How to Clear Cookies on Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Other Browsers

how to clear cookies

Unlike an actual cookie’s delicious and soft enjoyableness, online cookies are a bit bland. Trying to eat them would be an act of insanity. Regardless, they are helpful for a small handful of reasons. 

 If internet privacy is your thing, it’s best to get them off your computer. Below, we will provide you with the ultimate guide to clearing cookies on any browser and operating system. 

What are Cookies? (The Computer Kind)

Before we get too far into the clearing party, it’s best to know what you are clearing. Cookies contain small bits of data about your visitation of a website:

  • Who you are (based on a randomly generated number)
  • Your site preferences 
  • Where you are from 

Cookies don’t have too much data on you. But the existence of cookies can change your web experience. Those who emphasize privacy will want to remove them after every session. 

There are also two types of cookies:

  • First-party cookies store random numbers and site preferences. They also usually have expiration dates when the login you have to their site is no longer valid, requiring you to re-enter your username and password. 
  • Third-party cookies are set by sites you aren’t currently visiting but have elements on the site you are now on. For example, having a share button for Facebook will leave a third-party cookie. 

Cookies (usually) make your web experience better. This is because having cached images and browser data prevents you from loading the entire page. You’ve already got the page pre-loaded on your system, saving you time. 

Regardless, tracking cookies store information on you, which isn’t something smiled upon by privacy-conscious individuals. 

How To Clear Chrome’s Cache 

Chrome, Google’s browser, is known for gathering a lot of personal data. They work across all major operating systems and have a relatively straightforward process for clearing data.

Desktop (Linux, Mac, and Windows)

how to clear chrome's cookies
  1. Access Chrome’s settings in the upper-right hand corner by clicking the three dots
  2. Click settings and type “clear” in the search bar
  3. Click the first option that says “Clear browsing data.”
  4. Under “time range,” select all time if this is the first time you’ve done it in a while. 

The advanced options on the right allow for a deeper clean. The deeper clean is excellent if you plan on moving your information away from Google. You can remove the following with advanced options:

  • Sign-in data
  • Autofill form data
  • Site settings
  • Hosted app data 

Your basic settings will clear browsing history, cookies, and cached files. 

Mobile (Android and iOS)

mobile Chrome cookie clearing

There is no search function available on mobile chrome browsers. Follow these steps to get around these limitations:

  1. Select settings from the three dots in the upper-right-hand corner.
  2. Scroll until you find “Privacy and security.”
  3. Tap “Clear browsing data.”

 If Chrome is your regular, you can also take the opportunity to block all third-party and first-party cookies under general settings. You can also request always clear cookies when windows are closed for extra security. 

How To Clear Cookies on All Chromium-Based Browsers

There are a wide variety of Chromium-based browsers in the best browsers blog. You’ll find that many Chromium browsers have the same general steps. After all, they come from Google’s code. 

Brave, a well-known privacy browser, follows the same process. The difference is that their selection to clear data is under the “clear browsing data” section under Security and Privacy. 

Clear cookies on any chromium browser

How to Delete Cookies on Firefox

You will notice that clearing browsing data is pretty similar among these platforms. Firefox requires a few fewer clicks to get this done.

Desktop (Windows, Mac, and Linux)

Clear cookies on firefox

The desktop version of Firefox follows these steps:

  1. Click the three bars in the right-hand corner
  2. Choose “settings”
  3. Click “Privacy & Security” on the left-hand navigation menu
  4. Scroll down until you see the “Cookies & Site Data Menu.”
  5. Click “Clear data.” 

To clear your history, you will need to scroll down a bit further until you see “Clear history.” Annoyingly, Firefox decided it was good to put these under two separate sections. 

This screen also allows you to control your cookies and whether you want to keep any history. The “strict” advanced protection blocks most security, while a drop-down menu under the history section enables you to prevent all history tracking. Regardless, you will still need to clear your cookies. 

Mobile (iOS and Android)

Mobile firefox

The mobile edition of Firefox tweaks your steps a little bit:

  1. Click the three dots in the bottom left-hand corner
  2. Scroll until you see “Delete browsing data” under “Privacy & Security.”

The mobile version deletes all browsing data, not just cookies, unlike the desktop version.  

How To Clear Cookies on Opera

Opera is an odd duck in the browsing world because it has several iterations. Whether you use Opera GX (the gaming one) or Opera Mini, clearing cookies doesn’t change.

Desktop (Windows, Mac, ChromeOS, and Linux)

Opera cookie clearing

The desktop version of Opera takes a lot of cues from Chrome but is comparatively easier to spot:

  1. Click the settings bar in the upper corner
  2. Use the right navigation menu until you spot Privacy & Security
  3. Click the “clear” button next to browsing data
  4. Click “Clear browsing data” and the “clear data” button in the bottom-right corner 

Much like Chrome, the “Cookies and other site data” header allows you to choose what cookies to block and whether you want automatic deletion after every use. However, Opera is not a privacy browser, as it does track your information. 

