Even if you are not a tech geek, you must have heard the words “cookies” and “cache” and must be wondering why everyone is so concerned about them. Cache and cookie files are stored on your device to keep track of your Internet activity. On the one hand, these files speed up your browsing experience by allowing websites to open quicker. On the other hand, cache and cookie data can tell much about your browsing history and be used against you if third parties access them. This article defines cache and cookies and explains why it is essential to clear your cache to protect your Mac.
Cache and Cookies: What Are They?
Cache data stores information about the web pages you visited, which helps reduce the server’s load and increase the loading speed when you re-access them. In other words, it is a temporary storage place that stores data from programs and files a device’s owner uses the most. Cookies, in turn, are the files holding login details, website settings, search history, and many other types of information. They have a practical purpose, as they help you personalize your browsing experience. For example, cookies allow you to see the previously marked products as preferred in an online shop.
At the same time, cache files and cookies reveal much about yourself. They allow companies to track your browsing activity and personalize ads. They are also attractive to hackers, as they hold valuable personal information that can be used against you. For example, hackers can steal your mobile phone or credit card information.
Why You Should Care
There are some advanced tools to protect your Mac. These include but are not limited to browser extensions, encrypted messengers, VPN, etc. However, even simple cache and cookies clearing can help you enhance your Mac’s security and functionality. Why should you bother? Here is a list of issues you can address by removing unnecessary cache and cookie files from your Mac:
- Your Mac has become too slow. Remember the time when you first bought your computer and were amazed by its speed? Over time, it accumulated a large body of cache and cookie data that gradually slowed its operation. If you notice that your apps or websites load too slowly, it means that it’s time for you to go to the settings page and delete the files.
- You want to protect your account and personal data. If you are concerned about third parties entering your social media profiles, e-mail, or other applications, removing the cache and cookie files is always a good idea. This simple action will help remove all login information you used, thus preventing other people from accessing your accounts and abusing your personal information.
- You don’t want anyone to see your browsing history. Anyone having access to your Mac can see what web pages you visited. There are hundreds of situations when you’d prefer this information to be securely stored away from prying eyes. For instance, you don’t want your significant other to learn that you’ve been planning your honeymoon.
- You share your device with others. If the Mac you’re using does not belong to you (e.g., your parents bought the device for the whole family to use), removing cache and cookie files from the device will help you protect your privacy.
What Happens When You Delete Cache and Cookie Data?
When you clear your cookie and cache data, you prioritize security over speed. However, the web pages will only load longer the first time you open them after the clearing. Next time you use your Mac, you will be surprised by its speed and efficiency. Keep in mind that you will have to enter all login information after deleting the stored browsing data again, so make sure you know your passwords.