There’s increasing calls for privacy online, and Apple has reacted by making Safari the first mainstream browser to block all third-party cookies by default.
As Engadget reports, the latest version of the browser for iOS and iPadOS 13.4, and Safari 13.1 for macOS, has the new functionality in place. The announcement was made in a blog post by John Wilander, an engineer on Apple’s WebKit browser engine, which is used by Safari. Wilander explains, “This is a significant improvement for privacy since it removes any sense of exceptions or “a little bit of cross-site tracking is allowed.””
WebKit has been blocking most cookies in Safari since 2017, so this is just the final step in providing a more private browsing experience. Cookies are still required to allow a browser to remember you are logged in to a service, but Safari handles that using a Storage Access API, which includes mandatory user control for each authenticated cookie.
As well as giving users full control over cookies, the change means it’s not possible to track a user through tracking prevention, which was highlighted as a problem last year. Login fingerprinting, allowing a website to “invisibly detect where you are logged in,” will also be prevented now.
In other words, if you’re using the latest Safari browser on any of Apple’s device, you can be confident anyone attempting to track you is going to have a hard time doing so. Wilander also believes this change to block all cookies by default will be copied by other browsers. The Tor browser already does it, Brave does with a few exceptions, and Chrome will add it, but not until 2022.