How to Enable “Do Not Track” in Safari for the Mac

Aug 21, 2012 - 5 Comments

Enable Do Not Track privacy feature in Safari

Do Not Track is a new privacy feature in Safari 6 that causes Safari to tell certain websites to not track you online as you browse the web. This prevents social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Google, from tracking you across the web, and it also causes ad servers and analytic services to not follow your browsing history. In some ways this could be looked at like an alternative to ad blockers, but ultimately the no-tracking feature is more useful for those concerned about privacy since ad blockers don’t prevent things like Facebook from following you around the web.

Enabling Do Not Track in Safari

You’ll need to be in Safari to turn off tracking:

  • Pull down the Safari menu and open Preferences
  • Click the “Privacy” tab and look for “Website tracking”, checking the box next to “Ask websites not to track me”

Because the Do Not Track movement is in it’s infancy, not all services will comply with the request, but for anyone who wants the utmost privacy on the web without always using Private Browsing it’s better than nothing. The Do Not Track feature isn’t yet available on iPhone and iPad, but you can enable Private Browsing in iOS for the time being while you’re on the go.

Not all web browsers support the feature yet, but future versions of Internet Explorer and Google Chrome will include the option too. You can read more about the general concept on Wikipedia if you’re interested.

(The “Do Not Track” feature first appeared in older versions of Safari hidden under the Developer menu, but with Safari 6 for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, it’s available to everyone as a generic privacy feature.)

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Security, Tips & Tricks

5 Comments

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  1. Daniel g says:

    I prefer Private Browsing on a case-by-case basis, some of the “tracking” features are actually useful: see what your friends are liking and sharing when logged into Facebook, relevant ads, targeted stories on news sites, etc. Just my 2 cents.

  2. Talon Six says:

    Thanks! Great tip.

  3. Jay says:

    The question is does this information get stored in a file anywhere on mac osx?

  4. EldRick says:

    This is totally dependent on the site to implement and adhere to DNT, i.e. you will go a long way before you find sites that choose to discard monetizable information.

    Instead, get the Free DoNotTrack+, and kill all of the literally dozens of trackers that infest most web sites, including Facebook.

    On my system, DNT+ has killed just under 100,000 tracking attempts in the past few weeks, 18,000 of them from Facebook Like buttons, and quite a few from this web site.

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