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How To Clear Cookies On Your Google Chrome Browser

Do you feel like your Chrome browser is running slower than usual lately? Web pages taking forever to load? Videos buffering when your internet seems fine? Clearing your cookies and cache can give Chrome a much-needed speed boost.

In this guide, I‘ll walk you through everything you need to know about clearing cookies in Chrome. I‘ll explain what cookies do, the pros and cons of deleting them, and simple step-by-step instructions to clean them out on desktop and mobile.

By the end, you‘ll understand how to optimize Chrome‘s performance and protect your privacy with proper cookie management. Let‘s get started!

What Are Cookies Exactly?

Cookies are small text files that websites place on your computer to identify your browser and device. They serve a variety of purposes:

  • Store login information – This allows sites to remember you, so you stay logged in between visits.

  • Save website preferences – Things like your preferred language, location, font size, theme, etc.

  • Track user behavior – Cookies record data about your activity over time so sites can see how you interact with them.

  • Build user profiles – Data gathered from cookies helps sites better understand you so they can serve personalized ads and content.

  • Shopping carts – Cookies keep track of products you add to your cart across multiple pages on a retail site.

Cookies set by the site you‘re directly visiting are called first-party cookies. These are generally harmless and required for basic site functionality.

Third-party cookies are set by companies other than the one you‘re visiting. Advertisers use these extensively to monitor you across sites and show targeted ads based on your browsing history.

Every cookie has an expiration date, after which it gets cleared from your browser automatically. Session cookies expire when you close the tab or browser. Persistent cookies stick around for a preset duration – days, weeks, or even years.

Over time, an unlimited buildup of cookies on your computer can slow down page loading, take up excessive storage space, and pose potential privacy issues.

How Many Cookies Are Too Many?

The average number of cookies stored by major browsers is:

  • Google Chrome – 3,000+
  • Mozilla Firefox – 2,000+
  • Apple Safari – 1,500+

The more sites you frequent, the more cookies accumulate. A 2014 study by The Atlantic found news media sites dropped over 200 tracking cookies in a single session!

My own Chrome browser currently has 2,784 cookies taking up 153 megabytes of storage. That‘s probably higher than necessary.

Experts suggest keeping your total cookies under 1,000 to maintain optimal browser performance. As you near 5,000+ cookies, you may notice laggy behavior.

So check your cookie count in Chrome‘s settings periodically. Any number in the thousands is a sign it‘s time for a clearing.

The Case For Deleting Cookies

Here are the main benefits of periodically wiping your Chrome cookies:

Increased Speed

Too many cookies create clutter and take up processing power. Deleting old ones improves page load speed by freeing up memory and storage space.

In one test, clearing cookies sped up page load times by as much as 50% on average. You‘ll notice sites seem much snappier after a cookie purge.

Enhanced Privacy

Cookies – especially third-party ones – track your activity across sites to gather data for targeted advertising. Clearing them regularly thwarts this kind of invasive monitoring.

Better Security

Hackers can potentially access private account or login info stored in cookies. Deleting cookies reduces this risk of personal data theft.

More Storage Space

Cookies take up hard drive real estate on your computer. Removing them grants you more room for important files and applications.

Based on these performance, privacy, and security benefits, periodic cookie deletion is recommended for most users.

When You Might Keep Cookies

Of course, clearing cookies also comes with some trade-offs:

  • You‘ll get logged out of sites and need to re-enter credentials.

  • User preferences and settings will be reset to default.

  • Many sites require cookies to properly function. They may break without them.

  • Shopping cart data will be wiped out.

As a result, you may want to keep cookies if:

  • You stay signed into accounts for convenience

  • You need to frequently re-access shopping carts

  • You don‘t want to lose personalized settings

  • You use sites that depend heavily on cookies

In these cases, the minor hassles of deleting cookies may outweigh the benefits for you.

How To Clear Cookies in Google Chrome Desktop

If you decide it‘s time to clear your Chrome cookies, here is the quick and easy process to do it:

  1. Click the 3-dot menu button in the top right corner and select Settings.

  2. Under "Privacy and Security" on the left, click Clear browsing data.

  3. Next to "Cookies and other site data," check the box.

  4. Use the dropdown menu to choose your timeframe. Select All time to clear all cookies.

  5. Click the blue Clear data button.

That‘s all there is to it! After a moment, Chrome will refresh itself with all cookies from your selected timeframe deleted.

Important note – you‘ll get signed out of any sites you were logged into. Make sure to update any recovery email addresses beforehand.

You can also press Ctrl + Shift + Delete in Windows or ⌘ + Shift + Delete on a Mac to access the "Clear browsing data" menu directly. This keyboard shortcut saves some clicks!

Should You Clear Cache Too?

Along with cookies, clearing your browser cache can also give Chrome a speed and storage boost.

The cache is like a short-term memory bank for websites you visit. It stores website files locally so Chrome doesn‘t need to re-download them on each new visit. This makes repeat page loads much faster.

