Without browser cookies, online shopping might never have happened. One of the first cookies ever created kept track of items in a user’s shopping cart. Developers had a real dilemma. They had to know what commodities were put in a cart and by whom. The point of connection between shoppers and stores was the browser. However, it was merely a virtual line from Location A (the user) to many possible points in Location B (carts). There had to be a way to ensure that the user and cart were accurately matched each time the user visited the website.
Why You Should Enable Cookies on Your Safari Browser
In the early Internet days, online browsing speed was extremely slow. Connections were prone to interruptions and drops. A constant web session was not a certainty on any browser or device, and shoppers would even lose their online sessions. On returning, they would have to identify their desired items and provide their payment information once more. It was not uncommon to find frustrated users refusing to give these sites another try.
But how was this issue fixed? The solution was to place a small text file, now referred to as a cookie, within the user’s browser. This cookie file has at least two pieces of information: an identifier for the user and some data about the cart, such as a cart number. Should the internet connection break, the cookie remains. This ingenuity meant that when the user revisited the store’s website, the cookie data would recall prior activities and simply pull the correct cart into their browser page.
Types of Cookies
Over time, cookies have been used for different purposes. There are two kinds used in all web browsers today.
- Session Cookie
This is a cookie that exists only when the browser is open and connected to a webpage. When the user closes the tab or window, the cookie disappears. For example, a widget on the page can ask the user to select a language. Regardless of what language selection the user makes, the browser will not remember the language setting, forcing the user to choose again on subsequent visits.
- Persistent Cookie
This is a cookie that remains in the user’s device or computer after the browser is closed. This cookie “remembers” your login information, so you don’t have to remember passwords, emails, and usernames. Clicking a “Remember Me” checkbox creates a persistent cookie.
A cookie placed in your browser or computer is classified as First Party cookie. Such cookies are automatically created by the website that you visit. A good example is Amazon, which leaves a cookie after you browse their site. Third-Party cookies are usually left behind by an element on the page you visited, e.g., an advertisement tracker.
You will first need to open Safari browser. Click on Safari, which will be on the upper left corner. On the dropdown menu that appears, select Preferences, followed by Privacy. You will then see a display of various cookie management settings to choose from.
To stop third-party trackers, click on Prevent Cross-Site Tracking. If you wish to prevent all cookies, you can enable Block All Cookies. However, it is crucial to note that some websites that rely on cookies won’t display or function properly if you block all cookies. It might be best to leave this box unchecked. Once you have selected your preferred settings, close the Preferences panel, and refresh your browser.
Cookies are not viruses or malware. They’re text files that make web transactions possible. Using cookies is under your control. By not allowing cookies, some websites will be unusable. As critical as cookies are to web browsing, they contain information about sites you have visited. To protect your privacy, you should be proactive in controlling what cookies remain on your device. Blocking cross-site third-party tracking cookies is an essential step to protect your online privacy. You can also go a step further and periodically clear cookies from your browser history.