How to Manage Cookies in the Safari Browser

Excessive cookies can slow down any web browser

There is a trade-off in allowing websites and third-party advertisers to store cookies in Safari or any other browser. Most users are aware of the security and tracking implications that come with accepting cookies. An additional concern is the effect of corrupt cookies on the overall performance of your web browser, including how it interacts with your favorite websites.

Information in this article applies to Macs running macOS High Sierra (10.11) and later.

Corrupt Cookies Affect Safari Experience

When your web browser accumulates cookies over a long time, bad things can happen. Cookies eventually become out of date, consuming space while serving no actual benefit. They can become corrupt from Safari freezes, power outages, unplanned Mac shutdowns, and other events. Eventually, you may find that Safari and some websites no longer work well together, if at all.

Troubleshooting the reason Safari and a website fail to work well together is challenging, but a corrupt cookie or cached data may be the culprit. Because of this, Safari gives you a way to delete website data.

Deleting Cookies and Cache in Safari

In the Safari preferences menu, you can choose to delete all your stored cookies and caches or just specific data you want to remove, leaving the others behind.

  1. Launch Safari and select Preferences... from the Safari menu.

    A screenshot of Safari with the Preferences menu item highlighted
  2. In the window that opens, click the Privacy tab.

    A screenshot of Safari Preferences with the Privacy tab highlighted
  3. In the Cookies and other website data section, select Manage Website Data... to open an alphabetical list of all the websites for which your computer is storing data, including cookies and caches.

    A screenshot of Safari's Privacy tab with the Manage Website Data button highlighted
  4. To delete a single website, scroll through the alphabetical list or use the search field. Select it, then choose Remove to delete any data your computer stores for that website. This can be helpful when you're having problems with a specific website.

    Select multiple sequential websites using the Shift key. Select the first cookie, then hold down the Shift key and select the second website. Any websites in between the two will be selected.

    You can use the Command key to select noncontiguous websites. Select the first cookie and then hold down the Command key as you select each additional cookie.

    Select Remove to delete the selected cookies.

    A screenshot of Safari's cookies data with the Remove button highlighted
  5. Select Remove All to delete all the websites on the list. No selection is necessary. You are prompted to confirm that you want to delete all the data stored by the websites. Confirm by selecting Remove Now in the pop-up window.

    A screenshot of the Cookie deletion window in Safari with the Remove Now button highlighted

Deleting Safari Caches

If you'd prefer to leave the cookies in place and delete only the caches, you can do so through the Developer menu on the Safari menu bar. The Developer menu isn't enabled by default, but you can turn it on in the Safari preferences menu and then clear the caches:

  1. Launch Safari and select Preferences... from the Safari menu.

    A screenshot of Safari with the Preferences menu item highlighted
  2. In the window that opens, select the Advanced tab.

    A screenshot of Safari preferences with the Advanced tab highlighted
  3. Check the box next to Show Develop menu in menu bar and close the preference screen.

    A screenshot of Safari advanced settings with the "Show Develop Menu" option highlighted
  4. Select Develop in the Safari menu bar, then select Empty Caches.

    Alternatively, press Option+Command+E on your keyboard.

    A screenshot of the Develop menu in Safari with the Empty Caches command highlighted
  5. This is an all-or-nothing option. You can't select individual caches to remove in the Develop menu.