How to Enable and Disable Cookies on Every Web Browser [Guide]

Want to know how to disable cookies and enable them for better privacy and device performance? We’ll show you what you need to know in this guide.
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Internet cookies are small text files that hold pieces of site data. That data could include your username and password for different websites or everything you left in your shopping cart when you closed your browser.

Browser cookies can be helpful because they keep you from having to enter the same data each time you visit a website. But cookies may also cause some frustrations since many ecommerce sites and social media platforms use third-party cookies as trackers so they can show you ads based on your internet browsing habits.

Aside from these privacy concerns, cookies themselves aren’t dangerous. The problem is some cybercriminals hijack cookies to gain access to your browsing sessions. The easiest way to stay in control of your online security is to know how to disable cookies and enable them in your web browser. Keep reading our guide to learn how and when to adjust your cookie settings, as well as the best ad blockers and virtual private networks (VPNs) for blocking cookies.

In this article
How to turn browser cookies on or off
When should you disable cookies?
When should you enable cookies?
Other ways to block cookies and trackers
FAQs for enabling and disabling cookies
Bottom line

How to turn browser cookies on or off

The process for enabling or disabling browser cookies may vary, depending on the web browser you use. We’ve provided information on the most popular platforms so that you can learn how to update your privacy settings no matter what browser you have.

Google Chrome

Managing your Chrome cookies is fairly straightforward unless you have an iOS device. Here’s how to enable and disable your browser cookies, plus a workaround for managing cookies on your iPad or iPhone.

Desktop

You can access your settings in Google Chrome by going to the drop-down menu under the vertical dots in the upper-right corner of the screen. Then follow these steps:

  1. From the drop-down menu, click Settings.
  2. Click the Privacy and security tab.
  3. Select Cookies and other site data, then look for the General settings section. It should be near the top.
  4. Choose the cookie settings you want:
    Allow all cookies enables all cookies, including third-party trackers, in Chrome.
    Block third-party cookies in Incognito allows all cookies when you use Chrome regularly, but blocks third-party trackers if you open an Incognito window.
    Block third-party cookies only blocks potential tracking cookies. Blocking these could cause some sites to not load properly.
    Block all cookies doesn’t allow cookies of any kind while you use Chrome. The browser doesn’t recommend this setting since disabling cookies can cause most sites to not load properly.

Google is removing third-party cookies from Chrome. Learn about Tracking Protection and how Google blocking cookies may affect you.

Android

The steps for enabling or disabling cookies in Chrome on your Android device are similar to the desktop version.

  1. Tap the three vertical dots in the top right of the browser window, then choose Settings.
  2. Tap Site Settings and choose Cookies.
  3. Here you can turn your cookies on or off.

iPhone and iPad

Unfortunately, Google Chrome for iOS devices doesn’t allow you to modify your cookie settings, and the browser automatically enables cookies. You can, however, clear your cookies by doing the following:

  1. Open Chrome and tap the three horizontal dots in the bottom-right corner of your screen.
  2. Scroll to the right and find the Settings option.
  3. Tap Privacy and Security, then Clear Browsing Data.
  4. Choose the items you want to clear, such as Cookies, Site Data, and set the time range.
  5. Tap Clear Browsing Data at the bottom of your screen.

Microsoft Edge

To enable or disable cookies in Microsoft Edge, follow these steps:

1. In your browser window, open Settings and More, then Settings.

2. Choose Site Permissions, then Cookies and Site Data.

3. Click See All Cookies and Site Data. Select the arrow for See All Cookies and Site Data to see all the cookies stored on your device.

Keep your device clutter-free and learn how to clear cookies in Microsoft Edge.

Mozilla Firefox

Want to turn cookies on or off in Mozilla Firefox? Follow these steps:

1. From the Firefox menu, go to Preferences, then select Privacy & Security.

2. You’ll see Enhanced Tracking Protection, and further down the page, you’ll find Cookies and Site Data. These are the locations for cookies and their settings.

