Although regular website cookies can be safely stored and used by the end user for an overall smoother browsing experience, there is an ongoing debate about how intrusive some actually are, and this discussion is particularly applicable to third-party cookies.
The latter category is primarily used by a third party (hence the name) placing the cookie(s) on a website you are using. Platforms such as advertisers use this method to tailor their ads to your general internet activity and as such you may reasonably not want such companies tracking and accessing such sensitive data.
In fact, even Google has acknowledged this state of affairs, with the company now developing new technologies “to protect you from cross-site tracking while keeping the web open” in the form of Privacy Sandbox.
In any case, let’s look at how to avoid third-party cookies in each browser.
How to disable third-party cookies in Google Chrome
Stage 1: Google provides a built-in feature that automatically blocks all third-party cookies. To activate it, click on Three points drop-down menu next to your profile icon, and then select Settings.
Step 2: Choose Privacy and security field and then select Cookies and other site data.
Step 3: Choose Blocking third-party cookies option.
How to disable third-party cookies in Firefox
Stage 1: Choose Drop down menu button (three small lines) in the upper right of the browser, select Settingsand then select Privacy and security option.
Step 2: The Standard tab, which is selected by default, now offers a feature called Total Cookie Protection, which means “trackers can’t use them to follow you between sites.”
However, to effectively disable all third-party cookies, there is another option to ensure that no external cookies are enabled.
Choose Personalized. Within Cookies drop-down menu, select All third-party cookies (may cause website interruptions).
If a website does require third-party cookies to function adequately, then Firefox provides an easy solution to whitelisting the site. Adjacent to the URL bar is a shield icon. Click on Enhanced Tracking Protection is ON for this site button to disable the feature for a specific site.
How to disable third-party cookies in Microsoft Edge
As Internet Explorer is being phased out in favor of Edge, let’s take a look at how to disable third-party cookies in Microsoft’s upgraded browser.
Stage 1: Choose Three points in the upper right corner of Edge and click Settings.
Step 2: Choose Cookies and site permissions option and then select Manage and delete cookies and site data field.
Step 3: Turn on the switch for Blocking third-party cookies.
Alternatively, within the Privacy, search and services section, there is a Strict option you can enable inside the Prevent Tracking section that blocks “the vast majority of trackers from all sites” and protects you from “known harmful trackers.”
How to disable third-party cookies in Internet Explorer (Windows 10)
If you are still using Internet Explorer, there is still a way to disable third-party cookies.
Stage 1: Choose Settings icon at the top right and select Internet settings setting.
Step 2: Choose privacy > Expanded > Block in the third-party cookies section. Click on Okay button to confirm the change.
How to disable third-party cookies in Safari
Apple’s web browser for the MacOS ecosystem, Safari, does not require any changes from the user. The company has upgraded its browser to block all third-party cookies by default.
Useful extensions for extra privacy
Disabling third-party cookies can significantly improve your privacy settings. But there are additional methods to further improve your privacy, namely through the use of extensions. We all use them to block ads and the like, but adding some privacy-focused ones can give you an extra layer of security.
Privacy badger is a highly effective privacy-focused extension. Compatible with both Chrome and Firefox, it automatically detects trackers by analyzing their behavior and blocking them. If trackers are still tracking you after you’ve asked them not to, Privacy Badger’s algorithm adds them to the block list.
HTTPS everywhere is another extension that strengthens your online security. The extension, which comes with every major browser, encrypts your connection by automatically adding the HTTPS protocol to a website.
If Google Chrome is your default browser, then be sure to check out our guide on five easy ways to dramatically increase your Chrome security.