Protecting Your Privacy in Safari for OS X El Capitan

Discussion in 'Guides, How Tos and Reviews' started by MacRumors, Aug 5, 2016.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    Every time you visit a website you are sharing information about yourself with the outside world. This article runs through a number of methods you can use to gain more control over what gets shared, and who it gets shared with, whenever you use Apple's Safari browser to access the web on a Mac.

    It also covers methods you can use to prevent traces of your browsing history from showing up on your computer. While you may trust friends and family not to go searching through your web history, it's possible for them to unintentionally discover what you've been looking at, just by using Safari or performing an innocent search on your Mac. If you're interested in a similar overview covering Safari on iOS, check out this guide.

    This guide assumes you are using the latest public release of OS X El Capitan (10.11.6 as of initial writing), which you can check by clicking the ? symbol in the menu bar at the top left of your screen and selecting "About This Mac". The version number appears beneath the OS X version name. If you're not up to date, you can download and install the latest version of OS X via the Mac App Store located on the Dock or in the Applications folder.

    Cookies, Location Services, and Tracking

    Many websites attempt to store cookies and other web page data on computers used to access online content. Cookies are small data files that can include things like your IP address, operating system, web browser version, the date you last visited the site, as well as any personal information you may have provided, such as your name, email address, and any relevant preferences. This information is used to identify you when you revisit a site, so that it can offer tailored services, provide specific content, or display targeted ads.

    Websites are increasingly upfront about their use of cookies - you've probably seen notices on popular sites requesting that you acknowledge their use. That's largely because EU law requires sites based within its borders to get consent from visitors to store or retrieve cookie data, and as of September 2015, Google requires that any website using its advertising products complies with the law if any of its visitors are inside the EU, regardless of where the site itself is based.

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    By default, Safari accepts cookies and website data only from websites you visit, and attempts to block third-party cookies that try to target you with ads or create a profile of your online activities. If you don't like the idea of being tracked at all, you can selectively block the use of cookies by following the steps below. Note however that some pages might not work unless you allow the use of cookies, so if you run into login problems or other issues on familiar sites after adjusting these settings, then you might want to dial back the changes.


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    Article Link: Protecting Your Privacy in Safari for OS X El Capitan
     
  2. iapplelove macrumors 601

    iapplelove

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    #2
    There is no such thing as privacy any longer if you are connected to the web. You can practice safer browsing techniques but if you are connected and chose a digital life you are volnerable.
     
  3. Stike macrumors 65816

    Stike

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    #3
    I got tired of managing tracking cookies (yes, they DO get set even with "do not track" activated!) with an external app named Cookie. Deleting cookies also removes useful cookies like logins.

    Now I am mainly using Brave as my browser. Useful cookies are accepted, tracking cookies are always blocked, no matter which site is planting them.
     
  4. psik macrumors 6502

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  5. miknos Suspended

    miknos

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    #5
    Forgot to mention disable iCloud Safari option. Having bookmarks synced was useful but that option is not available anymore. Now you share your growing history.
     
  6. KALLT macrumors 601

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    Sep 23, 2008
    #6
    Do not track is nothing more than a signal that your browser sends along. Whether websites honour this setting is up to them and most do not even pay attention to it.

    What is so tiring about Cookie though? You set it up once and mark your favourite websites. Cookie takes care of the rest and deletes all non-favourites and tracking cookies automatically. It even gets rid of Flash and Silverlight cookies.

    The problem with cookies is that websites can detect if you are blocking cookies or not. It is thus better to let them set cookies and just remove them periodically.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 5, 2016 ---
    That depends on your definition of privacy as well as the persons you want to protect yourself against. It is certainly impossible to shield yourself completely, but it is relatively easy to keep certain groups out.
     
  7. jdillings macrumors 68000

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    #7
    This is another great article reminding consumers of the privacy safeguards available to them in Apple products.
     
  8. SteveW928 macrumors 68000

    SteveW928

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    #8
    Yea, for the most part, unless you have a clean everything through a VPN... then you're pretty safe if the VPN provider isn't compromised.

    But, the more of these kind of techniques you implement, the more work it makes to track everything related to you. Or, at least it keeps you a bit anonymous from provider to provider. The gov't is a whole other matter (and, unfortunately, the biggest threat).

    Yea, that's the problem. Cookies are generally a good thing, they can just be used to track things beyond what a person might want. Managing them is more trouble than it's worth, I'd think.

    The other issue is that someone like the gov't could aggregate info across providers, so even a VPN won't do much good with modern OSs. Since modern OSs constantly log into various accounts from various apps, even when you're connected to a VPN, it would be quite easy to connect an IP at point in time, with a person.
     
  9. Mr. Retrofire macrumors 603

    Mr. Retrofire

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    Apple products cannot protect your privacy.
     
  10. You are the One, Aug 6, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2016

    You are the One macrumors 6502a

    You are the One

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    #10
    Thanks MR for posting this. I welcome more such articles since informed users are the best safe guard for privacy and security.

    Nowadays, a VPN will not make you very
    anonymous. Only enough to protect your anonymity against the bottom feeders (that don't have state-level resources and freedoms) in the global PII-market . E.g. commercial companies such as the content industry who hunt Bill 16 yrs for sharing a movie.

    One of the reasons is that the combination of meta data that every browser shares when connecting to a web-server is unique. Go to EFF Panopticklick and test your browser. Based on this profiling can be made (and is made) by actors having the necessary resources.

    Still, I don't connect to internet without using a VPN that gives a basic privacy protection.

    Point is that education, knowledge and proper acting is something that will increase users security and privacy many times more than installing an AV then forget about it.

    One very simple principle for concerned users is to stop using services from companies that hord your PII (Personally Identifiable Information) for commercial purposes, i.e. where their business model is to make money off your PII. E.g. the entire social-media industry as well as Google (the big one) and Microsoft, who with W10 joined the same business model as well, even for enterprise.

    With the current development users have at one point to decide whether the cost (you, your person, your privacy, your life basically) is worth in exchange for taking part in the connectivity internet offers.
     
  11. modemthug macrumors regular

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    Apr 20, 2010
    #11
    Meanwhile Windows 10 just sends all of your keystrokes to Microsoft/the NSA
     
  12. SteveW928 macrumors 68000

    SteveW928

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    #12
    No doubt.... if the Feds come after you, you're pretty much screwed. I guess I was thinking of a form of profiling to someone who had data across services. But, I'd forgotten about machine-build profiling and such. Macs are probably a bit more secure (i.e.: less unique) in that regard, but once you combine stuff like software, plugins, and fonts installed, there's a pretty big heap of circumstantial evidence there.

    Heh, yea. We're talking about many levels/layers of privacy here. If the NSA is after you, you'd best stay off the 'Net. But, that said, why make things any easier for any of these folks... site-owner/advertiser to gov't agency? Most end up going after the low-hanging fruit, unless you're specifically targeted.
     
  13. kazmac macrumors 604

    kazmac

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  14. ignatius345 macrumors 68000

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    Aug 20, 2015
    #14
    I'm not seeing this "Safari opens with" option as of Safari 10. What I want to do is open a new Private Window every time. I guess this option has been removed since this guide ran?
     

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