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Home / Tips and Tricks / Privacy settings to change in your browser ASAP: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge and Brave

Privacy settings to change in your browser ASAP: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Edge and Brave



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James Martin / CNET

Privacy is now a priority among browser makers, but they may not go as far as you want to combat pervasive ad industry trackers on the web. Here̵

7;s a look at how you can increase your privacy settings to outsmart that online tracking.

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

Apple and Google are at war with the web, with Google aggressively pushing for an interactive web to compete with embedded apps and Apple moving slower partly out of concern, the new features will degrade security and be annoying to users. Privacy adds another dimension to the competition and to your browser decision.

Browser Wars 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 Brave, privacy is a key goal, and Mozilla and Microsoft have begun talking about privacy as a way to separate their browsers from Google Chrome. It’s later to the game, though Chrome engineers have started building a “privacy sandbox” despite Google’s reliance on advertising 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 search results may not be as useful or deep as Google’s, DuckDuckGo is a favorite with many privacy professionals for refusing to track user searches.

Other universal options that increase privacy include disabling browser location tracking and search engine autocompletion, disabling auto-fill passwords, and deleting your web history regularly. If you want to take your privacy to the next level, you can consider trying one of them virtual private networks CNET has reviewed which works with all browsers.

In the meantime, though, here are some simple settings that you can change in your current browser to keep a large portion of your advertising tracks out of your way.

Chromium

Unfortunately, the world’s most popular browser is also considered one of at least privately when used directly from the box. On the plus side, though, Chrome’s flexible and open source base has enabled independent developers to release a lot of privacy-focused add-ons to shake off trackers.

Click in the Chrome Web Store Addition to the left and enter the name of the extension you are looking for in the search field. When you have found 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 include the extension in 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 Addition. From here you can also see more about the extension by clicking Details.

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

If you are using 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 cookies from third parties.

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

Safari

By default, Safari activates its proprietary Intelligent Tracking Prevention tool to keep you one step ahead of pest protection. Still, the tool has not always worked smoothly since its debut in 2017. Google researchers saw how intelligent tracking prevention can be in itself used to track users, although Apple downed the issue.

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

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

Cookies can be helpful, not just invasive, but for stronger 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 are 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 you who is trying to track you

Edge

Microsoft’s Edge browser includes some simplified privacy and tracking blocking options on its Prevention of trackers screen. Highlight the three-dot icon in Edge at the top right of Edge and select settings. Select from the menu which is then displayed on the left Privacy and services.

You will be offered three settings to choose from: Basic, Balanced and Strict. By default, Edge uses the Balanced setting, which blocks trackers from sites you haven’t visited while still being gentle enough to save most sites from some of the loading issues that can come with increased security. Similarly, Edge’s Strict setting may interfere with the behavior of certain sites, but will block the largest number of trackers. Even the default setting still blocks trackers used for crypto mining and fingerprints.

Read more: Microsoft Edge privacy settings to change instantly

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 triangular 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 once you have selected 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 missing most of them Brave browser. By default, Brave blocks all ads, trackers, third-party cookies and third-party fingerprints while still achieving flaming speeds. Brave also offers a built-in Thor private browsing mode, a heavy tracking option for tracking and added a built-in VPN for iOS users.

Select Brave from the main menu Settings to expose settings the panel on the left. Select Shields to see a list of privacy options on the right of the screen. By choosing Advanced display, you will be able to select the types of trackers to be blocked. 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 concerned about your online privacy, this is the browser you should use


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