flash cookies, Silverlight cookies, and web site databases; all of which collect information about you while you visit different web sites.
First, go to each browser and delete all the cookies and history and databases. That’s a manual effort that just isn’t fun. Second, set your browser not to accept cookies, not to record a history of pages visited, or to save web site files on your Mac.
The problem with the first item is that it’s a manual effort that takes time. The second option means you won’t be able to use many web sites which require cookies.
There’s a better way and it involves Cookie, the app. This is my favorite browser add on. Cookie helps you manage all cookies, and website databases.
Set up up Cookie using the built-in Wizard. Options are easy to understand. Cookie will delete all cookies and databases every so many minutes, or when you quit your browser, or when you quit Cookie.
Regardless, when you quite whichever browser you’re using, all cookies are deleted, the browser history is deleted, and the browser cache is deleted.
There are options to delete favicons, webpage previews, form values, even downloads.
Even better, Cookie works automatically behind the scenes to keep your browser free of cookies, cached files and history.
Cookie works on Safari, Google Chrome, Mozilla’s Firefox, as well as Chromium and Camino. If you want, you can dig into the stored cookies and mark some as favorites (helps with automatic log on of certain websites).
Or, delete cookies and databases the old fashioned way. Click by click. Again and again.
As good as Cookie is, and I use it on all my Macs, it needs a few things. I’d like to see a secure delete option which writes over cookie files and caches and history files multiple times. The Configure Unwanted Data heading in Preferences needs to be clarified so you know exactly what happens with every click.
If you value security and don’t want your every online move tracked day after day, Cookie is a great tool which adds a little peace of mind.