Mobile (Android and iOS)

mobile opera cookie clean

Opera’s mobile steps require a few more taps:

  1.  Click your profile image in the bottom-right corner
  2. Tap the gear (settings)
  3. Scroll down until you see the “Privacy” heading
  4. Tap “clear data”

Clearing Cookies on Microsoft Edge

Microsoft is one of the larger companies known for data collection. Regardless, Edge is a drastic improvement over Internet Explorer. 

Desktop (Windows, Mac, and Linux)

Microsoft Edge cookie clean

Edge is one of the more unintuitive experiences when it comes to clearing your desktop browser:

  1. Click on the three dots in the upper-right corner and click “settings.” 
  2. Select “Cookies and site permissions” on the left-hand navigation menu
  3. Click “Manage and delete cookies and site data.”
  4. Select “See all cookies and site data.”
  5. Choose “Remove all” in the upper-right corner.

OR

  1. Select “Privacy, search, and services” on the left-hand navigation menu
  2. Scroll down until you see “Clear browsing data now.”

The first set of steps will only clear your cookies, not your browsing data. You can also set up strict tracking settings and automatically remove browsing data using the same screen. 

Mobile (Android and iOS)

Mobile Microsoft Edge cookie clean

The only thing that changes with Edge’s mobile browser is the position of your options menu:

  1. Select the three dots in the middle-bottom section
  2. Choose “settings” on the far right
  3. Select “Privacy and security.”
  4. Choose “Clear browsing data”

Clearing Cache on Safari

Because Apple doesn’t like to share, these steps only apply to iOS and macOS. Safari discontinued support for Windows a few years ago. However, you can still get Safri on Windows if you have the tech skills.

If you are looking for a comparable Safari alternative, Opera is a good bet. However, neither of these are privacy browsers. 

Desktop

Desktop safari cookie clean

Because Apple has to be unique, you’ll find Safari’s browser clearing steps to be a bit different:

  1. Click on “Safari” in the top navigational menu on your Mac
  2. Choose “Preferences…”
  3. Select “Privacy” from the available tabs
  4. Choose “Manage Website Data…”
  5. Click “Remove All” on the bottom of the menu 

Mobile

Unlike other Mobile devices, the typical way to clear internet data from Safari starts from outside of the browser:

  1. Tap on “Settings” from your phone’s navigation
  2. Tap “Safari” and scroll down
  3. Scroll to the bottom until you see “Advanced.”
  4. Tap “Remove All Website Data” 

The general browsing data clearing request from outside the advanced tab will only remove some information. For a completely clean iPhone or iPad, you need to scroll to the very bottom. 

While Apple isn’t quite as bad on the privacy front, they still store and use your data. Check out Apple’s Privacy Policy for details. 

Deleting Cookies on Internet Explorer

To clear cookies on Internet Explorer, you can follow these steps:

  1. Click settings
  2. Select “general” and go to your browsing history 
  3. Click “Delete…” 
  4. Select Temporary Internet Files, website files, cookies, and website data from your checkboxes
  5. Click Delete 

If you’ve still kept around Internet Explorer (for some reason), you’ve got a relic on your hands. While it might be entirely sensible for you to rush it to the museum, there are still honestly a few computers that exist with Internet Explorer on them. Nearly 5% of internet users still use the platform. 

If you can, try and make the change to Linux in these cases. Linux is excellent for older computers, given its bare-bones focus. It also provides more security. You can also download a minimalist browser for further performance improvements. 

Why Clear Cache and Cookies?

Your internet cache and your cookies cover a wide range of things. But the key comes back to privacy-conscious individuals keeping large corporations from tracking them. 

Cookies contain a minimal amount of data. On sites like Facebook or Google, that data is more comprehensive. 

This data can include location information. This information comes from the “site preferences” settings you set up from the beginning to allow location-based tracking. 

Industrious hackers combine this information with connection and traffic logs to gather information about you. Eventually, they can use this information to hijack your accounts. 

Clearing your cache also has the added benefit of removing unnecessary website data. Systems are constantly bogged down with cached data to make websites load faster. This situation doesn’t help if you don’t plan on returning to that site.

Will Cookies Affect My VPN?

Because cookies store account settings and preferences, they can impact your VPN. Old location-based data can eliminate the usefulness of cookies, preventing you from blocking location-based tracking. By clearing your cookies before using a VPN, you can avoid this.

Conclusion – How Important is Removing Cookies?

The removal of cookies is packaged alongside the deletion of search history and cached web content. While keeping these can improve your browsing experience, they expose you to certain risks.

Privacy-conscious individuals should always clear after each browser use. For further protection, activate your browser’s automatic cookie deletion feature. 

For further protection, always use The Fast VPN’s data encryption features. They prevent traffic logs and connection logs from being combined with these cookies, providing you with the best protection online. 

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