In general, you should accept cookies from sites, even on a mobile phone. It does give you a better user experience but you should also clear the cookies often or use a browser that deletes them automatically for a couple of different reasons.
While you should accept website cookies, you also want to frequently delete them from your history. Cookies can give up a lot of personal information that some users aren’t even aware they’re sharing. However, they can serve a useful purpose. For example, as we’ll touch on below, cookies allow behavior like a shopping website remembering what you placed in your cart when you navigate away and then come back to the site.
How Cookies Work
Cookies are tiny text files that are stored on your computer. The purpose of the text files is to make the site more convenient to use. For example, cookies can tailor weather and traffic reports for your location without requiring you to input the information into the website. Items in your shopping cart are remembered if you leave the site and saved for your next visit.
Types of Website Cookies
There are two types of cookies you can accept, temporary and saved. Both types perform the same function: to make it easier for you to use the website. Temporary cookies are only functional while you’re active on the site. Once you close the browser, the files are automatically deleted and they’re gone until you complete the same action again on the site.
Saved cookies, on the other hand, are often stored on your PC for years. Each time you revisit the website the cookies will remember your previous preferences and settings. While it is convenient, not everyone wants their information saved for such a long time. Another great example of a saved, or persistent cookie, is your log-in information. If your username and password come upon a site automatically, it’s a saved cookie.
What if you Don’t Accept the Cookies?
You aren’t required to accept cookies, and there are very few websites that will prevent you from accessing their content if you decline. When you find a website that won’t permit access without accepting cookies, it is usually due to the design. Some, older sites are designed to only function when cookies are enabled.
If you don’t accept cookies, even though content access isn’t denied, you won’t have the same user experience as if you had allow cookies. You’ll also have to reenter your username and other information when you revisit the site. If you leave items in your shopping cart for later, the site won’t save this information without enabling cookies. These behaviors will occur whether you’re on a laptop or mobile phone.
Clearing Cookies in your Mobile Browsers
Even though a stored cookie barely takes up any space on the computer, it’s still a good idea to clear them regularly from your browsing history. Occasionally, cookies can cause issues with formatting or loading a site. Clearing the text files can resolve these problems and give you a smoother user experience.
Some browsers cater to the market of people who don’t want to share their personal information with third parties. Firefox Focus is a great example of this because they don’t save cookies. While this does mean that your favorite websites will treat you like it’s your first time visiting, you don’t have to worry about privacy or performance.
Clearing Cookies in Chrome Browser
It’s easy to clear cookies from your Chrome browser in a few steps.
- On your Chrome home page click on the tab marked “more”.
- Select “More tools” and then “clear browsing”.
- At the top is a tab where you can choose how far back you want your browsing history deleted, select “all time” to delete everything.
- You’ll see a box marked “cookies” and one for “cached images and files”. Click on the boxes to data the saved data.
- The last step is to click the “clear data” tab.
Your browsing history is clear and your device is free of saved cookies.
Deleting Cookies in Safari
You won’t have any problems deleting cookies from your Safari browser.
- Go to the Safari menu.
- Click on “empty cache”.
- Select “empty”.
It’s the same steps to delete cookies if you use Safari 3.x for Windows instead.
Forgetting Cookies in Microsoft Edge
Like the other web browsers, Microsoft Edge also ensured that users won’t have any trouble deleting cookies.
- Go to “settings” and then select “settings and more”, from here click on “privacy, search, and services”.
- Click on “clear browsing history”.
- Select the tab “choose what to clear” to select a time range.
- Click on “Cookies and other site data”
- Select “clear now”.
Regardless of which browser you use, it’s not hard to clear your browsing history and it only takes a few seconds.
There’s no reason why you shouldn’t accept cookies on your mobile phone or another device unless you’re worried about privacy. If so, you do have the option to deny cookie use and you’ll still have access to most sites. If you do accept cookies, your user experience on the site is smoother and tailored more towards your preferences. However, you do want to delete the saved cookies regularly unless you use an app like Firefox Focus which doesn’t store cookies at all.