Do you care about privacy? You need to change these browser settings

James Martin/CNET

Privacy is now a priority for browser makers, but they may not go as far as you would like in the fight against the ad industry’s ubiquitous trackers. You can take charge of your online privacy and prevent this online tracking. A good start is to adjust some settings in your browser.

Brett Pearce/CBS

Problems like The Cambridge Analytica Facebook Scandal Raised privacy on Silicon Valley’s priority list by showing how companies compile tons of data when you browse the internet. Their objective? Build a richly detailed user profile in order to become the target of more precise, clickable and therefore more profitable advertisements.

Apple and Google are at war for the web, with Google aggressively pushing for an interactive web to compete with native apps and Apple moving more slowly – partly out of concern that new features will deteriorate security and be boring to use. Privacy adds another dimension to your browser competition and decision.

Apple has made privacy a top priority in all of its products, including Safari. For startup Brave, privacy is a core goal, and Mozilla and Microsoft tout privacy as a way to differentiate their browsers from Google Chrome. It’s later in the game, but Chrome engineers are building a “privacy sandbox” despite Google’s reliance on ad revenue.

For all browsers listed here, you can improve your privacy by changing the default search engine. For example, try DuckDuckGo. While its search results aren’t as helpful or deep as Google’s, DuckDuckGo has been a longtime favorite among privacy-conscious people for its refusal to track user searches.

Other universal privacy-boosting options include turning off your browser’s location tracking and search engine autocomplete features, turning off password autofill, and regularly deleting your browser history. navigation. If you want to take your privacy to the next level, consider trying one of the virtual private networks CNET reviewed that work with all browsers. (You can also check out our roundup of Browser-Based VPNs to Try and the best vpns for windows.)

In the meantime, however, here are some simple settings you can tweak in your browser to help keep a good chunk of ad trackers off your trail.

Chrome Browser Privacy Settings to Change

Google Chrome web browser

James Martin/CNET

The world’s most popular browser is also widely regarded as one of the the least private when used right out of the box. On the plus side, however, Chrome’s flexible, open-source underpinnings have allowed indie developers to release a slew of privacy-focused extensions to get rid of trackers.

In the Chrome Web Store, click Extensions on the left and type the name of the extension you are looking for in the search bar. Once you find the correct extension in the search results, click Add to Chrome. A dialog box will appear explaining what permissions the extension will have for your browser. Click on Add extension to put the extension in your browser.

If you change your mind, you can manage or remove your extensions by opening Chrome and clicking on the three dots Following menu on the right. Then select More tools then Extensions. From here you can also read more about the extension by clicking Details.

Here are four extensions to look at when starting out: Cookie Autodelete, uBlock Origin, Privacy Badger, and HTTPS Everywhere.

If you’re on Android, sorry: extensions don’t work. So you’ll have to switch browsers completely to something like DuckDuckGo’s app.

In the same Chrome three-dot menu, you can also block third-party cookies by selecting Settingsthen scroll to Privacy and Security section and clicking Cookies and other site data. From there, select Block third-party cookies.

Read more: Google Chrome’s privacy isn’t the best. These browser extensions will help you

Safari browser privacy settings to change


Angela Lang/CBS

By default, Safari enables its proprietary Intelligent Tracking Prevention tool to keep you one step ahead of privacy parasites. Even so, the tool hasn’t always worked smoothly since its debut in 2017. Google researchers have uncovered how Intelligent Tracking Prevention itself could be used to track usersalthough Apple has fixed the problem.

Safari is able to tell you which ad trackers are running on the website you’re visiting and provide you with a 30-day report of known trackers it has identified as you browse. It will also tell you which websites these trackers come from.

To verify that blocking is enabled, open Safari and click Preferencesthen Private life. The box next Prevent cross-site tracking must be checked. While you’re at it, you can also manually delete your cookies. Click on Manage website data to see which sites have left their trackers and cookies lying around in your browser. Click on To delete next to one of the individual trackers you’re ready to get rid of, or just nuke the whole list by clicking remove all at the bottom of your screen.

Cookies can be useful, not just invasive, but for greater privacy you can block them altogether – both first-party cookies from the website publisher and third-party cookies from others like advertisers. To do this, check the box next to Block all cookies.

If you’re still looking for another layer of privacy, you can also install useful extensions from the App Store like AdBlock Plus or Ghostery Lite for Safari.

Read more: Safari joins browsers that tell you who is trying to track you

Edge browser privacy settings to change

Microsoft Edge icon and logo


The Microsoft Edge browser includes simplified privacy and tracker blocking options on its Tracker prevention screen. In Edge, select the three-dot menu icon in the upper right corner and select Settings. From the menu that appears on the left, select Privacy and Services.

There are three settings to choose from: Basic, Balanced, and Strict. By default, Edge uses the Balanced setting, which blocks trackers from sites you haven’t visited while still being forgiving enough to save most sites from some of the loading issues that can come from tighter security. Similarly, Edge’s Strict setting may interfere with the behavior of some sites, but will block the most trackers. Even the basic setting will still block trackers used for cryptomining and fingerprinting.

Read more: Microsoft Edge privacy settings to change immediately

Firefox browser privacy settings to change


Angela Lang/CBS

Firefox’s default privacy settings are more protective than those of Chrome and Edge, and the browser also has more privacy options under the hood.

From Firefox’s main menu — or from the three-line menu on the right side of the toolbar — select Preferences. Once the Preferences window opens, click Privacy and Security. From here, you can choose between three options: Standard, Strict, and Custom. Standard, the default Firefox setting, blocks trackers in private windows, third-party tracking cookies, and cryptominers. the Strict The setting may break a few websites, but it blocks anything blocked in Standard mode, as well as fingerprints and trackers in all windows. Custom worth exploring for those who want to fine-tune how trackers are blocked.

To apply your new tracking settings after selecting your privacy level, click the Reload all tabs button that appears.

Read more: With Firefox, stop disclosing your data on the Internet

Brave browser privacy settings to change

Brave browser logo


When it comes to anti-tracking tools, Safari’s latest privacy updates still fall short of most of those found in the brave navigator. By default, Brave blocks all advertisements, trackers, third-party cookies, and fingerprinting while performing blazing speeds. Brave also offers a built-in Tor Private Browsing Modea robust tracker blocking option, and added a built-in VPN for iOS users.

From Brave’s main menu, select Preferences to reveal the Settings left panel. To select Shields to see a list of privacy options on the right side of the screen. By selecting the Advanced view, you will be able to choose the types of trackers to block. By scrolling down, you will also be able to block login buttons and embedded content from Facebook, Twitter, Google and LinkedIn. For even more privacy protection and tuning, explore Additional parameters on the left and select Privacy and Security.

Read more: If you’re worried about your online privacy, this is the browser to use.

To find out more, see the best password managers of 2022 and our Tor Browser FAQ.

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