Not sure how to clear cookies on android or from your device? Learn to remove cookies in under 5 minutes with step by step guide. See what are the risks related to cookies and which are the risky cookies that you should reject. Are you sure that your privacy online is secure or compromised? Learn all about cookies and how you can protect your privacy with simple tips and tricks. If you are stuck then watch the video on our YouTube channel.
What Are Cookies?
We can understand cookies as “sticky notes” for the website which we accept, and these notes contain which websites you visit and what you search. Then these notes go in the hand of the website owner after some time and they can sell it to Facebook (Meta). Now the companies know what you frequently search for and can show you relevant ads.
The technical definition for Cookie, a text file that contains small pieces of information like username and password. This information is used to identify the device which you are using to confirm if it’s you. Other types of “HTTP” cookie stores this information and make your browsing experience smoother and flawless like saving login credentials.
This information is stored once you connect with the internet (servers) and it’s marked with a unique ID for you and your device. Now the cookie can be sent and received by the server with which server can identify you and then server what things (information) you like.
Types of cookies
- Magic Cookies
- HTTP Cookies
Now both of these cookies work similarly but are used in different cases (not for end-user):
Magic Cookies: This type of cookie is commonly used for log in to the database system, but this type of cookie is older than the one we use today. The cookie is a package of information which are not tempered while sharing between the server and your device. However, we don’t commonly use this type of cookie anymore.
HTTP cookies: This type of cookies are used nowadays and are just a repurposed version of the previous version of cookies (“magic”). As the name suggests, this type of cookie is used for internet browning, mainly developed to solve server overload problems.
However, this cookie is also used by hackers and malicious people can use it is noticed as to steal your personal information and can spy on your online activities. Understand it like some peaking to see your sticky notes which have your secrets.
What Are Cookies Used For?
Now we know what are cookies and how they work on a basic level, now we will see what are their uses.
Now we will see what are the uses of cookies in any website or browser, this section will focus more on the technical aspects. You can skip this section if you are not interested in it.
- Session Management: The website will be able to recognize you with the help of your unique ID or login information and directly land you on their main page (skip login page). Also, it will show you relevant movies or images like on Netflix and Pinterest.
- Personalization: This is where the money rolls in for the website owners, the website will know what kind of things you are interested in and create a customized advertisement. This increases the chances of you buying their stuff and they can even sell this information to other companies for money.
Now, this will make your experience much better on their websites but it will also put your privacy at risk as they can profile you and make you buy their products.
NOTE: We can clear cookies since they are stored on your device locally (device storage) which free up a lot of server space. And since we already saw that cookies are sent to the server as soon as you connect to the internet (server). This lets you have a personalized experience online, give new business opportunities to companies, and save a lot of money on saved server space.
Why Cookies Can Be Dangerous
It’s time to see what are the potential risks of using cookies and what are the difference between different cookies.
We saw that the data inside the cookie does not get tampered which makes them not dangerous by themselves, but if your system gets infected by a virus or malware. Then the hacker can steal those cookies along with all your personal information, this is why malware is noticed as dangerous on your system. Malware does not damage your system physically but steals your information. Hackers can also hijack your browsing sessions via cookies.
This is why it can be dangerous to keep all the cookies stored on your system.
First-Party vs. Third-Party Cookies
There is some kind of cookies which you should be on the lookout for, they can be dangerous. Let’s see where both types of cookies come from and what are the differences.
These cookies are by the website which you are using like Amazon or eBay. These cookies are much safer since the website you are using created them as long as the website is reputable and does not get hacked itself.
This is the kind of cookies you should be aware of, the website you are visiting are not making the cookies but websites that are shown as ads. You will not even be aware that the cookie is created while you were waiting for your actual website to load.
For example, you opened your website and it redirected you to another website and have to wait for 10 seconds, that a website can make 10 cookies even you click on their website at all. This type of cookie is common on websites that are not reputable and lets analytics companies and advertisers track you online. After tracking they sell the data to companies and they show you targeted ads.
This is more like stealing your data or breaching your privacy since they do not ask you for permission or they make you accept cookies to access the website. This should be allowed since they are not asking you for your consent or tricking you into accepting the cookie with their terms and conditions are written in small fonts.
These kinds of cookies are third-party and are permanently installed on your device, even if you choose not to install them they will still get installed. Just like zombies, they will still be alive if you delete them and are very hard to get rid of.
This type of cookie first appeared in Adobe Flash storage bin’s data and was before called the “flash cookie” and as we saw were very hard to get rid of. Similar to third-party cookies, they let advertisers and analytic companies track you online and stell your information to other companies. This cookie also makes it easier to ban certain users and keep them banned even if they clear their cookies.
NOTE: You should clear cookies if you are using browsers like Firefox or Chrome since they have the option for it. However, you should keep in mind that some of the cookies improve your experience, which will no longer be the case after removing cookies. If you decide to delete cookies then you should delete the “Browsing Data” or “Search History”.
You must have noticed that most websites ask you to allow cookies on your devices, this is due to the introduction of the EU’s GDPR law. This forces websites to ask the user if they want cookies or not, and can not force users to accept cookies. You should also keep in mind that without cookies we wouldn’t be able to experience smooth web surfacing, so removing them completely is not an option. Read the website’s request for cookies, they mention and even give the option to customize cookie settings while accepting them.
Why Clear Browsing Data on Android?
We have already seen what are the different types of cookies and what are the risks related to them. Now let’s see what difference deleting them makes on your system and privacy.
If you see any ad on your device then chances are that it saved a cookie on your system, and you will get related ads if you click on the ad. This makes targeted advertisement easy for companies and they can know about your likes and dislikes.
This is why we should remove the cookies so we do not get tracked by companies and advertisers, but if you do not care about this. Then also you should remove your cookies as they can fill up the cache stored on your system, making it slower and slower over time. And since cookies are stored forever without an auto-deletion date, cookies will stack up and cause system downs or even crashes. You will notice that the performance of your system has increased slightly after removing cookies.
How to clear cookies on Chrome (Android)
Since Google’s chrome is the most used browser on Android phones, we will be looking at how to clear the cookies. With Chrome we can clear cookies, search history, cached images, and more, Google gives you a lot of control over your privacy. These steps are easy to follow and will protect you online while you browse the internet, follow these steps to clear your cookies:
- Open your smartphone and open Chrome, tap on the three dots at the top right corner of the screen.
- Now a new drop-down menu should open, click on “Settings” and find an option for “personalization”.
- Look for “Privacy and Security” and tap on it, select the “basics” heading in the menu.
- Look for “Clear Browsing Data” which should be at the top of the “Privacy and Security” page, tap on it.
- Now locate “Cookie and Site Data” and select the time range, once done tap on data categories that you like to delete. If you want to have more control then tap on the “Advanced” section.
- Once done with the previous step, tap on “Clear Data” to delete the cookies from your device.
How to Clear Cookies on Firefox (Android)
If you are using Firefox as your default browser on your device then you need to follow these steps to delete the cookies. Keep in mind that these steps are for Firefox’s app, now follow these steps:
- Open the Firefox app on your device and tap on the three dots at the bottom right corner of the screen.
- Once done a drop-down menu should open, tap on “Settings”.
- Now look for “Delete Browsing Data” which should be under the “Privacy and Security” section, tap on it.
- Tap on “Cookies” and look for data that you want to delete, once selected tap on “Delete Browsing Data”.
In the article we saw what is a cookie and where it is used in the browsers, how to clear cookies on android, you should go through the article once more if you are not clear about it. Removing cookies does not hurt your system but on the contrary, it improves performance. If you want to know more then check out our page for more useful articles.