How to delete cookies in Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer

Cookies, small data files used by websites to track your internet usage, pose no threat to your computer. Some cookies can, however, compromise your privacy. They can also take up space — albeit, a small amount — depending on how your operating system stores and retrieves data. Advertising companies also often embed cookies with web advertisements, allowing them to easily track your browsing history and tailor ads toward your individual habits.


You may decide you want to toss your cookies, however, because of one or all the aforementioned issues. If so, we’ve put together a guide outlining the various ways you can customize your cookie settings and delete them with Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Microsoft Edge, and Opera, along with data-cleaning apps such as CCleaner. That said, keep in mind that cookies also have legitimate functions. Websites use them to track login activity and data, which can be essential to their functionality. After all, some sites don’t work properly without them.

Google Chrome

Google Chrome users can easily delete cookies, browsing data, and specify what sort of files Chrome should accept or block.

Access content settings: Click on the “Menu” tab in the upper-right corner, and select “Settings.” From there, click on “Show Advanced Settings,” at the bottom of the menu, and then “Content Settings.”

You may also simply type “chrome://chrome/settings/content” into your address bar and Chrome will take you to your intended destination.

Manage cookies: Chrome gives you four options when it comes to how to deal with cookies. You can store all cookies without discretion, store all cookies but delete them once you close your browser, block cookies entirely (we don’t recommend this), and block third-party tracking cookies.

Chrome also allows you to manage exceptions for the above settings. This could be useful in the event you want to keep your auto-fill information for a specific website while deleting them from others.

Delete cookies: Click on “All cookies and site data…” to see a list of all the cookies Chrome has stored on your hard drive. From there you can delete specific files individually, or delete everything by selecting “Remove All.”

For Android, iOS: Access Chrome’s menu, go to “Settings” and then find the “Privacy” tab under advanced settings. From there select “Clear Browsing Data” at the bottom and check “Clear cookies/site data” as well as anything else you want to wipe from your hard drive.
 
Mozilla Firefox

Although Firefox accepts all cookies by default, the browser actually offers more options than Chrome when it comes to customizing these settings.

Access custom settings: Click on the “Tools” menu button at the top, and in the drop-down menu, select “Options.” Navigate to the “Privacy” tab and under “History” set Firefox to “Use custom settings for history.”

Manage cookies: Firefox gives you a number of options when it comes to managing your cookies: you can accept or block cookies outright, block third-party cookies, block specific third-party cookies that do not come from any site you visit, or prompt Firefox to ask for your permission every time it wants to store a cookie (running Firefox under this setting exposes just how ubiquitous cookie usage has become).

Delete cookies: Click on“Show Cookies…” which appears once you’ve enabled custom settings for your browser history. From there, you can scroll through a list of cookies accumulated by Firefox, clear them individually or remove them all as a group.

Firefox (iOS): Tap the New Tab button (top right, with the number in it). Now tap the cog button in the top left of the screen. Scroll down to “Clear private data.” On the next screen, make sure “Cookies” is selected, then tap “Clear Private Data.”

Safari

Unlike Chrome and Firefox, Safari only stores cookies from websites you visit. Nevertheless, Safari lets you easily change these settings. Since the Windows version of Safari has been discontinued, our instructions will focus on the MacOS version.

Access privacy settings: Click on the Safari menu in the upper-left corner and scroll down to “Preferences.” Alternatively, in the same menu, choose “Clear History,” and you can delete everything in one go, from a variety of time frames. If you would much prefer to have more control over what is deleted, choose the “Preferences” option.

Manage your settings: In the “Privacy” section, you can use “Cookies and website data” to dictate whether or not Safari should accept cookies. You can use the option “Remove All Website Data” to remove everything in one fell swoop. Alternatively, click on “Details” to see a list of each individual cookie stored in the browser.

Delete cookies:  To delete individual cookies, click “Details…” under the “Privacy” tab. From there, find the specific cookie and delete it accordingly.

Safari (iOS): Go into “Settings” and select Safari. To delete all cookies, tap “Clear History and Website Data.” To delete a specific cookie, tap “Advanced,” then “Website Data” to pull up a list of cookies stored on your phone. From there, hit “Edit,” tap the red circle next to the specific cookie you want to remove, and delete it.

Edge

Edge is Microsoft’s newest browser, and is intended to replace Internet Explorer. But considering that the U.S. Navy still holds onto Windows XP, getting everyone to make the switch to Edge might prove a challenge.

Access cookies: Open up Edge and in the top right hand corner, click on the three horizontal dots. Then choose “Settings.”

When the right-hand bar opens, scroll down to “Clear Browsing Data” and click “Choose What To Clear.”

Manage and delete cookies: On the next screen, make sure “Cookies & Saved Website Data” is checked. Then click “Clear.”

Opera
If you’ve deleted cookies in Chrome, then the procedure for Opera should look quite familiar to you, except it’s a bit easier. Note that this is for the latest Opera build — navigating earlier builds may be different, so be careful.

Access cookies: Go to the Opera Menu and select “Settings,” which will open another sidebar menu. Once there, select the “Privacy & Security” option.

In the resulting window, scroll down until you reach the “Cookies” header. Once there, select “All cookies and site data.”

Manage and delete cookies: In the upper-right corner, you will see a “Delete all” option. Select this to delete all cookies immediately. You can also scroll down and delete cookies for individual websites, if you prefer.

Apps and plugins


CCleaner
CCleaner (short for Crap Cleaner) is a powerful tool you can download for free and use to clean your hard drive of excess files generated by your web browser and other applications. When it comes to deleting cookies, CCleaner has an edge over traditional web browsers in that it can delete cookies across the board, rather than just files stored within a particular browser. CCleaner can also uninstall programs and fix registry issues, which is simply an added plus.

Click&Clean

This extension serves as a handy security app for Chrome. The simple piece of software touts the ability to scan for malware, and installs a toilet paper icon that allows you to delete cookies with a single click. You can also customize the feature to clear both your cache and browsing history, if you prefer.

Self-Destructing Cookies

This is a valuable little add-on for Firefox. The software creates cookie rules that deal with particularly naughty cookies. If a cookie tries to persist after you close your browser tabs, the add-on will delete it automatically. If the cookie tries to track what you’re doing, it will also be immediately deleted. There are even advanced options for dealing with zombie cookies, rendering Self-Destructing Cookies an attractive solution if you don’t want to keep deleting cookies manually.

Wipe 17.03

Wipe is designed to remove unwanted data from your computer, such as cookies, browsing history, and other similar items. It’s designed specifically for Windows, and as such, it can remove clipboard data and recent file logs in Windows 10. Although some may not want such a far-reaching tool, those interested in greater privacy may prefer such a complete solution.