Deleting search data
December 14, 2011 5:25 AM   Subscribe

How do I delete the shopping and search data from my Apple MacBook?

I see ads in the sidebars of every website I go to for all my Christmas present searches. That information must exist in a file on my hard drive. If that's true, can I delete it? Is there a setting in Safari or FireFox to prevent that kind of data caching? Does this have anything to do with cookies or is it a separate animal?

Thanks for rescuing me and happy holidays.
posted by birdwatcher to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Cookies exactly. Just clear them out.
posted by samsara at 5:40 AM on December 14, 2011

In Firefox, click Tools and then Clear Recent History; you can tick as many or as few boxes (e.g., cookies, logins, etc.) there as you like. If you go to preferences, you can set FF to clear history/cookies/cache when you quit it.

In Safari, go to preferences and click the privacy tab.

Both FF and Safari have private browsing modes, where they don't store any cookies or history from that session. It's useful for more than keeping your porn searches private!
posted by rtha at 5:53 AM on December 14, 2011

Another option is installing something so you don't see any ads at all. Personally, I use Adblock Plus for Firefox (it's free, and very highly regarded). It looks like it doesn't work for Safari, and I'm not sure what options there are for Safari.

When I use a friend's computer, I am always surprised by the number of ads on my favorite websites! It's very effective.
posted by insectosaurus at 6:54 AM on December 14, 2011

[in Firefox] After you install AdBlock, also install Better Privacy to clear out flash-based "super-cookies" or LSOs.
posted by omnidrew at 7:01 AM on December 14, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks. I deleted all cookies and history and notice the difference already. However, I also deleted all my logins and passwords for my favorite websites. I suppose that's not so bad once in a while.
posted by birdwatcher at 8:20 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

For next time: it wasn't necessary to delete both. Those are separate databases.

But you're right. If you're like me, you are carrying around [x] save this password for about three hundred websites you really don't plan on using again anyway. Why make it easy for a thief, identity or otherwise?
posted by rokusan at 9:42 AM on December 14, 2011

Is there a setting in Safari or FireFox to prevent that kind of data caching?

Both Safari and FireFox offer a Private Browsing mode. Turn it on, and they stop recording the sites you visit includng searches, cookies, and the data in online forms you fill out.
posted by Lanark at 10:07 AM on December 14, 2011

Once you start using adblock you will never go back.
posted by spitbull at 4:57 AM on December 15, 2011

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