Complete Guide to Cookies and Where They're Stored

Web browsers use computer cookies to save information about your habits. So, where are cookies stored? We cover all you need to know about finding your cookies in this article.
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Imagine having to log in each time you opened your email or rebuilding your shopping cart every time you visit Amazon. Sounds inconvenient and frustrating, right?

This is where computer cookies come in. Cookies get created when you visit a website. These text files identify you and help streamline your online experience. Once created, cookies are stored in a file on your hard drive or browser, depending on your operating system and the browser you use. Some cybersecurity tools, such as VPNs, can help hide your identifying information from online cookies. 

Keep reading to learn what you should know about where to find and manage your cookies. 

Delete your cookies, here’s how

You can easily clear browsing data and browser cookies with a few quick steps. To delete Google Chrome cookies, you can clear your browsing data. When you delete Firefox cookies, head to the Preferences tab to clear the history. Keep reading this guide to learn how to manually delete cookies by searching for cookie files or folders.

In this article
What’s the format of cookies?
Where are cookies stored in Windows 10?
How to view hidden files and folders in Windows 10
Where is the Microsoft Windows cookies folder?
Google Chrome
Mozilla Firefox
Microsoft Edge
Opera
Where are cookies stored in macOS?
How to view hidden files and folders in macOS
Google Chrome
Mozilla Firefox
Microsoft Edge
Opera
FAQs
Bottom line

What’s the format of cookies?

Cookies are text files stored on your computer. These are small pieces of site data including your browsing history, website permissions and settings, and other data such as information you’ve entered into a website.

Cookies can’t infect your device with malware on their own, but criminals can hijack cookies and get access to your browsing data. Cookies can be visible to hackers while in transit and could become a serious privacy and security concern if sent in plain text. A hacker could then observe the cookie file and grab the website data inside.

This could include stealing your session ID and tracking it wherever you’ve been on the internet. While doing so, the hacker can pretend to be you, essentially stealing your identity. This process is cookie theft. Due to this and third-party cookie privacy issues, it’s important to understand how cookies are used and why you should clear them regularly.

Do VPNs block cookies?

VPNs don’t block or remove cookies from your web browser, but since VPNs hide your IP address, they can prevent cookies from gaining accurate information about your location. VPNs have additional benefits such as encrypting your information when you use public Wi-Fi networks.

Some popular VPNs include:

  • NordVPN: NordVPN is affordable and easy to use. You can connect to over 5,000 servers, and NordVPN uses excellent AES-256 encryption.

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  • Surfshark: Surfshark VPN has a wide range of features, especially at its affordable price. You can access over 3,200 servers and it uses gold-standard AES-256 encryption.

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  • ExpressVPN: ExpressVPN is a bit pricey compared to other VPNs, but its excellent security features make it worth it. It has excellent speed, does not keep logs, and supports many types of devices.

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Where are cookies stored in Windows 10?

The cookies files stored in Windows 10 get hidden by default. They are marked as protected system items, so you won’t find them without enabling the viewing of hidden files and folders.

How to view hidden files and folders in Windows 10

If you want to find cookies in Windows 10, keep in mind that these are hidden by default. You can update your privacy settings to view protected and hidden files and folders by opening File Explorer, clicking the View tab, and checkmarking the Hidden items option.

Alternatively, you can reveal hidden files and folders on Windows 10 by opening File Explorer, clicking the View tab, and following these steps:

1. Click Options and a Folder Options menu should appear.

2. In the Folder Options window, toggle Show hidden files, folders, and drives on, then click Apply.

To view hidden files and folders on Windows 10, open your File Explorer, click the View tab, and check the box next to Hidden files.

Where is the Microsoft Windows cookies folder?

In general, to get to the Microsoft cookies folder in Windows 10 or 11, you can open the Run box, type shell:cookies, and press Enter. They’re located in the INetCookies folder in the C: drive. Your cookies are located in the same folder if you use Windows 8 or Windows 8.1.

For Windows 7, there’s a Cookies folder under the C: drive path here: C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Cookies

Locating and clearing cookies may also depend on the browser you use. For example, you can see the folder where Windows stores cookies, but you might not be able to manage them without accessing your browser settings.

On Windows, older versions of Chromium-based browsers, like Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Opera, may store cookie files in the Default folder. Newer versions, like ours, store cookie files in the Network folder.

Where is the Google Chrome cookies folder stored in Windows 10?

1. Open File Explorer and go to C:\Users\Your_User_Name\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default\Network.

2. Replace Your_User_Name with the name of your Windows 10 account.

You can find the Google Chrome cookies folder in the Windows AppData > Local > Google > Chrome folders.

Since the information isn’t readable, you can still manage cookies in Google Chrome in the browser.

Where are Mozilla Firefox cookies stored in Windows 10?

1. Go to the File Explorer’s address bar.

2. Enter the path information: C:\Users\Your_User_Name\AppData\Roaming\Mozilla\Firefox\Profiles. Replace Your_User_Name with your Windows 10 user account name.

You can find the Mozilla Firefox cookies folder in Windows 10 by opening the AppData > Roaming folders.

