We don’t mean actual cookies, of course: no one wants to get rid of those treats. We’re talking about the far less sweet cookies that you get when you browse, the ones that can track what you do online and save your data. Like real cookies, having a few here and there is fine, but if you let them pile up, you’re going to find yourself bloated, slow, and possibly at risk.

Which is why every once in a while it does you some good to clean them out. And we at AVG will help you do just that: for every device you browse with.

Wait — first, what are cookies?

Cookies are an essential part of the browsing experience, for better or for worse.

Cookies effectively are used by websites to keep track of who you are and what you do on their site. They can be used for anything from saving your username and password for easy logging in (which you should never do, by the way: it’s really dangerous) to making shopping online even possible by remembering the items you put in your cart.

There are lots of different kinds of cookies: Session cookies only last as long as you’re on a specific website, and it follows what you do. Authentication cookies remember who you are and what your credentials are. But the troublemakers in the cookie family are the Tracking cookies: cookies that cling to your browser, following everything that you do, recording your actions and slowing down your browsing. And those are the bad boys we really want to get rid of whenever we clean our browser.

Speaking of:

Cleaning PCs and Macs

Clearing your computer browser of cookies should be a fairly straightforward task. But it is different across all the different browsers. We’ll be covering all the big ones below:

Google Chrome

  • First, open up Chrome.
  • Click the three dots in the upper-right hand corner.
  • Click History, then on the side menu, hit History… again.
  • A new tab should open up. Look to the left and find Clear browsing data.
  • Another new tab will open, as well as a popup. Change the top down menu to All time and make sure the box next to Cookies and other site data is checked.
  • Click Clear data and you’re good to go.

Firefox

  • Obviously, start by opening up Firefox.
  • In the menu bar, click History.
  • Click Clear Recent History.
  • Make sure Cookies are checked, and the pull-down menu at the top says All Time.
  • Click Clear Now and you’re done!

Microsoft Edge

  • Open up Microsoft Edge.
  • Click the three bars on the right side of the web address field.
  • Click the clock-arrow thing. It’s the third to the right.
  • Click Clear all history
  • Make sure Cookies and saved website data is checked, then click Clear.

Opera

  • Open up Firefo- I mean, Opera.
  • Click the clock on the far left toolbar
  • Click Clear browsing data
  • A new window should pop up. Make sure the box next to Cookies and other site data is clicked, and set the Time range to All time
  • Click "Clear data" and you're done!

AVG Secure Browser

  • Open it up, for starters.
  • Click the three dots in the upper-right of the screen, then click History.
  • A new tab will open up. Go to the upper-right and click the Clear browsing data… button.
  • Another new tab will open, and a popup. Change the top down menu to The beginning of time and make sure the box next to Cookies and other site data is checked.
  • Click Clear browsing data and you’re done.

But you don’t just browse on your laptop, do you?

Cleaning your mobile devices

Fortunately, just like with PC’s, the job is done on your phone’s browser. But the format is different. Again, we’ll be covering the “big four” below.

Firefox

  • Crack open that app.
  • Click those three bars in the corner.
  • Tap Options, and then Privacy & Security on the left.
  • In the Cookies and Site Data selection, click Clear Data…
  • Change the time range to All Time.
  • Make sure Cookies and Site Data has a checkmark next to it, then click Clear.
  • You’re good to go.

Google Chrome

  • Tap that app.
  • Click the three dots in the right corner.
  • Tap History, then Clear browsing data… at the top of the new window.
  • Change the time range to All time.
  • Make sure Cookies, media licenses, and site data has a checkmark next to it, then click Clear data.
  • You’re one step closer to being done with your spring cleaning.

Microsoft Edge

  • Make sure it opens right by opening it.
  • Click the star-bar thing on the upper-right side.
  • Click the clock-arrow thing. It’s fourth to the right this time.
  • Click the trash can icon and confirm you want to clear your history.
  • Change the time range to All time then make sure Cookies, media licenses, and site data is checked.
  • Click Clear and you’re done.

Opera

  • I can’t remember the first step… so for the time being just open the app.
  • Find the O-menu button on the bottom right and tap it.
  • Click History, then tap the trash icon on the upper right. Confirm you want to clear your browsing history.
  • That’s actually all. You’re done!

Isn’t there an easier way to do this?

Funny you should ask: as it so happens, AVG has a nifty little tool that can help you clean your cookies automatically and easily, without all this mess. We call it AVG TuneUp, and not only will it clear out your cookies, it’ll also do other tidying tasks to help your computer run its very best and optimize your memory. You can download it and try a free scan by clicking on the link below.

[Get AVG TuneUp]

And that’s everything! You’ve cleaned out all the cookies on your browsing devices. Good on ya. Just don’t wait until next spring to do it again!

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