How to shut off Browser Tracking

How to shut off Browser Tracking

Whenever you use the internet, whether it is on a desktop, laptop, or mobile device, your activities are tracked. This includes websites you visit, ads you click on, subjects you search, and videos you watch.

To do this, many websites save a portion of the data known as a cookie. Along with cookies, websites can use your user accounts (think, “sign in with Facebook” or when you use the same email account to sign up for a service) to gather information about your likes, interests, and activities.

Usually, cookies don’t pose a serious threat to your security; they are used to make your browsing experience faster and more convenient. Advertisers use browser tracking to create a more effective ad experience, news websites use it to offer you articles that better fit with your interests based on previous articles you’ve read, and sites like Hulu or Netflix use it to suggest titles you may like based on what you’ve watched historically.

However, sometimes the customized approaches that cookies provide go too far—particularly with advertisers. The approaches advertisers use often go beyond effective to invasive.

Is Browser Tracking Dangerous?

Typically, browser tracking does not pose a serious threat to your personal and financial security. However, the hyper-specific ads you start to see after searching something, can be unnerving and annoying.

If you’re not that into advertisers and service providers knowing what you’re up to 24/7, there are some options to up your privacy. It is important to keep in mind, though, that shutting off cookies or taking advantage of some of the other suggestions may limit the functionality of certain websites.

This article will outline how to turn off browser tracking on some of the most popular browsers, as well as on mobile devices. On top of simply shutting off cookies, we will also explain incognito mode and the Do Not Track setting on most browsers.

How to Turn Off Browser Tracking

Disable Tracking in Google Chrome

  1. Left click on the three vertical dots in the upper right hand corner of the browser.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. At the bottom of the page, click the Advanced drop down menu.
  4. Select Content Settings.
  5. Select Cookies.

Once in this section of preferences, you can pick and choose how strict you want your settings to be, including: whether or not the browser can use cookies at all; how long the browser can access the data; and whether or not third-party cookies are allowed. You can also block, allow, or choose to clear cache on exit for specific sites. There is no need to save, once you’ve adjusted a setting, it will save automatically.

Disable Tracking in Mozilla Firefox

  1. Left click on the three horizontal lines in the upper right hand corner of the browser.
  2. Select Options.
  3. Select Privacy and Security.
  4. Open Tracking Protection

Here you will be able to select when tracking protection will be allowed. You do not need to save your changes, they will be saved automatically upon selection.

Disable Tracking in Internet Explorer

  1. Left click on the horizontal dots in the upper right hand corner of the browser.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Click Do Not Track toggle to activate.

Withing Advanced Settings, choose whichever setting you prefer (block all cookies, block third party cookies, or don’t block cookies) from the Cookies drop down menu. There is no need to save, your selection will save automatically.

Disable Tracking in Microsoft Edge

  1. Left click on the horizontal dots in the upper right hand corner of the browser.
  2. Select Advanced Settings.
  3. Select View Advanced Settings.

Disable Tracking in Safari

  1. Left click on the Cog icon in the upper right hand corner of the browser.
  2. Select Preferences.
  3. Select the Security tab.
  4. Under Cookies, select your preference. There is no need to save, your selection will be saved upon closing the window.

What is the Do Not Track Option and How to Enable it

The Do Not Track option is a technology proposal that allows users to opt-out of browser tracking. It is important to note that this option is voluntary, so most browsers give you the option to send a Do Not Track Request, but it is up to the website whether or not they comply. Selecting the Do Not Track Option is pretty straight forward on all browsers.

Using Do Not Track on Google Chrome

  1. Left Click the vertical dots in the right hand corner of the browser.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Select the Advanced drop down menu.
  4. Select Send Do Not Track Request.

Using Do Not Track on Mozilla Firefox

  1. Left click on the three horizontal lines in the upper right hand corner of the browser.
  2. Select Options.
  3. Select Privacy and Security.
  4. Under Tracking Protection select your preference on when to send the Do Not
  5. Track Request.

Using Do Not Track on Internet Explorer

  1. Left click on the horizontal dots in the upper right hand corner of the browser.
  2. Select Settings.
  3. Select View Advanced Settings.
  4. Select Send Do Not Track Requests.