3. You can make changes and manage cookies from both settings.

Take control of your online privacy — learn how to clear your Firefox cookies.

Apple Safari

Learning how to disable or enable cookies on Safari is pretty simple:

Desktop

  1. Open Safari, then click Safari in the top navigation bar and choose Preferences.
  2. Select the Privacy tab.
  3. Turn on Prevent Cross-site Tracking to block third-party cookies.
  4. If you want to completely disable Safari cookies, add a checkmark next to Block All Cookies.

iPhone or iPad

If you’re using an iOS device, you’ll find cookies under your iPhone’s or iPad’s Settings.

  1. Scroll down and tap Safari in the Settings menu.
  2. Scroll down to the Privacy & Security section.
  3. Toggle Prevent Cross-Site Tracking to block third-party cookies.
  4. To disable all Safari cookies, toggle the Block All Cookies setting on.

It’s a good idea to also delete your Safari cookies on a regular basis. Check out our guide on how to clear cookies in Safari to find out how.

Opera

Knowing how to turn cookies on or off in Opera gives you the ability to manage site referrals, redirects, and delete cookies at the end of each visit. Here’s how to turn your Opera cookies on and off:

  1. Open Opera and click the three horizontal bars in the top right corner to open the Easy Setup menu.
  2. Scroll down and click Go to Full Browser Settings.
  3. Click the Privacy & Security tab, then click Cookies and Other Site Data.
  4. Choose which cookie settings you want to use:
    Allow all cookies enables all cookies in Opera, including third-party cookies.
    Block third-party cookies in private mode enables all cookies when you use Opera regularly and blocks third-party cookies if you browse in private mode.
    Block third-party cookies blocks third-party cookies that might track you across other sites, but allows first-party cookies that belong to the site you’re currently visiting.
    Block all cookies disables all cookies. Opera doesn’t recommend this setting because most sites need cookies to load properly.

If you don’t want to delete previously installed cookies, Opera allows you to clear cookies whenever you close the browser.

Block all those annoying online ads

Total Adblock is an easy-to-use solution that helps you browse the internet anonymously and ad-free. You can block unwanted ads on YouTube, Facebook, Yahoo, and millions more websites.

It’s easy to set up and provides hands-off ad-blocking without disrupting your web surfing. With a 94/100 score from Adblock Tester, you can’t get much better.

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When should you disable cookies?

If you want to have more privacy, you should know how to disable cookies anytime you want. For example, if you share a device with others, the person who uses the machine after you could see your internet activity. Knowing how to browse online anonymously also helps to mitigate the chances of others seeing your browsing traffic.

Browser cookies may pose a security threat because hackers can hijack them to access your browser sessions. If the criminals get access, they can steal your personal information. They can use that to drain your bank accounts and steal your identity. Knowing how to change cookie settings will allow you to tweak internet cookies anytime.

Sometimes too many cookies can cause your device to get bogged down and run slow. Since the pages you browse get saved to your hard drive, you could accumulate tons of cookies over time, causing your computer to be slow. Learning how to disable cookies will cause less storage consumption, possibly increasing device performance.

You can delete browser cookies and get fewer targeted ads from online shopping sites. To delete browser cookies, a few quick steps is all it takes to lower the risks of a privacy breach.

When should you enable cookies?

Cookies get a bad reputation because of security issues, but there are times when you should know how to enable cookies.

When you accept cookies, you may have a better experience while you browse the internet. Online shopping sites use cookies to remember the items you saved in your shopping cart. Other sites use cookies to remember your login info — you probably don’t want to waste time logging in to the same websites you visit every day.

You may also want to know how to turn on cookies for accessing specific websites. Some sites won’t let you view their contents without accepting cookies.

Other ways to block cookies and trackers

If you’re tired of cookie consent banners and opting-out of tracking, you may want to use one or all of these options.

