How to Manage Do Not Track Settings in Mac OS X

1
Do Not Track

do not track mac
(Image © Shutterstock #149923409).

This tutorial is only intended for desktop/laptop users running the OS X operating system.

As you browse the Web, virtual pieces of where you've been and what you've done are scattered everywhere. From browsing history and cookies saved on your hard drive to details of how long you viewed a particular page sent to a website's server, tracks are always left behind in one way or another. Even Internet service providers usually keep logs of some of your online behavior, utilized to map usage and other trends.

Most modern browsers offer the ability to delete these potentially sensitive files from your device, as well as the ability to surf in private mode so that no remnants are stored locally. In regards to the information silently submitted to the sites which you are viewing or to your ISP, it tends to be harmless and partially anonymous anyway.

However, there is another form of online behavior monitoring which does not always sit as well with the general public. Third-party tracking allows websites that the user does not explicitly visit to compile data regarding their browsing session, usually through advertisements hosted on the site which you actually did view. This information is typically aggregated and used for analysis, marketing and other research. Although chances of this data being used for nefarious purposes are slim to none, many Web users are not comfortable with a third party tracking their online moves. This sentiment was strong enough that a new technology and policy proposal grew out of it, the Do Not Track movement.

Available in several popular browsers, Do Not Track lets a website know that the user does not want to be tracked by a third-party during their browsing session. The major hiccup in this feature is that only certain websites honor the flag voluntarily, meaning that not all sites will recognize the fact that you have opted in.

Sent to the server as part of an HTTP header, this preference usually needs to be manually enabled within the browser itself. Each browser has its own unique method for enabling Do Not Track, and this tutorial walks you through the process in each on the OS X platform.

2
Safari

safari do not track
(Image © Scott Orgera).

This tutorial is only intended for desktop/laptop users running the OS X operating system.

To enable Do Not Track in Apple's Safari browser, take the following steps.

  1. Open your Safari browser.
  2. Click on Safari in the browser's menu, located at the top of the screen. When the drop- down menu appears, select the Preferences... option. You can also utilize the following keyboard shortcut in lieu of choosing this menu item: COMMAND + COMMA (,)
  3. Safari's Preferences dialog should now be displayed. Click on the Privacy icon.
  4. Safari's Privacy preferences should now be displayed. Place a check mark next to the option labeled Ask websites not to track me, circled in the example above, by clicking on its accompanying checkbox once. To disable Do Not Track at any point, simply remove this check mark.
  5. Click on the red 'X' button, located in the upper left hand corner of the Preferences window, to return to your browsing session.

3
Chrome

chrome do not track
(Image © Scott Orgera).

This tutorial is only intended for desktop/laptop users running the OS X operating system.

To enable Do Not Track in Google's Chrome browser, take the following steps.

  1. Open your Chrome browser.
  2. Click on Chrome in the browser's menu, located at the top of the screen. When the drop-down menu appears, select the Preferences... option. You can also utilize the following keyboard shortcut in lieu of choosing this menu item: COMMAND + COMMA (,)
  3. Chrome's Settings interface should now be displayed in a new tab. Scroll to the bottom of the screen, if necessary, and click on the Show advanced settings... link.
  4. Locate the Privacy section, shown in the example above. Next, place a check mark next to the option labeled Send a "Do Not Track" request with your browsing traffic by clicking on its accompanying checkbox once. To disable Do Not Track at any point, simply remove this check mark.
  5. Close the current tab to return to your browsing session.

4
Firefox

firefox do not track
(Image © Scott Orgera).

This tutorial is only intended for desktop/laptop users running the OS X operating system.

To enable Do Not Track in Mozilla's Firefox browser, take the following steps.

  1. Open your Firefox browser.
  2. Click on Firefox in the browser's menu, located at the top of the screen. When the drop-down menu appears, select the Preferences... option. You can also utilize the following keyboard shortcut in lieu of choosing this menu item: COMMAND + COMMA (,)
  3. Firefox's Preferences dialog should now be displayed. Click on the Privacy icon.
  4. Firefox's Privacy preferences should now be displayed. The Tracking section contains three options, each accompanied by a radio button. To enable Do Not Track, select the option labeled Tell sites that I do not want to be tracked. To disable this feature at any point, select one of the other two available options -- the first which explicitly informs sites that you want to be tracked by a third-party, and the second which sends no tracking preference whatsoever to the server.
  5. Click on the red 'X' button, located in the upper left hand corner of the Preferences window, to return to your browsing session.

5
Opera

opera do not track
(Image © Scott Orgera).

This tutorial is only intended for desktop/laptop users running the OS X operating system.

To enable Do Not Track in the Opera browser, take the following steps.

  1. Open your Opera browser.
  2. Click on Opera in the browser's menu, located at the top of the screen. When the drop- down menu appears, select the Preferences... option. You can also utilize the following keyboard shortcut in lieu of choosing this menu item: COMMAND + COMMA (,)
  3. Opera's Preferences interface should now be displayed in a new tab. Click on the Privacy & security link, located in the left menu pane.
  4. Locate the Privacy section, positioned at the top of the window. Next, place a check mark next to the option labeled Send a "Do Not Track" request with your browsing traffic by clicking on its accompanying checkbox once. To disable Do Not Track at any point, simply remove this check mark.
  5. Close the current tab to return to your browsing session.

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