Nowadays, we see a lot about the importance of monitoring the way we’re tracked online. We install firewalls, malware scanners, and hide our location. Some of us even cover up our webcams, just in case.
However, what you might not realize is that a lot of websites have made it really easy to track you after just one visit to their website. How do they do this? They install cookies in your browser and fill your cache with little bits of code that serve all sorts of purposes we tend to ignore.
From time to time, clear cache and cookies on your Mac. Even if you’re not concerned about the tracking aspect, too many cookies and a full cache will cause your Mac to slow down and start exhibiting irritating issues.
Not sure what any of this means or how to clear cache and cookies? You’re not alone! Read on for our guide to caches, cookies, and cleaning up your Mac.
What Is a Cache?
Each Mac computer (as well as other operating systems) contains a reserved space called the cache. When you visit a website, your computer saves various pieces of data to the cache and this does serve a notable function.
The purpose of this stored data is actually to make your Mac’s response time faster when you revisit sites you use often. You no longer have to wait for that saved data to load and, with Mac products connected to the same iCloud, this saved data will impact all of your devices.
However, there are a few reasons why you need to clear your cache from time to time.
For starters, websites undergo regular updates. You may be missing out on the latest features–or find that some websites won’t load at all–if your cache is trying to retrieve outdated data.
Plus, you really only want your cache to save the data from websites you use on a regular basis. Because it’s going to save all sorts of data over time, it can start to slow down your computer when it gets too full.
What Are Cookies?
Cookies are small pieces of code that websites actually attach to your browser–oftentimes without your knowledge. There are different types of cookies, and some are less nefarious than others.
Session cookies, for example, are not a huge deal most of the time. They are temporary cookies that retain information about how you interact with a website, amongst other things, only while you are on that website. Once you leave the page, those cookies self-delete.
Permanent cookies were designed with good intentions and these are the ones you’re probably most aware of–even if you didn’t realize you were dealing with cookies at all. Permanent cookies do things like save your login information for a specific website. That means that when you come back to that website later, you can automatically log in.
Third-party cookies are the big culprit when we’re talking about data tracking. Third-party cookies monitor your online behavior to collect data for companies and, more often than not, marketers. The idea is that third-party cookies can help improve user experience and targeted marketing but many people don’t like the idea of being “watched” online.
Can You Limit Your Exposure to Cookies?
Is there any way to actually limit your exposure to cookies from the get-go? Yes and no.
In other words, you may be able to limit your exposure to some cookies, but it’s not always worth the trouble figuring out how.
How to Clear Cache and Cookies on Your Mac
Because Apple is constantly making updates to the Mac operating system, you may find that the way you used to clear cache and cookies on a Mac doesn’t work anymore. Plus, you have a few options when it comes to Mac cache and cookies. You can clear only the ones you don’t want or need or–and this is often much faster–you can clear out the whole thing and start from scratch.
Head to this complete guide to Mac clear cache and cookies techniques to get the full scoop.
Heads Up: What Might Change After You Clear Cache and Cookies
We’ve already mentioned that when you clear cache and cookies, you can reduce the amount of slowdown on your Mac. You can also increase your browsing privacy and protect yourself from potential malware and data theft.
That said, don’t forget that your cache and certain kinds of cookies were designed to improve your user experience with different websites. After you clear out both, don’t be surprised when you have to log back into your various accounts on your Mac. You may even find that your targeted ads shift for a bit as data collectors scramble to figure you out again.
Limit Who Can Track You Online
Now that we live in a very digital world, it’s important that we protect ourselves, our data, and our personal information. It’s also important that we understand our online interactions and what they can do to our devices. Clear cache and cookies on your Mac from time to time as a precautionary and preventative measure.
Want to learn more about how the world is changing as a result of improved technology? Take a look around to keep up with all things digital.