That we live in The Golden Age of Browsers cannot be denied. After the Dark Ages of Internet Explorer on Windows and Mac, browser users today– on all platforms– have excellent choices. Most browsers are free, fast, render webpages well, and come with plenty of useful features.
Some are better than others in the feature vs. that function but all are good except in one area. Privacy. Few of the major browsers– including Firefox and Chrome– put user privacy in first place. Even Apple’s Safari could use some improvement.
The major browsers I have on my Mac, iPhone, and iPad come with privacy lip service. For example, Safari on the Mac does a good job of preventing cross-site tracking (as does Firefox and others). That inhibits advertising from tracking your online whereabouts from site to site.
Yet, Apple makes Google the default search engine in Safari and collects a few billion dollars each year from the search engine giant just for that privilege. See? I’m getting mixed signals about Apple’s devotion to user privacy.
Yet, Apple does allow third party ad blockers on Safari for Mac, iPhone, and iPad, and some of them have strict controls which prevent almost– almost– all the basic tracker scripts that infect websites these days.
Yet, Mozilla’s Firefox– which I deem the fastest browser on Mac and Windows– has an excellent privacy browser on iPhone and iPad called Firefox Focus. This simple browser seems to be able to block everything but the IP address you’re using to browse the internet. There’s even an easy Erase button in the menubar so you’re a single tap away from erasing your entire browsing history.
Yet, Mozilla does not carry over that simple way to erase a browser’s history to Firefox on iOS or macOS. To erase Firefox browser history on iOS you have to tap the Menu, tap Settings, scroll down and tap Clear Private Data, then tap Clear Private Data again (assumes you’ve already turned on delete for Browser History, Cache, Cookies, Offline Website Data, and Tracking Protection.
Too many steps. And why not have a simple setting which does all that automatically when quitting the browser?
Firefox on macOS isn’t much different. Click the sidebar Menu, click Privacy and Security, and click, click, click until all the tracking elements have been deleted. Why not a one-click button to do that? Or, an option to do that when quitting the browser?
I use Cookie on my Mac to help delete those tracking items which haunt the popular browsers but there isn’t an iOS counterpart.
It isn’t easy to prevent website trackers from latching onto your browser but their efforts can be diminished with Cookie, various ad blockers, and a VPN. Why doesn’t Apple and other browser makers build in a few of those aforementioned options? Google and Facebook have taken so much personal information from users that someone said we should get paid to use them.
I’d go for that. In the meantime, I use tools to inhibit all that tracking, and ensure that my own website– McSolo and the other Villagers websites– do not have advertising trackers, no script trackers, and no cookies. Think of it as kind of a safe browsing zone.