But over time, the cache piles up outdated content that starts having a negative effect. Clearing it forces Chrome to re-download fresh site files.

To clear your Chrome cache:

  1. Click the 3-dot menu > Settings.

  2. Under Privacy and Security, click Clear browsing data.

  3. Check the box for Cached images and files.

  4. Choose your timeframe, or All time for everything.

  5. Click Clear data.

This wipes the cache while leaving your history, bookmarks, and other data intact. Combine clearing cache and cookies for the best Chrome cleanup results.

Should You Clear Browsing History Too?

Clearing your browsing history removes your record of visited sites and pages. Think of it like wiping your web footprints.

It‘s not strictly necessary for performance, but provides other benefits like:

  • Removing visits to sites you‘d rather keep private.

  • Provides a mental fresh start to break bad browsing habits.

  • Further increases privacy by eliminating history tracking.

To clear your browsing history in Chrome:

  1. Click the 3-dot menu > Settings

  2. Under Privacy and security, click Clear browsing data.

  3. Check the box for Browsing history.

  4. Select your desired timeframe or All time.

  5. Click Clear data.

This gives you a blank history slate moving forward. For optimal privacy, consider making history clearing a regular habit each month.

Clearing Mobile Chrome Cookies and Cache

Manually deleting cookies in the Chrome app works the same way on Android and iOS mobile devices.

On an iPhone or iPad:

  1. Tap the 3-dot menu in the lower right corner.

  2. Tap History > Clear Browsing Data.

  3. Select the time range you want.

  4. Make sure Cookies, Site Data, and Cached Images and Files are enabled.

  5. Tap the red Clear button at the bottom.

On an Android device:

  1. Tap the 3-vertical dot menu in the upper right.

  2. Tap History > Clear browsing data.

  3. Choose your desired time range.

  4. Check the boxes for Cookies, Site Data, and Cached Images and Files.

  5. Tap Clear data at the bottom.

And that‘s it! Chrome on your phone or tablet will now have a clean slate with no cookies or excess cached files slowing things down.

Cookie Manager Extensions for Chrome

Rather than manually clearing cookies, browser extensions can automate the process:

Cookie AutoDelete

  • Automatically erases cookies from closed tabs after a delay you specify

  • Lets you set cookie expiration times for individual sites

  • Great way to keep cookie count low without losing logins

I don‘t care about cookies

  • Automatically deletes cookie consent pop-ups on EU sites

  • Convenient way to comply with GDPR regulations

  • No cookie consent clicking required


  • Blocks trackers and speeds up sites by preventing excess scripts

  • Stops over 2,000+ third-party tracking cookies

  • Provides detailed analytics on who is tracking you

These handy extensions provide set-it-and-forget-it cookie management once installed. I recommend Cookie AutoDelete in particular for automatic cleanup.

Adjust Cookie Settings Selectively

Rather than delete all cookies entirely, Chrome lets you customize cookie settings on a per-site basis:

  1. Click the lock icon left of the URL bar and select Cookies.

  2. Search for the site whose cookies you want to manage.

  3. Click the arrow icon to expand the site‘s cookie list.

  4. Toggle specific cookie types on or off individually.

You can also fully block all cookies from a specific site here. Use these granular controls to find the right cookie balance for each site you visit frequently.

Over time, you‘ll build a tailored cookie whitelist that improves both privacy and user experience.

The Case Against Blocking All Cookies

Blocking cookies entirely has some drawbacks:

  • You‘ll constantly be logged out of sites and member accounts. Logging in repeatedly is a hassle.

  • Many websites and web apps won‘t function correctly without any cookie access. You‘ll see a lot of errors.

  • Online shopping carts rely on cookies to work. Shopping online will be very difficult.

  • User preferences, themes, and settings will revert to default on each visit.

Rather than go totally nuclear on cookies, I recommend:

  • Periodically clearing cookies from your browser settings for a clean slate.

  • Using browser extensions to automatically block hidden third-party tracking cookies only.

  • Allowing essential first-party cookies to enable site functionality.

This balanced approach allows you to enjoy the web comfortably while still managing privacy.

Key Takeaways

  • Cookies are small files that track data about your web activity and browser.

  • Too many cookies can slow down page loading and take up excessive storage space.

  • Clearing Chrome‘s cookies improves speed, privacy, and security.

  • Cookies can be easily deleted through Chrome‘s settings or with extensions.

  • Some cookies help sites work properly, so don‘t block all of them entirely.

  • Find the right cookie balance for each site you visit often.

Hopefully this guide gives you a better understanding of how cookies work and why periodic deletion is so important for Chrome‘s performance. Apply what you‘ve learned here and you can keep Chrome running at the peak of speed.

Happy browsing!


Streamr Go

StreamrGo is always about privacy, specifically protecting your privacy online by increasing security and better standard privacy practices.