3. Open the Profiles folder and look for a folder with the word “default” or “default-release” in its name. For example, your profile folder might be titled “######.default-release,” where “######” is a string of letters and numbers.

4. That will take you to your profile folder. In the folder, you’ll find the file cookies.sqlite.

Where are Microsoft Edge cookies stored in Windows 10?

1. Go to the File Explorer’s address bar.

2. Enter the path information: C:\Users\Your_User_Name\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Edge\User Data\Default\Network.

You can find the cookies folder for Microsoft Edge in Windows 10 by opening the AppData > Local folders.

3. Replace Your_User_Name with your Windows 10 user account name.

4. That will take you to your profile folder. In the folder, you’ll find your cookie file.

1. Go to the File Explorer’s address bar.

2. Enter this path information: C:\Users\Your_User_Name\AppData\Roaming\Opera Software\Opera Stable\Network.

The Opera cookies folder is located in the AppData > Roaming folders in Windows 10.

3. Replace Your_User_Name with your Windows 10 user account name.

Where are cookies stored in macOS?

When you use a Mac computer, you have a user profile folder where your cookies get stored. You can find this folder and get to each browser’s specific cookies folder by opening the Library folder.

To do this, open Finder, select Go from the top menu, and choose Go to Folder. Once there, type in ~/Library/ and choose the first option that pops up. (It should be Users > [Your Profile Name] > Library.)

Your macOS cookies are stored in the Library folder.

To view your saved cookies, you can navigate to each browser’s folder in the Library with our steps below. To delete your cookies, you’ll need to clear them using your browser’s settings. (You might even choose to browse anonymously to avoid saving cookies altogether.)

How to view hidden files and folders in macOS

Sometimes Apple hides files that you may not need access to all the time, like your cookies folder. The fastest way to find hidden files in macOS is to open Finder and press Command + Shift + . (period), then press the same combination to get out of it.

Remember, there are folders you might not want to access for your Mac’s safety. If you can’t see it, you can’t break it.

Where are Google Chrome cookies stored in macOS?

To view your Google Chrome cookies on your Mac, open up your Library folder and follow these steps:

1. Click the Application Support folder, then choose the Google folder.

Google Chrome cookies are stored in the Chrome folder on your Mac.

2. Select the Chrome folder. If you use Chrome profiles, you’ll want to choose the profile you use, such as Profile 2.

3. You’ll see a Cookies text file that holds all of your saved Google Chrome cookies.

Be sure to select the correct Chrome profile to delete the cookies associated with your browsing history.

Where is the Mozilla Firefox cookies folder stored on macOS?

You can find your Mozilla Firefox cookies on your Mac with these steps:

1. In your Library, open the Application Support folder and select the Firefox folder.

You'll find your Firefox folder in the Application Support folder on your Mac.

2. Open the Profiles folder and look for a folder with the word “default” in its name. For example, your profile folder might be titled “######.default,” where “######” is a string of letters and numbers. Open this folder and you should find your Firefox cookies.sqlite text file inside.

Your Firefox cookies are stored in your Firefox profile folder on macOS.

Our Firefox cookies file was in a “######.default-release” folder. If you can’t find the cookies.sqlite file in the first folder you open, try looking for a folder with “default-release” in the name.

Where are Microsoft Edge cookies stored in macOS?

Looking for Microsoft Edge cookies on your Mac? You can find them here:

1. In your Library folder, open the Application Support folder and choose the Microsoft Edge folder.

Look in the Library > Application Support folders for the Microsoft Edge folder on Mac.

2. Look for the Default folder, then open it to find your Cookies text file.

To find Microsoft Edge cookies, open the Microsoft Edge > Default folders on your Mac.

Where is the Opera cookies folder stored on a Mac?

1. Navigate to your Library and choose the Application Support folder.

2. You’ll find your Opera cookies stored in the ~/Library/Application Support/com.operasoftware.Opera folder.

To find Opera cookies stored on your Mac, open the Library > Application Support folders and look for com.operasoftware.Opera folder.

FAQs


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Are cookies stored on your hard drive?

There are cookies that are stored on your hard drive. These are responsible for remembering credentials for logging into different websites.


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How long do cookies stay on your computer?

Some cookies are temporary and get deleted once you close your browser. Others can stay 30 days and even over a year at times.


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How often should you clear cookies?

You should clear cookies on your devices at least once a month to keep your device clean and performing well. If you use a shared computer, it’s wise to clear cookies whenever you log off.

Bottom line

Cookies can play a role in helping you have a better internet experience. No one wants to remember what was in their shopping cart when they logged off or have to enter their passwords every time they check their email. (Password managers can help with that too!)

Still, it’s crucial that you manage cookies regularly for privacy reasons and to keep your device clean. Cookies hold some security concerns regarding tracking and malware always being an issue. You can also learn more about updating your privacy settings to have a safer online experience and maintain security while using the internet.

4.9
Limited-time offer: Up to 67% off
Learn More
On NordVPN's website

NordVPN
  • 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.