Not only do your browsing history and cookies make you vulnerable to malware, they reduce your privacy and slow down your computer. The internet works a lot like a hose, sending water (web pages, html, images, movies and data) to your bucket (internet browser and computer hard drive). Over time your bucket gets heavy and your computer slows down. What follows are a few tips for clearing your cache, passwords, cookies and Flash cookies on Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer and Google Chrome.
These steps only take a few minutes to perform and can protect your privacy. I always perform these steps when using a friends computer or logging on in a public location.
No matter what browser you are using, you can clear your Flash cookies by visiting the Flash Player Help page at the Macromedia website. Once there, click Delete all sites and then Confirm. Most people know how to clear their browser cache and cookies but don’t even realize that Flash keeps its own copy. If you haven’t done this before you might be surprised with what you find.
To clear your cookies, cache, history and passwords using Mozilla Firefox follow these three steps. Note that you can also turn on private browsing under Tools > Start Private Browsing to avoid sharing data going forward, however this may negatively impact your browsing experience and be incompatible with some sites.
- open Firefox and go to Tools > Clear Recent History…
- select the time range at the top, check the boxes listed below:
Browsing & Download History
Form & Search History
- click Clear Now
To clear your cookies, cache, history and passwords using Apple Safari follow these four steps. Note that you can also turn on private browsing under Safari > Private Browsing… to avoid sharing data going forward, however this may negatively impact your browsing experience and be incompatible with some sites.
- open Safari and go to Safari > Empty Cache…
- click the Empty button
- to clear all of your data (not just your cache) you will need to go to Safari > Reset Safari… and check the boxes listed below:
Reset Top Sites
Remove all webpage preview images
Empty the cache
Clear the Downloads window
Remove all cookies
Remove all website icons
Remove saved names and passwords
Remove other AutoFill form text
Close all Safari windows
- click Reset
To clear your cookies, cache, history and passwords using Google Chrome follow these three steps.
- open Chrome and go to Chrome > Clear Browsing Data…
- select the period of time at the bottom, check the boxes including:
Clear browsing history
Clear download history
Empty the cache
Delete cookies and other site data
Clear saved passwords
Clear saved form data
- click Clear browsing data
To clear your cookies, cache, history and passwords using Internet Explorer follow these three steps.
- open Internet Explorer and go to Tools > Delete Browsing History…
- at this step you can independently delete the following:
Temporary Internet Files
- or you can choose to delete it all by selecting Delete all…
There is really a lot of flexibility in how much of your personal data remains online. Privacy and convenience are at odds as programs offer to remember your passwords and history in order to show relevant content and adds. The video below provides a quick walk through of the steps listed above to clear personal data using Mac.