How to remove all your cookies, cached data, and browsing history from Safari

Help protect your privacy with these simple tips!

David Bisson
@DMBisson

Periodically clearing web browsing history and cookies is an important process that allows web users to optimize their browsing sessions and protect their privacy. That’s why we at Graham Cluley Security News have created a series of guides detailing how users can delete their information in some of the most well-known web browsers. So far, we’ve covered Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explore, and Microsoft Edge.

We will now discuss how users of Safari, Apple’s signature web-browser, can clear their browsing histories and other cached information.

Clear Cache (and Cookies)

Safari doesn’t allow you to delete just the cookies. You must delete cookies along with cached data, should you so choose. Here’s how you do it:

  1. Open a new browsing window in Safari. Click Safari in the menu bar and scroll down to the option Preferences.
  2. A dialog box containing several tabs pops up. Click on the Privacy tab.
  3. Click the Remove All Website Data… button.
  4. In the subsequent dialog box that pops up, select the websites for which you’d like to delete cookies and cached data. When you’re finished making your selection, click Done. (Alternatively, you can hit the Remove All button near the bottom of the dialog box.)
  5. Click the Remove Now button when prompted to confirm your decision.
Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison

FYI, you can use the Privacy tab in the Preferences menu to further refine your privacy settings. For instance, you can tell Safari to ask websites not to track you, deny websites’ use of your location, and block cookies and cached data altogether.

Emptying Just the Cache

While you can’t delete cookies without the cache, you can clear the cache without affecting the cookies. To do so, you’ll need to access the Develop menu. Chances are you can’t see that option in your menu bar. To activate it, navigate to Safari > Preferences > Advanced and click the checkbox for “Show Develop menu in menu bar.”

You should now see the Develop menu in the menu bar. Click on it and select Empty Caches.

Source: Macworld

All that remains is for you to close the window and open another one to start Safari with a clean cache.

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Burn All the History!

  1. Open a new browsing window in Safari. Click Safari in the menu bar and scroll down to the Clear History… option.
  2. A dialog box will pop up. Select from the Clear drop-down menu how much of your history you’d like to clear.* You could remove your history from the past hour, from that day, from both that day and the previous day, or from all your time spent using Safari.
  3. Once you’re done, hit the Clear History button.

* Please note that Safari takes a “scorched earth” policy to its Clear History function. Not only does it clear the record of the websites to which you’ve navigated, but it also deletes snapshots for open webpages, websites that have asked to use your location and/or send you notifications, and a whole bunch of other information.

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David Bisson is an infosec news junkie and security journalist. He works as Contributing Editor for Graham Cluley Security News and Associate Editor for Tripwire's "The State of Security" blog.

2 comments on “How to remove all your cookies, cached data, and browsing history from Safari”

  1. Thanks GC for all your help on staying current re: computer security.

    No matter how many times I ''Remove All'' under the Manage Website Date,
    these keep showing up:

    • citi.com
    Databases

    • google.com
    Cache

    • gstatic.com
    Cache

    Is there any way to know how they avoid being removed and fix the problem?

  2. Hello Graham, thank you for all this information.

    @John E: Hi John, try the security settings -> WebGL settings and have a look if the site appearing there. Gstatic and google are more or less the same. The first is the CDN of Google. Further, check your bookmarks and reading lists if there is anything. If so, just delete it if you do not need it anymore and then it should be fine.

    Best,
    Stefanie

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