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Home / Tips and Tricks / Browser Privacy Settings You Should Change Right Away: Chrome, Firefox, and More

Browser Privacy Settings You Should Change Right Away: Chrome, Firefox, and More



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Privacy is now a priority among browser makers, but they may not go as far as you̵

7;d like in fighting ubiquitous ad industry trackers on the web. Here’s how to increase your privacy settings to outsmart that online tracking.

Problems such as: Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal have put privacy protection on Silicon Valley’s priority list by showing how companies collect piles of data as you travel the Internet. Their goal? To build a richly detailed user profile so that you can become the target of more accurate, clickable and thus profitable advertisements.

Apple and Google are at war over the web, with Google aggressively pushing for an interactive web to compete with native apps and Apple slowing down — partly out of concern those new features will degrade security and be annoying to users. Privacy adds an extra dimension to the competition and to your browsing decision.

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Google and Apple are arguing over the future of the web. A CNET series examines the details.

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

For all the browsers listed here, you can give yourself a privacy boost by changing the default search engine. For example, try DuckDuckGo. While its search results may not be as helpful or in-depth as Google’s, DuckDuckGo has long been a favorite among the privacy-conscious for its refusal to track user searches.

Other universal privacy-enhancing options include disabling your browser’s location-tracking and search engine autocomplete features, disabling password autofill, and regularly deleting your browsing history. If you want to take your privacy to the next level, consider one of the virtual private networks reviewed by CNET that work with all browsers. (You can also check out our collection of browser-based VPNs to try.)

In the meantime, though, here are some simple settings you can change in your browser to keep a lot of ad trackers out of your way.

Chrome browser privacy settings to change

Google Chrome Internet Browser

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Unfortunately, the world’s most popular browser is also generally thought to be one of the most popular browsers least private straight out of the box when used. On the plus side, however, Chrome’s flexible and open-source underpinnings have allowed independent developers to release a slew of privacy-focused extensions to shake off trackers.

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In the Chrome Web Store, click Extensions on the left and type the name of the extension you’re looking for in the search bar. Once you find the right extension in the search results, click klikt Add to Chrome. A dialog box will appear explaining what permissions the extension has for your browser. Click Add extension to bring the extension into your browser.

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

Here are four extensions to look at as you get started: 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 all the way to something like DuckDuckGo’s app.

In the same three-dot menu in Chrome, you can also block third-party cookies by selecting: Settingsand then scroll down to the Privacy and security section and click Cookies and other site data. Select from here Block third-party cookies.

Read more: Google Chrome privacy is not the best. These browser extensions help

Safari browser privacy settings to change

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Angela Lang/CNET

Safari enables its own Intelligent Tracking Prevention tool by default to keep you one step ahead of privacy pests. Still, the tool hasn’t always worked smoothly since its debut in 2017. Google researchers have discovered what Intelligent Tracking Prevention itself could be like. used to track users, although Apple has fixed the problem.

Safari 14, announced in June and arriving later in 2020 with new ones MacOS Big Sur, can tell you which ad trackers are active on the website you visit and give you a 30-day report of the known trackers it identified while you were browsing. It will also tell you which websites those trackers come from.

To check if the blocking is enabled, open Safari and click Preferences, than Privacy. The box next to it Prevent cross-site tracking must be checked. While you are there, you can also manually delete your cookies. Click Manage website data to see which sites have left their trackers and cookies on your browser. Click remove next to one of the individual trackers you want to delete, or you can destroy the entire list by pressing . to click delete all at the bottom of your screen.

Cookies can be helpful, not only invasive, but for stronger privacy you can block them altogether – both first-party cookies from the website publisher and third-party cookies from others, such as advertisers. To do this, tick the box next to Block all cookies.

If you’re still looking for an extra layer of privacy, you can also install useful extensions from the App Store, such as 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 to

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Microsoft

Microsoft’s Edge browser includes some simplified options for blocking privacy and trackers on its Tracker Prevention screen. In Edge, select the three-dot menu icon in the top right corner and select Settings. Select from the menu that appears on the left Selecteer Privacy and services.

You get three settings to choose from: Basic, Balanced, and Strict. Edge uses the Balanced setting by default, which blocks trackers from sites you haven’t visited, while still being smooth enough to save most sites from some of the loading issues that might come with tighter security. Likewise, Edge’s Strict setting may interfere with the behavior of some sites, but block the largest number of trackers. Even the basic setting still blocks trackers used for crypto mining and fingerprinting.

Read more: Microsoft Edge privacy settings to change right away

Firefox browser privacy settings to change

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

From the main Firefox 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 from three options: Standard, Strict and Custom. Standard, the default Firefox setting, blocks private window trackers, third-party tracking cookies, and cryptominers. The Strict setting may break a few websites, but it will block everything blocked in standard mode, plus fingerprints and trackers in all windows. Customization is worth exploring for those looking 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: Stop Firefox from leaking your data on the Internet

Brave browser privacy settings to change

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When it comes to anti-tracking tools, Safari’s latest privacy updates are still less than most in the brave browser. By default, Brave blocks all ads, trackers, third-party cookies and fingerprints while still reaching blazing fast speeds. Brave also offers a built-in Tor private browsing mode, a heavy-duty tracker blocking option, and added a built-in VPN for iOS users.

From Bravemenu’s main menu, select Preferences to reveal the Settings panel on the left. Select shields to see a list of privacy options on the right side of the screen. By selecting the Advanced view, you can choose which types of trackers you want to block. By scrolling down, you can also block login buttons and embedded content from Facebook, Twitter, Google, and LinkedIn. For even more privacy protection and fine-tuning, explore Additional Settings on the left and select Privacy and security.

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

For more, check out the best password managers of 2021 and our Tor Browser FAQ.


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