Apple updates Safari on iOS and Mac to block third-party cookies

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Apple has released a major update, the Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP), for its Safari browser on iOS and MacOS an update, to block all third-party cookies on the web browser.

According to John Wilander, Apple’s WebKit engineer and the man behind ITP, the move fully blocks third-party cookies, bringing the latest version of Safari in-line with other browsers like Tor.

WebKit is the browser engine that powers Safari.

Apple Beats Google to blocking third-party cookies

The phasing out of third-party cookies in the latest Safari update comes ahead of Google’s plan to also start phasing them out. Google also plans to totally phase out cookies in 2022.

Cookies allow for tracking behavior across websites, something that has been under increasing scrutiny in recent years as the internet community began taking stock of how much data was being collected online by these trackers, known as third-party cookies and often used by social networks and advertising companies. With this new update, the newest Safari will no longer allow those cookies to operate.

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In tweets accompanying his blog post, Wilander says that Apple will report back its experience to privacy groups such as the Worldwide Web Consortium to “help other browsers take the leap.”

The move is Apple’s latest to fight against data trackers. Last year the company built a new browser technology called Privacy Preserving Ad Click Attribution. It was designed to let advertisers figure out when their ads successfully got you to buy something, but without tracking you across the internet and harvesting personal details to do so.

The company has taken other steps to try and limit the gathering of people’s information, including creating Sign In with Apple, a way for people to sign in to apps and websites without having to necessarily divulge personal information such as their actual email address.

The new version of Safari is out now in iOS and iPadOS 13.4 and in Safari version 13.1 on MacOS.

Yetunde Adegoke

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