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You are here: MacNN Forums > Software - Troubleshooting and Discussion > iOS Apps > Cleaning iPhone App Cookies

Cleaning iPhone App Cookies
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phkc070408
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Feb 20, 2015, 08:54 AM
 
I'm increasingly becoming sensitive to being tracked by apps and am against cookies. While I can clean my cookies in Safari, most apps, such as Facebook, do not provide a setting to clear the temporary files within them - probably because they want the files on there for their benefit.

I downloaded app for my Mac called CleanMyPhone, but it is extremely expensive and it took me a while to do delete the files one by one using the trial version.

Does anyone know of a better way to delete my cookies and cache? Would removing the app from my phone and reinstalling it do it?

Thanks
     
ghporter
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Feb 21, 2015, 10:05 AM
 
Facebook only keeps stuff that relates to your interactions on Facebook. If you turn off appending your location to your posts, then all it's going to keep is where you were in your news feed.

I see a major contradiction between paranoia about social media "tracking" a user and using social media at all. I personally don't do much more than read Facebook on my phone, so I'm pretty much unworried that Facebook/NSA/Ruskies/aliens are keeping track of "me" when I use Facebook. Other social apps are basically the same in this regard, by the way.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Spheric Harlot
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Feb 21, 2015, 01:57 PM
 
The facebook app Surely retains cookies generated by looking at external links within the app?
     
ghporter
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Feb 23, 2015, 08:18 AM
 
Sure. But that's just what you're doing with the app, not where you are. And of course the normal "don't click on sketchy stuff" rules apply on Facebook as much as they do everywhere else.

I'm of the opinion that you can have perfect security, or you can have interaction with the outside world. If you want to use social media, you need to know what they track and what they don't, and that's where actually reading those disclosures they provide comes in.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Spheric Harlot
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Feb 23, 2015, 09:44 AM
 
But that is kind of beside the point: I'm doing stuff with the app on the internet, sketchy or not, which is tracked by cookies. Which brings us back to the actual question asked by the original poster.

I know of no way to erase cookies in the facebook app apart from deleting and re-installing the app.

That doesn't make a difference to facebook, though: they track what you look at, and what you click on, on any device, as long as you're logged in to facebook. This happens independently of cookies, AFAIK.

What you browse on a Mac will affect what ads are shown on your iPhone's facebook app.
     
phkc070408  (op)
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Feb 24, 2015, 08:39 AM
 
So deleting the app and reinstalling it will erase the cookies and Cache stored by the app?

Also, how does browsing Facebook on a mac transfer the information to your phone app?
     
Spheric Harlot
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Feb 24, 2015, 01:23 PM
 
     
besson3c
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Feb 25, 2015, 09:16 AM
 
There is no point in worrying about cookies.

Analytics of value are tracked by cloud services like Google Analytics, Optimizely, etc. you can't stop this tracking unless you disable JavaScript.

Cookies retain info used to assist applications such as a single use authorization token to prevent you from having to login to a site again, but this has absolutely no value to a third party.

There are many misnomers about Internet privacy, many which seem to revolve around outdated information about cookies. The same seems to apply to how search engines work.
     
besson3c
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Feb 25, 2015, 09:21 AM
 
Also, there is incognito/privacy browsing mode which doesn't retain local information such as browsing history, but this only provides privacy to those who physically obtain your device. Its greatest use case is probably preventing users that use your device awareness that you look at porn sites. This doesn't improve your privacy on the Internet.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Feb 25, 2015, 10:19 AM
 
Cookies do contain link tracking information, which is used to identify things like sponsored Amazon links (for kickbacks).
     
davoud
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Feb 27, 2015, 05:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by phkc070408 View Post
So deleting the app and reinstalling it will erase the cookies and Cache stored by the app?
Yes, but the first time you use the app you will begin to accumulate cookies again and you'll be right back where you were. If you don't like being tracked, best stay off the Internet.

Also, how does browsing Facebook on a mac transfer the information to your phone app?
Cookies! They are collected by an advertising data aggregator and FB and other web sites subscribe to see where you've been, what you've been shopping for, in order to place ads that they think will attract you. The technical process is ingenious and fast--fractions of a millisecond to identify you, check your browsing history, and put an ad on your current page. Again, you can avoid this by staying off the Internet. Don't you find it amusing that people are happy to use free web services but complain that they contain targeted advertising?
     
