How to clear or block cookies on an iPhone to help it run more efficiently

Hollis Johnson/Business InsiderClearing cookies on an iPhone can fix bugs, save space, and potentially help your phone’s browsers run faster.

  • If Safari isn’t displaying pages correctly, or your iPhone is running out of space, you might need to clear your cookies.
  • You can clear cookies on an iPhone with just a few taps in the Settings app.
  • You can also block cookies entirely, if you’re concerned about third-party websites collecting your personal information and browsing history.
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Cookies are small files that websites store on your phone or computer to help them remember information about you and your visit. In this way, they can customise and personalise your web experience. Your bank might use cookies to remember your login email address, and how to display the web page. A retailer might use cookies to remember what’s in your shopping cart.

Cookies can sometimes be a problem, though. You might need to clear your cookies on an iPhone to resolve a problem with the way your browser is behaving, or to save storage space. And some privacy advocates recommend blocking cookies entirely, so that websites can’t glean personal information about you.

That said, while occasionally clearing cookies can be beneficial, we recommend leaving your cookies enabled because blocking them leads to an inconvenient and unsatisfying web experience. If you’ve blocked cookies and later decided to turn them back on, see our article, “How to enable cookies on an iPhone to help streamline your web browsing.”

How to clear your cookies in Safari on an iPhone

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Scroll down and tap “Safari.”

3. Tap “Advanced” at the bottom of the page.

4. On the Advanced page, tap “Website Data.” On the Website Data page, you can see the size of the cookie files for every website stored on your iPhone.

  • To delete cookies for just certain sites, tap “Edit” and then tap the red icon to the left of the site’s name. Tap “Delete” to confirm your choice.
  • To delete all your cookies at once, tap “Remove All Website Data” and confirm this by tapping “Remove Now” in the popup window.
Cookies 1Dave Johnson/Business InsiderThe Website Data page in Settings let you clear your cookies – all at once or just for certain sites.

You might want to remove not just the cookies, but all history information from Safari as well – this saves additional storage space and can help you troubleshoot if Safari is misbehaving. To do that:

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Scroll down and tap “Safari.”

3. Tap “Clear History and Website Data.” Then confirm this by tapping “Clear History and Data” in the popup window.

Cookies 2Dave Johnson/Business InsiderYou can save additional space on your phone by deleting all web history information – not just cookies.

How to block cookies in Safari on an iPhone

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Scroll down and tap “Safari.”

3. Turn on Block All Cookies by sliding the button to the right, and then tap “Block All” to confirm.

Cookies 3Dave Johnson/Business InsiderYou can prevent websites from storing cookies on your iPhone by choosing to block all cookies.

How to clear your cookies in other browsers on an iPhone

If you are using a browser other than Safari on your iPhone – like Firefox or Google Chrome, for example – you can clear the cookies in those apps as well. You won’t find the controls for cookies in Settings, though. You will need to look in the app itself. In Firefox, for example:

1. Open the Firefox app.

2. Tap the menu in the lower right corner of the app (it’s shaped like three horizontal lines).

3. Tap “Settings,” and then tap “Data Management.”

4. Tap “Clear Private Data” and confirm your decision by tapping “OK” in the confirmation window.

Other third-party browsers let you clear cookies in a similar way. Here’s how to clear cookies in Chrome:

1. Open the Chrome app.

2. Tap the menu in the lower right (it looks like three horizontal dots).

3. Tap “Settings,” and then tap “Privacy.”

4. Tap “Clear Browsing Data” to go into a menu where you can select what you want to clear.

5. Select “Cookies, Site Data” and whatever else you’d like to erase, tap the red “Clear Browsing Data” button, and confirm when it asks you to.

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