Innovation

How to enable the Do Not Track feature to protect privacy on iOS

Keep advertisers from tracking your activity across websites with this iOS feature.

Image: Cory Bohon/TechRepublic

Apple includes a feature called Do Not Track in iOS. It keeps advertisers from tracking your activity across websites, which in turn reduces privacy issues while using Safari in iOS. In this article, we delve into the feature showing you how to enable it and how it works.

Safari isn't the first or the only browser to include a Do Not Track feature. However, other browsers, as of late, are getting rid of it. The latest is Google Chrome on iOS, which disabled the feature earlier this year with a software update, citing speed improvements among other benefits of leaving the feature behind.

Safari in iOS 9 still includes the feature, however, and allows you to toggle the setting depending on your preferences. Continue reading to learn more about how the feature works and how you can enable it on your iOS devices.

What is Do Not Track and how does it affect me?

Do Not Track is essentially a message sent to advertisers when requesting a web page. This message tells the advertiser to not track your browser or your browsing sessions. And while the message is free to be disregarded by the advertiser, most reputable advertisers do obey the message and do not track the user's activity across browser sessions.

The only way to guarantee 100% that your browsing activity will not be tracked across multiple browsing sessions is to use a private session and close the tabs along with toggling the private session off and back on again between your browsing sessions. However, that is a painful step, and the Do Not Track feature will go a long way in helping to limit the number of advertisers that track your activity.

Enabling the Do Not Track feature

To enable the Do Not Track feature, follow these steps on your iOS 9 device:

  1. Open Settings and navigate to Safari
  2. Scroll down to the Privacy & Security section
  3. Enable the switch beside of the Do Not Track heading (Figure A)

Image: Cory Bohon/Techrepublic

Figure A

Enabling the Do Not Track feature will protect your privacy by telling advertisers not to track your browsing activity across browsing sessions.

Additionally, to prevent additional tracking, you can set to Block Cookies by selecting Allow from Current Website Only. This keeps cookies from other websites or advertisers to be used by the currently browsing website, further protecting your privacy while browsing the web.

According to Apple's cookie management documentation, "Safari accepts cookies and website data only from the website you're currently visiting. Websites often have embedded content from other sources. Safari does not allow these third parties to store or access cookies or other data."

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About Cory Bohon

Cory Bohon is an indie developer specializing in iOS and OS X development. He runs a software company called Cocoa App and is also a developer at MartianCraft. He was introduced to technology at an early age and has been writing about his favorite te...

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