Spheric Harlot
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Feb 27, 2015, 06:03 PM
 
The question was how this data is transferred between a Mac and an iPhone. Cookies aren't copied over.
     
besson3c
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Feb 27, 2015, 08:08 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Cookies do contain link tracking information, which is used to identify things like sponsored Amazon links (for kickbacks).
Regardless, whenever you access a site with Javascript enabled you can be tracked the same way.
     
besson3c
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Feb 27, 2015, 08:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by davoud View Post
Cookies! They are collected by an advertising data aggregator and FB and other web sites subscribe to see where you've been, what you've been shopping for, in order to place ads that they think will attract you. The technical process is ingenious and fast--fractions of a millisecond to identify you, check your browsing history, and put an ad on your current page. Again, you can avoid this by staying off the Internet. Don't you find it amusing that people are happy to use free web services but complain that they contain targeted advertising?

This is inaccurate.

1) local browser data such as history is not accessible to a website
2) Nothing is transferred over from your Mac to your iOS device or vice versa. If you use the Google Chrome browser on an iOS device and the Mac and both are connected to your Google account, your browsing history will be available on both devices since this will be saved in your Google account (and likewise for Safari + iCloud), but this is different than transferring data from device to device, and there is no way to associate your ID between devices without some sort of cloud service to assist.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Feb 27, 2015, 08:28 PM
 
But facebook's tracking info IS transferred between devices — see my link above.

As long as you are logged into your facebook account, facebook reads along and can access (and sell) this information regardless of which device you're on.
     
besson3c
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Feb 27, 2015, 08:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
But facebook's tracking info IS transferred between devices — see my link above.

As long as you are logged into your facebook account, facebook reads along and can access (and sell) this information regardless of which device you're on.

I don't think it is quite right to characterize it this way. This seems like Facebook is pushing stuff to the device, rather than the respective FB apps just accessing FB data.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Feb 27, 2015, 09:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
I don't think it is quite right to characterize it this way. This seems like Facebook is pushing stuff to the device, rather than the respective FB apps just accessing FB data.
It's browsers, not just the FB app.

There is no facebook app for PCs. Read the Ars article above and get back to us.
     
ghporter
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Feb 28, 2015, 11:06 AM
 
Accessing various links through Facebook is tracked by FB, whatever device you're using, and that tracking is associated with your profile, not your device. Facebook itself stores that data, not your device. This is how stuff you "like" on one device is reflected in your FB account on everything.

Like I said earlier, it's a tradeoff between complete privacy and being social online. If you don't want Facebook to know what links you visited, don't visit them through Facebook. (Frankly, a lot of the videos that are shared through FB don't work right in their iOS app, and I've gotten used to copying the link and using Safari or Chrome to view those.)

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Spheric Harlot
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Feb 28, 2015, 02:51 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
Accessing various links through Facebook is tracked by FB, whatever device you're using, and that tracking is associated with your profile, not your device. Facebook itself stores that data, not your device. This is how stuff you "like" on one device is reflected in your FB account on everything.
It's a LOT more than that.

As long as you are logged into your facebook account in any browser, every page that has a facebook "Like" button will leave a track that facebook can read, regardless of your device.

You can tell because when you visit some of those sites, even when NOT coming through a facebook link, they will show you which of your friends have "liked" the site.
     
besson3c
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Feb 28, 2015, 03:36 PM
 
That only works if you are logged into Facebook. The Like buttons and other widgets sort of bring Facebook to any site so long as you have a FB account and are logged into it.

I haven't read the article yet, but if the point is that Facebook has a lot of intelligence about it's users, this is absolutely true, and shouldn't be a surprise.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Feb 28, 2015, 04:20 PM
 
Originally Posted by besson3c View Post
That only works if you are logged into Facebook. The Like buttons and other widgets sort of bring Facebook to any site so long as you have a FB account and are logged into it.
Exactly.

And since most people never actually log out of Facebook before they close the window or leave the site...
     
ghporter
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Mar 2, 2015, 07:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by Spheric Harlot View Post
Exactly.

And since most people never actually log out of Facebook before they close the window or leave the site...
Good point. It's "much easier" just to stay logged in, and lo and behold! Facebook is there when you want it. And, unfortunately for some, when you don't necessarily want it.

On iOS, if you have the Facebook app, it does NOT simply connect from a "Like" button in your browser to the app. Since the only times I use Facebook are when I'm on my iPad, that sort of solves the uber-tracking issue for me.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Spheric Harlot
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Mar 2, 2015, 09:19 AM
 
As long as you're not also logged into Facebook on Safari on the iPad.
     
ghporter
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Mar 3, 2015, 08:13 AM
 
Exactly. So I ONLY use their app on the iPad and my phone.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
   
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