By Nancy William 7 minutes
This guide will show you how to disable or prevent cross-site tracking on your browser and OS.
Have you ever wondered why when visiting a particular website or page, you suddenly start receiving advertisements or recommendations similar to your search history? That’s mostly because almost every other website or application tracks your activity to improve your experience on their website and to make web browsing more relevant to you through advertisements. This is something called cross-site tracking.
However, that’s not always the case. Cross-site tracking might offer a couple of benefits, like faster results or more pages for users to consider, depending on what their requirement was. But, sometimes, cross-site tracking is considered as an intrusion to user privacy. You could stop that from happening and prevent Cross-site tracking, be it on Safari, or any other browser and OS.
What is Cross-Site Tracking?
Cross-site tracking is fairly simple; it is when a website records user data across multiple websites. It helps them create better advertising campaigns and to improve their ways of targeting the audience.
When you switch from one tab to another, some trackers follow you around throughout your session, collecting all sorts of data such as what sites you’re visiting, what actions you’re taking on those sites. They save this data to create user profiles for targeted advertising.
How Does it Work?
However, these trackers are not only limited to that specific page or website; they are also capable of following you as you switch tabs. For example, you must have noticed that when you visit certain websites, they have multiple share toggles such as the Facebook logo, which allows you to share to Facebook.
When you choose to share content to Facebook or any other social media platform from another website, it allows that particular website as well as the social media platform you have chosen to store your information. They usually claim to record only relevant data. However, there is no guarantee as to what is being stored exactly and whether that data is being shared with multiple third-party organizations without your consent.
How to Prevent Cross-Site Tracking
Luckily, you can prevent cross-site tracking. With technology advancing and people becoming more aware, developers have realized the several security risks cross-site tracking presents. They have created the option to block or disable cross-site tracking.
How to disable cross-site tracking on Safari
As mentioned above, several third-party websites use cross-site tracking, which can be prevented. Luckily, Safari introduced its new tracking prevention feature in versions 11 or higher to prevent third parties from tracking you. Below you’ll find a tutorial on how to turn off cross-site tracking on your Safari browser on both Mac and iOS.
For Mac OS Users:
- Go to the Safari app on your Mac, and click on “Safari” > “Preferences” > “Privacy.”
- Select “Prevent cross-site tracking.”
- That’s all!
For iOS (iPhone/iPad) Users:
- Open “Settings”
- Click on “Safari” from the list
- Under the “Privacy & Security” tab, enable the “PreventCross-Site Tracking” button.
- Go back, and use Safari without being cross-site tracked.
How to disable cross-site tracking on Google Chrome
There is no “prevent cross-site tracking” button on Chrome, but there is a “Do not track” option available. Here’s how you can prevent cross-site tracking on PC and Android Google Chrome:
For PC users:
- On your PC, launch “Chrome.”
- At the top right, click on the three vertical dots to open the menu.
- Click on “Settings” > “Privacy and security” and > “Cookies and other site data.”
- Enable the Send a “Do not track” request with your browsing traffic.
For Android users:
- Open “Chrome.”
- Click on the vertical dots on the right-hand side of the screen, and click on “Settings.”
- Click on “Privacy and security” and then on “Do Not Track.”
- Either turn the setting on or off, depending on what you need.
How to disable cross-site tracking on Firefox
- Open Firefox.
- Click on the (three lines) hamburger icon and click on “Options.”
- Select “Privacy & Security”
- Under the option of “Enhanced Tracking Protection,” click on the “Custom” option, and then on “Cookies.” The default selection will be “Cross-site and social media trackers.”
- The changes should now be automatically changed.
The Benefits of Cross-Site Tracking
Cross-site tracking is known to be pretty helpful to some. Though, it is of more use for businesses and large brands rather than individual users.
- Organizations that own multiple brands or more than one website usually opt to use cross-site tracking to compare and cross-check the actions performed on their pages. It saves their time and costs, as well as provide them with an easy way to keep a check on everything. Through this feature, they can keep track of the user’s choices and further improve their navigation, advertising strategy, pricing design according to the results.
- Similarly, many web pages opt to use third-party applications such as shopping carts or payment routes. You might have noticed that whenever you choose the option to pay online, in some cases you are redirected to a separate bank webpage, which then asks you to load your credentials. In such cases, its use is essential because if there are no trackers present, the redirected page will not be given any information and will not be linked to your shopping webpage. With the tracking feature, the redirected page is linked to the shopping webpage and is aware of your activities and the items and amount of your shopping cart.
- Lastly, it helps businesses create a better user profile and improve your overall experience on their website. With such user data, they can understand your preferences, whether that means the way you like your layout or what items you add to your shopping cart; it makes your time spent on the internet way easier.
Is Cross-Site Tracking Safe?
You’d think that what could a mere tracking feature do? It’s probably harmless. That’s where you’re wrong. Even though cross-site tracking can be extremely helpful in certain situations for certain users, it displays a huge security risk.
The problem with such tracking features is that they have a hold of almost all your online activity, and most of the time, it is all recorded without your understanding or consent.
This way, your data is available to anyone, first-party webpages could easily forward your data to third-party sites to improve their navigation experience, etc. This is not always ideal; third parties could potentially misuse your information and cause you harm.
More importantly, if a webpage is ever hacked or compromised, the hacker will immediately gain access to the site tracking feature and be able to view and further record your online activity; which can also include your passwords and other confidential credentials.
Should I turn on prevent cross-site tracking?
There are many websites and pages that track user activity, and through that generate advertisements based on what you searched. That comes as handy, but sometimes intrusive. Using the prevent cross-site tracking option, stop websites from tracking you, which is great for online privacy.
What is prevent cross site tracking?
It’s a new prevent tracking feature added on MacOS and iOS Safari, allowing users to protect their data, eliminates cookie trails, and keeps your browsing activities private.
Why can’t I log in to the Safari Help Center on iOS?
The Prevent Cross-Site Tracking feature allows users to stop all website tracking, and all kinds of data from being logged or preserved. Because of that, it might cause some issues preventing users from logging into their Safari help center accounts. Disable it to log in.
What happens when I enable the Prevent Cross-Site Tracking feature?
When you enable the cross-site tracking option on your iPhone or iPad, it stops third-party websites or companies from tracking or sharing your data with various other websites.
You now know how to prevent cross-site tracking, but at the same time understand the highs and lows of it. Your security and privacy are of top priority to us, which is why we are always providing you with the most relevant solutions.
When it comes to security and privacy; a VPN will not only provide you with the privacy you need by making activities online anonymous; it will act as a wall between you and anyone or any tracking features that wish to store your information.