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What Am I Missing? – Safari and Cookie Management Tools?

PC user for 4+ decades, brand new to Mac. Trying to fully drink the Kool-Aid by using Safari, however I am surprised at what I am finding regarding cookies.

1) I see the settings under Website Tracking to “Prevent cross-site tracking”. Is that the Safari equivalent to the more typical “Block all 3rd Party Cookies” you would find in other browsers?

2) With the Prevent cross-site tracking turned on, I still see far too many cookies being stored, from the notorious tracking sites (Google, Facebook, Twitter etc.), that I have absolutely never browsed to such that cookies & cache should be stored. Am I wrong in assuming that Safari is sorely lacking in it’s prevention of cross-site tracking?

3) With all that said, I am shocked that, so far, I cannot find any browser extensions or tools for managing and cleaning-up cookies. In FireFox, one of my main goto extensions is “Cookie AutoDelete”. The ability to whitelist certain sites for retention while deleting all the rest upon browser, or better yet Tab, closure is the ultimate capability from my perspective.

4) To but an umbrella question over the 3 items above, am I missing a resource that I just haven’t yet discovered in my whopping 1 week of Mac and Safari usage so far? If so, or if not, why does the micro (or even macro) management of Cookies seem to be a no-show in Safari out-of-the-box, or view extensions or utility apps?

As I acclimate to the peculiarities of Safari, I am learning to appreciate it. However, cookie management seems all but ignored. Manually running through the Privacy > Manage Website Data is far too painful and is driving me to want to install FireFox.

By the way… Being a deep-dive PC user with 40+ years of IT background, one of my main concerns in shifting to a Mac was the idea of how long it would take me to acquire a reasonably equivalent understanding or Macs as I do PCs. Of all the resources and YouTube channels I have been inundating myself with, yours is BY FAR the greatest resource for the types of things I am trying to learn. Thank you so much for what you do, and your approach to doing it.

The “why” is to minimize exposure to data farming from my browser cookies and local caches. Finding something functionally equivalent to what the “Cookie AutoDelete” extension does for FireFox is what I am after.

Device: Mac Running Big Sur

App: Safari

Comments: 3 Responses to “What Am I Missing? – Safari and Cookie Management Tools?”

    2 years ago

    Yes, cross-site tracking and "3rd party cookies" are essentially the same idea. A "3rd party" would be a cookie set by another site than the one you are currently viewing, because of content on that page that belongs to the 3rd-party site. It then uses it to track you when you are at another site that is also showing content from that 3rd party.

    According to the help info right there in Safari, the "Prevent cross-site tracking" option means "tracking data is periodically deleted unless you visit the third-party content provider."

    So it isn't that cookies aren't stored, it is just that they don't hang around. The idea is to prevent them from tracking you because the cookies won't stay.

    I think the problem with just all-out blocking third-party cookies was that many sites relied on cross-site cookies for login and security features. For instance, a site may have legitimate components at several different server domains. Then we always used to get error messages that we must enable third-party cookies for the site to work. With the "temporary" method, that's no longer a problem. But advertisers can't use it to track you.

    2 years ago

    Thanks for the quick response. Any thoughts regarding the portion of my inquiry regarding extensions or tools (or the seeming lack thereof) for Safari to help manage cookies? Safari may not it built it in but why the barren landscape when it comes to 3rd party? Is it just Apple exercising control over the browser and thus tying the hands of what developers can do? I believe that was the reasoning I came across regarding Cookie AutoDelete not being available for Safari.

    2 years ago

    Darrell: I've never looked into any extensions to manage cookies. Search the App Store. I suspect that the reason you won't find many is that any extension that can access your cookies is also a security risk, right? Apple does do a lot to limit what developers can do, but it isn't to "exercise control" -- after all you can install any app you want on your Mac and make your own. It is to make sure regular users don't have their security compromised.

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