Cookie popups may seem like constant intrusions while you’re trying to work or shop online. To reduce the frequency of these annoying banners, you can use options like a VPN, browser extensions, and secure browsers.

VPNs

If you want to have next-level cyber protection, you may want to use a virtual private network (VPN). A virtual private network helps establish a secure connection when using the internet. All your data gets routed through an encrypted tunnel, which disguises your IP address. That helps guard against cyber attacks.

Some of our most recommended VPNs with ad-blocking features include:

  • NordVPN: On top of being one of the best VPN services, Nord also comes with ad and tracker-blocking capabilities. Its Threat Protection feature is meant to block risky websites, stop web tracking, clean up ads, and protect your device from viruses.
    Get NordVPN | Read Our NordVPN Review
  • Surfshark: Surfshark is one of the more affordable VPN services, which makes it a great option if you also want to use it for all your cybersecurity needs. Its CleanWeb feature helps block ads, malware, and tracker so long as you have an active VPN connection. 
    Get Surfshark | Read Our Surfshark Review
  • ExpressVPN: Although ExpressVPN does not block ads, it does block apps and websites from tracking your web activities with the Threat Manager function. It stays up to date on known trackers and malicious sites to protect your device. 
    Get ExpressVPN | Read Our ExpressVPN Review

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Browser extensions

Browser extensions can hide your online activities and keep your data safe. These can also block malicious websites and ads as well as provide anti-phishing technology for better security. Some privacy-focused browser extensions include:

  • Total Adblock: If you're looking for a free ad blocker extension, Total Adblock is a great option. It's easy to set up, works on its own once you've installed the extension, and received top scores when we tested for ad and tracker blocking. 
    Get Total Adblock | Read Our Total Adblock Review
  • Ghostery: Ghostery can block various types of ads, site analytics trackers, and social media trackers. On top of being an ad blocker, Ghostery also comes with a Private Browser and Private Search. 
    Get Ghostery | Read Our Ghostery Review
  • Privacy Badger: Privacy Badger is great if you are looking for a tool exclusively for tracker blocking. It can opt out of data sharing and selling on your behalf, and it can notify websites that you don't want to be tracked.
    Get Privacy Badger | Read Our Privacy Badger Review

Highly-Rated Ad Blocker
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Secure browsers

Secure browsers are helpful because they block trackers and reduce intrusive pop-up ads. They may also provide incognito windows so you can search in private mode. If you’re looking for a secure browser, a few examples include:

FAQs for enabling and disabling cookies


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Is it good to disable cookies?

It’s good to disable cookies when you’re concerned about privacy and the possibility of security threats. If you want to improve device performance, you may want to disable cookies to help.


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Should you allow all cookies?

You can allow all cookies, but we recommend declining third-party cookies. These cookies allow websites to gather your browsing data even when you’re not visiting that particular site. If you want to keep your personal information private, allowing all cookies is not advisable.


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How do you stop a site from asking you to accept cookies?

You can stop a site from asking you to accept cookies by blocking cookies under your privacy settings. You can also use secure browsers, VPNs, or browser extensions to keep your internet activity more private.

Bottom line

If all you’ve read and heard lately about cookies causes some concern, rest assured you can take control of your cookie settings. Learning how to enable and disable cookies gives you more options when browsing online.

The control is in your hands, and you can manage cookies as you see fit. Being able to make changes gives you more flexibility over your data. If you need somewhere to start, try one of the best VPNs to protect your online identity and encrypt your Wi-Fi.

4.9
Editorial Rating
Learn More
On NordVPN's website
VPN
NordVPN
Up to 64% off + Uber Eats voucher
  • High-quality VPN offering safety and speed
  • Loads of servers for multiple connection options
  • Works with popular streaming services, including Netflix
  • Too many confusing plans

Author Details
Patti Croft is a seasoned writer who specializes in all things technology. She holds a B.S. in Computer Science and carries a wealth of hands-on experience thanks to her background as a technical analyst and security specialist.