Back in January, after Firefox and Safari announced similar plans, Google said it would phase out third-party cookies in Chrome over the next two years. Apple seems to think there’s no time like the present, so it went ahead and blocked those cookies in Safari on macOS, iOS, and iPadOS.
John Wilander, a WebKit engineer running the project, announced the new feature in a blog post on Tuesday. Safari’s privacy features have incrementally beefed up in recent years, so the jump wasn’t as huge as for say, the browser of one of the biggest advertising companies in the world.
What’s changed? — In 2017, Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) was released to protect users from overzealous tracking practices. Safari already kind of blocked third-party cookies, but the blocking activity itself could be tracked. Now, these cookies are completely blocked by default, making Safari the first mainstream browser to do so. Tor, portal to the Dark Web and mainstay on your favorite conspiracy theorist’s PC, also fully blocks third-party cookies for obvious reasons.
Ciao, cookies — While we wait for Chrome to follow suit, advertisers are already steaming over this eventual shift. Microsoft’s Edge, which runs on Chromium, is also starting to block cookies, but it’s not the default for users. The major players are deciding they don’t want cookies in their cookie jars anymore, but we should keep an eye out for what replaces them. As ZDNet points out, Safari’s update is limited to cookies and there are still other ways to fingerprint online activity.