Cannot block cookies

Discussion in 'OS X Mountain Lion (10.8)' started by idunn, Apr 29, 2015.

  1. idunn macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2008
    My apologies in advance if this is a tired topic, something I should have long since known about, if obviously not. Nevertheless I find it strange that, according to Apple, one cannot stop Safari from accepting cookies. I'll explain.

    As a matter of course I've long had Safari set to block cookies from third parties and advertisers, but otherwise accept them. As some sites and functions require cookies to operate. But in recently checking I discovered over 1,500 cookies stored, which seemed a bit much. Thus I decided to experiment with another regimen, delete all existing cookies and set Safari in the privacy setting of its preferences to always block cookies. With some minor exceptions.

    Those being in instances when a particular site could not function without a cookie—so I would allow them just as long as that took. And then remove all the many other cookies which had accumulated in that short period, resetting the preference to no longer accept any cookies. In short, over a few days I became quite aware of the cookie status on this Macbook. Which, yes, is running OS 10.8.5.

    In the interim I've noticed a few strange things, if chalking that up to my oversight. But then this morning in looking finding I had 78 new cookies since yesterday, when I had quite deliberately set the preference to 'Always' block cookies and other website data, then removing all cookies to zero. And still set to 'Always' this morning but, as said, now with 78 new cookies.

    In therefore contacting Apple to inquire about this, I was informed by one of their representatives that—despite what Safari preferences might say—that one cannot block cookies. That, according to him, indeed no site could operate without the ability to place a temporary cookie.

    My response to him was that a temporary cookie (if there is such a thing) seemed as bad as one permanent, if one didn't want it there. Moreover that in checking while he was off researching this I had again cleared all cookies, set the setting to 'Always,' closed Safari, reopened it to a page and suddenly with two new cookies. But in going to several other sites with no additional cookies (so obviously they hadn't generated them to operate). He had no answer for that, or for my personal opinion that 'Always' means always, no exceptions.

    So a brief chat then with his supervisor, who reiterated the same story that despite what one might otherwise think or prefer, that Safari will as a matter of course accept cookies—no matter the setting in preferences. Both also assured me that one could always opt to have website not track me (which has been selected on forever), and that then nothing malicious might occur. If now I have as much faith in that as 'Always' meaning always.

    In a couple days I'm going to venture to an appointment at a local Apple store to see what their opinion is on all this.

    But what are yours? Should one expect to have no ability to block cookies in Safari?
  2. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    Possible solution:

    Use the "Safari Cookies" extension to manage and control your cookies.

    It will not "block" new cookies from being created when you visit a site, but it WILL remove them after every session with Safari.

    You can individually designate which cookies you want to retain.
    All others will be removed when you quit Safari.
    You can also choose to "mass obliterate" unwanted cookies manually.
  3. idunn thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2008

    Note: Thank you for the advice on a Safari extension which would remove cookies after every session. Would this be a feature within Safari, not third party, and how would one implement it?

    Update: Having just returned from visiting the genius bar at an Apple store—for the second time in about as many days—I can provide some details.

    The short answer is there is no way to prevent Safari from storing website data. Whether this is immediately clear depends on whom one talks with, but eventually the conclusion of all.

    Although cookies themselves might be blocked if one chooses to "Always" block cookies and other website data, the other related data is not. If referring to the details of that incoming, then this other data would principally be listed as "Cache."

    My understanding that Safari decides what is what, and if something is a cookie it will list it as such. Exactly what a cache might be is another matter, if presumably necessary for a website to function. But visiting but a single website can result in a whole host of them, including such things as 'doubleclick' and 'facebook,' even if one has never had anything to do with Facebook. Presumably such caches are benign, but one has to accept that more as a matter of faith.

    In asking this Apple genius today if there were alternatives to having to accept this plethora of who knows what, he said all he knew of was the Duck browser. Although in looking later my best guess is the Duck browser is a Microsoft product, and likely unrelated to the DuckDuckGo search engine (or the outfit that does care about one's privacy).

    I also took the opportunity while at the Apple store to see if a new MacBook with OS Yosemite would prove any different. This running Safari 8.5. The privacy preferences are somewhat different if essentially the same. And the answer is no, this newest version of Safari will not block all website data either.

    Returning me to my original opinion that when Apple says in Safari preferences that one can select to "Always" block cookies and other website data, such should be the case. If, it seems, sadly not. For the truly dedicated a browser configured to use Tor might be an answer. But for someone just wanting to be left alone and Safari to do what it purports to in this regard—good luck.
  4. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
    As I posted above, I suggest you try downloading and installing the "Safari Cookies" extension.

    Would you like me to repeat it again?
  5. idunn thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jan 12, 2008
    Thanks, but ...

    Thank you for reference to the Safari cookie extension which, if I am correct, would be Cookie Stumbler.

    If in looking at this, I'll pass. The only advantage seems to lie in it automatically purging all cookies and related data on quitting Safari, if something I can otherwise do manually at any time.

    Some downsides reported are possible conflicts with other Safari extensions. As well the free version being of little value, so in reality a paid proposition.

    Then too, from my own perspective, what exactly is this? Who are these guys? Unless such an extension is directly from Apple or expressly approved by them, one might wonder.

    Bringing me back to Apple. They seem far too cavalier, indeed disingenuous, with the internet security of their customers. I would hope for a best resolution there.

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