Cookies on Android have made modern-day web browsing easier, faster, and way more efficient. They have made logging into multiple websites easier by remembering your login credentials and logging in for you. They have even made online shopping way easier by remembering what items you added to your cart.
Be that as it may, a lot of users are concerned with their privacy when it comes to cookies. They believe that some cookies can become a threat to their personal information so they’re not a fan of them.
But are cookies really something we should be afraid of? What exactly do cookies do? How do I remove cookies from my browser?
You may be looking for a quick fix in removing cookies in your browser. You may also want to know more about cookies. For whatever reason you have to learn more about cookies, this article is perfect for you.
Table of Contents
- How to Clear Cookies on Android in Google Chrome
- How to Clear Cookies on Android in Firefox
- What are Cookies?
- What do Cookies do?
- Different Types of Cookies
- Session Cookies
- Persistent Cookies
- Third-Party Cookies
- Why were cookies created?
- Are cookies harmful?
- Why should I clear cookies?
- Is clearing all cookies a good idea?
Let’s start with a quick tutorial on how to remove cookies on Android in different browsers.
How to Clear Cookies on Android in Google Chrome
- Tap the three dots on the upper right corner of your Google Chrome page.
- Scroll down until you find “Settings”. Tap “Settings” to open all the options for personalizing your Google Chrome.
- Tap “Privacy and security” to open the options.
- At the top of the “Privacy and security” page, you’ll be able to find “Clear browsing data.” Tap this to open up the options.
- Tap on “Cookies and site data” and select the time range. This means that Google Chrome will delete all cookies downloaded within this time range. If you want to delete your history and cache, just tap on those options too. You can find more options in the “Advanced” section.
- Once you’ve configured that, tap on “Clear data” to finish the process.
How to Clear Cookies on Android in Firefox
- Tap the three dots in the bottom right corner of your screen. This may vary if you’ve configured your Firefox to have your toolbar placement on top of your screen. In this case, the three dots will be located in the top right of your screen.
- Tap on the “Settings” from the drop-down menu.
- Scroll down until you find the “Privacy and security” section. Under that, you’ll see “Delete browsing data.” Tap on this option.
- To delete just the cookies, tap on the “Cookies” option. If you want to delete other data, tap on their checkboxes as well. Once you’ve chosen all the data you want to delete, simply tap on the “Delete browsing data” to finish the process.
What are Cookies?
Cookies, in the world of the internet, are small text files that websites save to your device. These files contain bits of information about your activities online. As we will discuss later, some of these cookies get automatically deleted once you leave the page while others stay longer.
These cookies have lots of uses but their main purpose is to make web browsing easier. Cookies do this by making sure that your device remembers things like login details or any preferences that you might have. If your device can remember these things, going between pages online becomes faster.
What do Cookies do?
These cookies are used to track users’ behavior while they are using a web browser or visiting a website. This information is then utilized to make browsing experiences faster, smoother, and more personalized.
Aside from that, cookies are also used by websites to identify webpage analytics. These include which pages get more visits and which ones don’t. By identifying this, websites can then help you access these sites faster and more efficiently.
Have you ever visited a website and found that you’re still logged in? Cookies are responsible for this. They keep track of your log-in sessions so you don’t have to go through the hassle of logging in again. These cookies are called authentication cookies.
Another example of how cookies help you have a seamless browsing experience is when you’re online shopping. When you add items to your cart and leave the website, they’re still there when you come back. Cookies are responsible for keeping track of these things.
Different Types of Cookies
There are 3 types of computer cookies, namely, session, persistent, and third-party cookies. These cookies each have their own purposes. Let’s explore more of them down below.
These are temporary cookies that memorize your online activities. You can think of it as the cookies that are responsible for your history online. Without these cookies, your history will always be blank and websites will always treat you as a new user every time you visit them.
An example of session cookies is the cookies in e-commerce websites. As mentioned a while ago, they’re responsible for keeping track of the items in your cart.
These cookies are also known as first-party cookies. A lot of websites use them so they can bring you a personalized experience while browsing.
Persistent cookies are responsible for tracking your online preferences. When you’re a new user and you visit a website for the first time, everything is at default. These settings are consistent with all the other new users.
But once you personalize the site to fit your preferences, persistent cookies will remember these settings. When you finally come back, these cookies are also responsible for implementing your previous preferences. An example of this is when you set your preferred language for a website. When you come back, it’s still in that language.
These cookies have an expiration date. Once the date comes, they’re automatically deleted along with your preferences. Luckily, websites prefer to employ a long life span so users don’t need to keep resetting their preferences online.
These cookies are what most people are familiar with. Third-party cookies track and collect data based on your online behavior. This data is then passed on or sold to advertisers by the website that created the cookie.
Some of the information that these cookies tracks are interests, location, age, and search trends. This information is tracked and collected so that marketers can show you custom advertisements. These are the ads that pop up based on your interest and are usually relevant to your search history.
Third-party cookies can be a great tool for marketers in identifying which ads to show you. Unfortunately, a lot of people are conservative with the idea of having their personal information tracked and collected. Some users also think that these kinds of cookies are intrusive. Because of this, users are given an option to block third-party cookies.
Why were cookies created?
In the early 90s, Lou Montoulli was a developer at Netscape and he was developing an online store for another company, MCI. The goal was to store the items in each customer’s cart. To achieve this, people had to create an account first. This was a very slow process and it took up a lot of storage space.
MCI requested for the data to be stored in the computer of each customer instead to save on storage. They also didn’t want to have each customer sign-in first.
Lou took the concept of the magic cookie (data passed between 2 computer programs) and applied it to the problem. He then proceeded to apply it later in browsers, hence the birth of cookies.
Are cookies harmful?
Technically, a cookie on its own isn’t inherently harmful. All it does is track and collect data, something it was programmed to do from the start. What makes cookies concerning is that they can potentially be harmful to a user’s privacy. For example, cybercriminals can use the information from cookies to data-mine browsing history.
This is why it’s important to identify what kind of cookies you allow and their limitations.
Why should I clear cookies?
Cookies, especially third-party cookies, can leave you vulnerable. This is why you should decline or delete them if they’re already stored in your browser. This prevents the possibility of having your browsing data sold to third parties like advertisers.
Is clearing all cookies a good idea?
Clearing all of your cookies may become a hassle on your end. This means you’ll have to log in again to all the websites you use and redo all the customizations you’ve done. A better option is to block all third-party cookies instead and look into which cookies you’ll allow.
Cookies can be somewhat misunderstood by the general public. When cookies are mentioned, people instantly assume that their privacy is being invaded. This is why it’s important to know what cookies actually do and how they help us have a fast, efficient, and smooth browsing experience.
A lot of these misconceptions have been addressed in the article. We have also discussed the types of cookies and how they help us with our internet browsing.
Inherently, cookies aren’t harmful. We just need to know how to regulate them and which ones are worth keeping and which ones should be limited.
Stay safe, stay informed, and happy browsing!