When should you disable browser cookies?
If privacy’s your top concern, you can disable cookies to prevent online tracking. Cookies are the reason you get personalized ads, so disabling cookies can prevent companies and marketers from tracking your activity online, noting your preferences, and serving you targeted ads.
But because most cookies are harmless and often improve site functionality, there’s usually no need to disable cookies completely. In fact, cookies are required for a lot of internet services to work properly. Google Docs, for example, reads your cookies to access documents stored on Google Drive without you needing to re-enter your password every time.
If you disable all cookies, you’ll get a much clunkier browsing experience. While creative hackers may try to access your cookies to find out more about you, the best way to defend against hacking is by using a firewall or antivirus — not by disabling cookies.
You can also try an app or browser extension that blocks third-party cookies to weed out advertising trackers, or you can opt to reject cookies wherever you’re prompted. That will limit your cookies without sacrificing convenience.
You should also regularly clean your browser and clear your search history to avoid too much cookie buildup, which will also help speed up your browser. Deleting cached files can speed up a clogged browser, too.
How to disable and enable browser cookies
Enabling and disabling browser cookies is simple, but it differs slightly depending on which browser you use. If you want to turn off cookies, note that deleting browser cookies completely (instead of disabling them) will give you more secure and private browsing overall. But without cookies, many websites won’t work as designed.
Here’s how to enable and disable cookies in Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Safari.
Manage cookies in Google Chrome
If you want to disable cookies in Chrome, or if you’ve already turned them off and want to turn them back on, the process is the same. Here’s how:
Click the three vertical dots in the upper-right corner of your browser window and select Settings.
Click Security and Privacy on the left-side navigation, then select Cookies and other site data.
Select Block all cookies.
Your browser will no longer store cookies.
To return Chrome to its default setting with cookies enabled, click Block third-party cookies in Incognito (as shown in the screenshot above). When you browse in incognito mode, cookies won’t be stored after you close your browser window, meaning you won’t have to go into these settings every time to turn them on or off.
In your cookie settings, you’ll see additional options for configuring cookies, like blocking only third-party cookies, while leaving a website’s core cookies enabled.
Manage cookies in Edge
Here’s how to disable cookies in Microsoft Edge. You can also find out how to enable and disable cookies in Internet Explorer (the old name for Microsoft Edge) by reading below.
Open Edge and click the three horizontal dots in the upper-right corner of the browser window. Then, click Settings.
Click Cookies and site permissions, then click Manage and delete cookies and site data.
To disable all cookies in Edge, keep the button for Allow sites to save and read cookie data turned off. To disable only third-party cookies, turn on the button for Block third-party cookies.
Now you’re browsing in Edge without using cookies.
To turn cookies back on, restore the default settings as shown in the screenshot above.
Manage cookies in Firefox
Here’s how to enable, disable, and configure cookies in Mozilla Firefox.
Click the hamburger menu in the upper-right corner of the browser and select Settings.
Click Privacy & Security on the left.
Click Custom. Then, in the drop-down menu below Cookies, choose All cookies.
Mozilla Firefox is no longer using cookies. To enable cookies again, click Standard – balanced for protection and performance, which is the default option. To browse in Edge’s incognito mode (and disable cookies temporarily), click the hamburger menu and select New Private Window. That way, you can browse privately without accumulating cookies during your session, without having to bother with settings configurations.
Manage cookies in Safari
Here’s how to enable, disable, and configure cookies in Safari on a Mac.
With Safari open, click Safari in the top navigation and then click Preferences.
Click Privacy. Then, click either Prevent cross-site tracking or Always block cookies. (Cross-site tracking prevents social media sites from knowing which other websites you visit, thereby limiting their ability to target you with personalized ads.)
Limiting cross-site tracking and blocking cookies helps protect your privacy while you surf the web. To revert back and enable cookies, simply uncheck the boxes for Website tracking and Cookies and website data.
How to disable cookies on mobile
Your phone generates and reads cookies just like your laptop or desktop computer does. Let’s take a look at how to manage and configure cookies on iOS and Android devices.
It’s easy to enable and disable cookies on an iPhone. Here’s how:
Tap Settings, then scroll down and tap Safari.
Scroll to Privacy & Security and turn on the button for Block All Cookies.
You’re now browsing without cookies on your iPhone. To revert back to the default setting, simply turn off the button for Block All Cookies.
Here’s how to enable and disable cookies on an Android phone using Chrome.
Open Chrome, tap the three vertical dots in the upper-right corner, and select Settings.
Scroll down and tap Site settings.
Tap Cookies and select your preferred cookie settings.
On your Android phone, Chrome lets you allow or block all cookies, block third-party cookies, and set specific exceptions for certain websites.
Prevent invasive online tracking with AVG Secure Browser
It’s not easy to constantly enable, disable, and keep track of your cookie settings, especially if you just want seamless, secure, and private browsing. Thankfully, AVG Secure Browser offers fast and private browsing while minimizing ad tracking and other cookies.
Not only does AVG Secure Browser automatically configure your cookies, it’s also specially designed by privacy experts to seamlessly connect through its built-in VPN. That means no trace of your activity is left on your own device, and your data remains encrypted. Get AVG Secure Browser today — completely free — and take back your privacy and data.