It is really irritating to have to one at a time delete hundreds of cookies/caches from websites I have never visited. (Would that Apple would allow us to block third-party cookies).

Is there an API that would allow me to build my own app in Xcode to handle it in a better way? Or something like Cookie 6 (macOS) for iOS? Or someone else’s open source that I can compile?

I’m not willing to jailbreak, nor to install something with source code not vetted by me or Apple.

For example, clearing all website data and then logging in to Facebook.com adds five third-party cookies. Three of them are from domains owned by Facebook, but do not end in Facebook.com. The other two are obviously from advertising services.

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This is why I use DuckDuckGo for almost everything, and Safari only occasionally. DuckDuckGo lets me clear everything after a session. I use Safari for a few domains where I’d like to keep their cookies only, but the cost of that is consumption of storage space that doesn’t benefit me and prevents syncing all the music I’d like.

The cookies are less irritating than the consumption of limited storage space. But if third-party cookies are accepted, cross-site tracking is implied. Since I cleared all website data (recently), I have not visited any site with “math” in the name. Only Facebook, UniGen.us, and three SE subdomains. Yet I have a cookie from mathoverflow.com And Safari says it’s size is zero bytes. Obviously, it is at least one byte. But more of an issue are the megabytes of third-party local storage resulting in updates and Music syncs failing for insufficient space.

  • Can you add some examples of cookies you think Safari should block but apparently doesn't?
    – nohillside
    Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 6:25
  • Please add the full names of these cookies and their domain, detail matter here.
    – nohillside
    Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 15:33
  • I just tried in Chrome, with all cookies allowed, no blocking extentions etc, and all I got are seven FB cookies and some local storage. So please add a screenshots of what you got.
    – nohillside
    Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 15:50
  • Well, Google owns Chrome, so they get what they want without invoking double click (which they also own). The local storage is a bigger irritation than the tracking. I guess I’ll just use DuckDuckGo (clearing all) on the iPad and for cookies I wanna keep, use the laptop where I have user-friendly control.
    – WGroleau
    Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 17:39
  • I rarely use Chrome so it was the easiest to check whether a FB login results in non-FB cookies (even DoubleClick should show up). But I doubt that FB will use DoubleClick anyway. Nevertheless it‘s hard to provide any specific answer to your Safari/Cookie problem unless you share specific details about the cookies you see.
    – nohillside
    Commented Aug 7, 2021 at 21:57

2 Answers 2


Safari already blocks third-party cookies by default. Check yours is in Settings → Safari → Prevent Cross-Site Tracking.

There are no APIs for interacting with data from the Safari app, only for web views within the app itself. Therefore there’s nothing third party apps can do without jailbreaking.

  • If they are blocked, how the (censored) do I have them from at least a hundred domains I have never visited?
    – WGroleau
    Commented Jul 13, 2021 at 4:48
  • I cleared all website data, then opened Safari, logged into Facebook, and dismissed Safari without clicking anything. Website data then included items from Google, double click, and atdmt, plus sixteen megabytes from five domains owned by Facebook. Visiting stack exchange and turning off all but “essential cookies,” without logging in, stores megabytes more on the iPad, most of them from NSA’s competitor (Google)
    – WGroleau
    Commented Jul 17, 2021 at 15:18
  • And cross-site tracking has been denied for a long time.
    – WGroleau
    Commented Aug 6, 2021 at 20:37
  • @WGroleau Check if you have disabled Safari syncing on iCloud and disabled iCloud Tabs ( support.apple.com/en-in/HT202530 ).
    – sfxedit
    Commented Sep 7, 2021 at 8:38
  • Safari has always been off for iCloud, but I doubt that has anything to do with cookies stored locally.
    – WGroleau
    Commented Sep 8, 2021 at 15:46

Yes, as a user it is very infuriating that Apple does not allow other browsers on ios / iPadOS with better privacy features (all browsers on ios have to use Safari's Webkit rendering engine, and thus all of them suffer from similar limitations).

To better safeguard your privacy on ios / iPadOS, I recommend the following -

  1. Disable Safari on iCloud.

  2. Install AdGuard and,

  3. Enable Private Browsing on Safari.

Pros of this approach:

  1. Adguard is designed to blocks ads and trackers on Safari in an Apple approved safe manner.

  2. Since most of the ad and tracker scripts are blocked, websites load faster. And when they are blocked, they can't install their unwanted cookies too.

  3. By using Private Browsing mode on Safari, you ensure that whenever you close Safari, or any Tab on Safari, all website data (including cookies) is deleted immediately.

  4. Preventing Safari from syncing to iCloud prevents previous (or other device) Safari website data from being loaded into Safari on your ios, from iCloud.


  1. On rare occasions, some websites don't work properly when ads and / or trackers are blocked. This is rare, but Safari provides an easy fix - it has an option to reload the website again without any content blocking.

  2. In Private Browsing mode, no history or auto-fill information is saved. Moreover, since it deletes all websites data, you cannot be always logged in.

  3. Some ad networks hate Private browsing mode. Websites that use them will thus sometimes show banners / pop-ups blocking the site partially. Adguard takes care of most of these annoyances, but some still slip through. (I have noticed this mostly on large online media sites).

I find this approach as a good compromise on convenience vs privacy on the ios platform.

If you want build and customise your own browser for ios, Firefox Focus is a decent open source browser you can use for your project - source code for Firefox Focus for iOS is available on Github.

  • Seems worth a try. But are you claiming that the tor browser (SLOW) and DuckDuckGo (not slow) are lying about their privacy features?
    – WGroleau
    Commented Sep 7, 2021 at 16:03
  • On ios / iPadOS platform, any tor browser is forced to use Safari's rendering engine, and thus cannot provide the same level of privacy features as the Tor desktop on the desktop. They do warn you about this - support.torproject.org/tormobile/tormobile-3 .
    – sfxedit
    Commented Sep 8, 2021 at 3:06
  • About Duckduckgo, I can't honestly say. Google pays Apple around $15 billion dollars to be the default search engine in ios. So why would Apple provide DuckDuckGo on ios without any stakes? Duckduckgo incorporates Apple maps in its search indicating a business relationship with them. Personally, I believe both Google and DDG share some search data with Apple. Apple needs these data to better profile us and to improve their products (e.g. like Siri). Note that this is speculation - we really don't know the agreement that Google and DDG have with Apple, and it depends on local privacy laws.
    – sfxedit
    Commented Sep 8, 2021 at 3:10
  • I would guess that DuckDuckGo links to Apple Maps because Apple is less nosy than Google or Bing. Then again, we don’t really know what’s in DuckDuckGo. It’s quite possible NSA created it, and the claims of privacy are a smokescreen. :-) I don’t think so, but it’s possible.
    – WGroleau
    Commented Sep 8, 2021 at 14:56
  • Private browsing is a fair compromise. But I’d really prefer to have a way to pick and choose instead of all or nothing, or to pick one at a time from a HUGE list.I might look at Focus. But I’ve had a lot less motivation for coding since I retired and found other things more fun. :-)
    – WGroleau
    Commented Sep 8, 2021 at 15:48

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