Early this week I was messing around with preferences in Safari on my Mac and took a look at the list of cookies. My gawd!! What a list. What a mess. What are all those things?
There were hundreds and hundreds of cookies stored in Safari. A cookie in your browser is not necessarily a bad thing, often a good thing, but too many suggests a need to check out what’s there and provide some kind of OCD response, or a little management and control.
What Are Cookies?
Unless you’re in total Private Browsing mode, and live in a parallel universe which doesn’t have browsers, cookies are a part of your Mac life.
Think of the cookies stored in Safari or Firefox or any other browser as snippets of text which may hold preferences, session tracking, authentication information, and so on.
Are they harmless? Mostly. But not always. You can turn off cookies and not allow them to be stored on your Mac, but that makes it more difficult to buy or transact online because sites you visit depend on cookie information stored on your browser.
My concern with all those cookies in Safari has as much to do with fear as it does with my need to manage my obsessive compulsion to keep things neat and tidy.
Control? Yep. That’s Safari Cookies. Control for the cookies in Safari. Think of it as free peace of mind. Installation is easy. Inside Safari’s preferences is a new icon. It’s, naturally, a cookie.
What you get with Safari Cookies are options. For example, set it to keep cookies only from sites which are in your Bookmarks. Save cookies to a white list (of acceptable cookies).
You can also have non-favorite cookies removed each time you quit Safari. It also removes those pesky Flash cookies, and even discards Google Analytics cookies (which track your web page viewing habits).
Here’s the problem. Which cookies should you keep (just click the button beside each) when you have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds more cookies living in your browser?
Solution Looking For A Problem?
As you’ll see with the amount of effort required to clean up the cookie mess in Safari, Safari Cookies looks a little like a solution looking for a problem.
In the age of privacy concerns, though, you can never be too secure or too paranoid (if everyone’s out to get you, paranoia is a good attitude to have). After digging through a mountain of cookies that came from I don’t know where, I have a little peace of mind knowing that cookies I may not want are deleted when I shut down Safari.
Installing Safari Cookies is easy enough, as is removal. The real effort was deciding which cookies to keep and which to destroy. I did get a little satisfaction knowing I was in control, unwanted cookies were gone, and my privacy was a little more mine.
Safari Cookies caused me a little grief (spinning beach ball) using the 64-bit version of Safari on Snow Leopard, but after a second restart all was good (I had a lot of cookies).
Still, the effort comes with a reward and no price tag. When something works well and is free then the world is a better place.