Using Do Not Track on Safari

  1. Left click on the cog icon in the upper right hand corner.
  2. Select Preferences.
  3. Select Privacy.
  4. Under Website Tracking select “Ask Websites Not to Track Me.”

What is Incognito Mode?

If you truly want more privacy when browsing or intermittent privacy, consider activating incognito mode or private browsing. Private-mode prevents internet history and cookies from being stored. It’s important to note, however, that this doesn’t stop your ISP from seeing the pages you visit and the information you put into those pages, like search terms. Similarly, incognito does not protect you from malware attacks.

Going Incognito on Google Chrome

  1. Left click on the vertical three dots in the upper right hand corner.
  2. Select More tools.
  3. A list of all extensions will appear. Those extensions that can be enabled in
  4. Incognito will have a box underneath them. To enable in Incognito, click the box beside “Allow in Incognito.” To disable an extension, uncheck the box.

In Google Chrome, you can also open a new incognito window by selecting File and “Open New Incognito Window” from the dropdown.

Opening a Private Window on Mozilla Firefox

  1. Left click the menu (three horizontal lines) in the upper right hand corner.
  2. Select open private browsing window.

Private Browsing on Internet Explorer

  1. Left click on the menu (three horizontal dots) in the upper right hand corner.
  2. Select New Inprivate window.

InPrivate Browsing is only available on IE 8 or later. You can also open a window by selecting InPrivate Browsing from the Tools dropdown in the toolbar or use the command Ctrl + Shift + P.

Incognito on Safari

  1. Choose File.
  2. Select New private menu.

You can also open an Incognito window quickly with Cmd + Shift + N.

Disabling Cookies and Enabling Do Not Track Option on Mobile

Apple iOS

There are two steps you can take in order to have the most privacy on Apple

  1. iOS devices. First:
  2. Go to Device Settings.
  3. Go to Privacy.
  4. Select Advertising.
  5. Turn on Limit Ad Tracking.
    Next:
  6. Go to Device Settings.Select Safari.
  7. Turn on Block all Cookies.
  8. Turn on Ask Websites Not to Track Me.

Android

Similarly, on Android first thing you can do is

  1. Go to your Google settings.
  2. Click on personal info and privacy.
  3. Scroll down to Ads Settings.
  4. Turn off Ads Personalization.
  5. Uncheck the box next to “Use Google account activity and information to personalize ads on websites and apps and store that data in your Google Account.”
  6. Scroll all the way down to “Opt Out Of More Ads” link.

After clicking it, you’ll be able to do a Webchoices tool scan. This Digital Advertising Alliance tool will let you do a mass opt-out of customized behavior- and interest-based ads by over 100 different ad networks, besides Google.

How to Activate Do Not Track Mode on Chrome for Android

  1. Open the Chrome app.
  2. Tap More, then tap Settings.
  3. Under Advanced, tap Privacy.
  4. Tap Do Not Track.
  5. At the top of the screen, tap the switch on or off.

How to Disable Cookies on Chrome for Android

  1. Open the Chrome app.
  2. At the top right, tap More, then click Settings.
  3. Tap Site Settings then click Cookies.
  4. Turn Cookies on or off—or you may choose the option to disable only third-party cookies for more private browsing and less targeted ads.

Turn on Private Browsing on Chrome for Android

  1. Open Chrome app.
  2. Tap More and then New Incognito Tab.
  3. When the new window appears, check for the incognito icon in the top left.

How to Turn On Do Not Track Mode on Firefox for Android

  1. Tap the menu button, then tap Settings.
  2. Click Privacy.
  3. On the Privacy screen, put a check next to the Do Not Track box.

How to Disable Cookies on Firefox for Android

  1. Open Firefox, tap menu button.
  2. Go to Settings then tap Privacy and select Cookies.
  3. Choose the Enabled option, excluding third-party, which doesn’t allow third-party cookies used by advertisers.

Activating Private browsing on Firefox for Android

  1. Tap the menu button.
  2. Select New Private Tab.

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