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Home / Tips and Tricks / How to improve your privacy in Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge and Brave

How to improve your privacy in Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Edge and Brave



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James Martin / CNET

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

7;d like when combating sweeping tracking of the web advertising industry. Here’s a look at how you can turn off your privacy settings to surpass that online tracking.

Problem as Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal has enhanced privacy protection on the Silicon Valley priority list by showing how companies compile rows of data about you as you cross the Internet. Their goal? To build a richly detailed user profile on you so that you can be the target for more accurate, clickable and thus profitable ads.

Apple and Google are at war with the web, with Google aggressively acting for an interactive web to compete with domestic apps, and Apple is slowing down in part due to concerns that the new features will worsen security and annoy users. Privacy adds another dimension to the competition and to your browser decision.

Browser war image

Google and Apple are fighting over the future of the web. A CNET series looks at the details.

James Martin / CNET

Apple has made privacy a top priority in all of its products, including Safari. For starters, integrity is a core goal, and Mozilla and Microsoft have begun tracking privacy as a way to separate their browsers from Google’s Chrome. It’s later in the game, but Chrome engineers have begun building a “privacy sandbox” despite Google’s reliance on advertising revenue.

For all browsers listed here, you can give yourself a privacy boost by changing the default search engine. For example, try DuckDuckGo. While the search results may not be as useful or deep as Google’s, DuckDuckGo is a long-standing favorite among the content because it refuses to track user searches.

Other universal options that increase privacy include disabling browser location tracking and search engine autofill features, disabling password autofill and deleting your browsing history on a regular basis. If you want to take your privacy to the next level, you can consider trying one of the virtual private networks that CNET has reviewed that works with all browsers.

In the meantime, though, there are some simple settings that you can change in your current browser to keep a good portion of ad trackers off track.

Chromium

Unfortunately, the world’s most popular browser is also widely thought to be one of the least private when used straight out of the box. On the plus side, however, Krom’s flexible and open source support has made it possible for independent developers to release a host of privacy-focused add-ons to shake trackers.

Click in the Chrome Web Store Extensions to the left and enter the name of the extension you are looking for in the search field. When you find the right extension in the search results, click on Add to Chrome. A dialog box appears explaining what permissions the extension has for your browser. Click Add extensions to take the extension to your browser.

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

Here are four add-ons to look at when you get started: Cookie Autodelete, uBlock Origin, Privacy Badger and HTTPS Everywhere.

If you’re on Android, sorry: add-ons do not work. So you have to switch browsers completely to something like the DuckDuckGos app.

In the same three-point menu in Chrome, you can also block third-party cookies by selecting settingsand then scroll down to Privacy and security section and click Cookies and other website information. From here you choose Block third-party cookies.

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

Safari

By default, Safari activates its proprietary intelligent anti-tracking tool to keep you one step ahead of privacy damage. Nevertheless, the tool has not always worked smoothly since its debut in 2017. Google researchers discovered how intelligent tracking prevention could in itself be used to track users, even if Apple cracked the problem.

Safari 14, announced in June and arriving later in 2020 with the new MacOS Big Sur, will be able to tell you which ad trackers are running on the site you are visiting and give you a 30-day report on the known tracks it has identified while browsing. It will also tell you which websites these trackers came from.

To check that blocking is on, open Safari and click settingsthen Integrity. The box next to it Prevent tracking across multiple sites should be checked. Once you are there, you can also delete your cookies manually. Click Manage website information to see which websites have left their trackers and cookies hanging in your browser. Click Remove next to any of the individual tracks that you are ready to get rid of, or just crack the entire list by clicking Remove all at the bottom of the screen.

Cookies can be helpful, not only invasive, but to strengthen privacy, you can block them completely – both first-party cookies from the website publisher and third-party cookies from others as advertisers. To do so, check the box next to it Block all cookies. Apple will start blocking most third-party cookies by default with MacOS Big Sur and iOS 14.

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

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

Edge

Microsoft’s Edge browser includes some simplified privacy and tracker blocking options on its Tracker prevention screen. Select the Edge menu icon in Edge in the upper right corner and select settings. Select from the menu shown on the left Privacy and services.

You get three settings to choose from: Basic, Balanced and Strict. By default, Edge uses the Balanced setting, which blocks trackers from sites you have not visited while still being careful enough to save most sites from some of the load issues that may come with stricter security. In the same way, Edge’s strict approach can affect the behavior of certain websites, but will block the largest number of trackers. Even the default setting will still block trackers used for crypto mining and fingerprints.

Read more: Microsoft Edge privacy settings to change immediately

Firefox

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

Choose from within the Firefox main menu – or from within the three-lined menu to the right of the toolbar settings. When the Settings window opens, click Privacy and security. From here, you can choose from three options: Standard, Strict, and Custom. Standard, the default setting for Firefox, blocks trackers in private windows, third-party tracking cookies and cryptocurrencies. The String the setting may break some websites, but it blocks everything blocked in default mode, plus fingerprints and trackers in all windows. Custom is 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 Reload all tabs button displayed.

Read more: With Firefox, stop leaking your data over the internet

Brave

When it comes to anti-tracking tools, Safari’s latest privacy updates are still not most of those found in the Brave browser. By default, Brave blocks all ads, trackers, third-party cookies and third-party fingerprints while still achieving blazing speeds. Brave also offers a built-in Tor private surfer mode, a heavy tracking tracking option, and has added a built-in VPN for iOS users.

Inside Brave’s main menu, select settings to expose settings panel on the left. Select Shields to see a list of privacy options on the right side of the screen. By choosing Advanced View, you can choose which types of trackers to block. By scrolling down, you can also block login buttons and embedded content from Facebook, Twitter, Google and LinkedIn. For even more protection and fine-tuning of privacy, explore Additional settings to the left and select Privacy and security.

Read more: If you are worried about your privacy online, this is the browser you should use


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