Apple adds full third-party cookie blocking to Safari

Apple says that “most third-party cookies” are now blocked in Safari after it released a major update for its web browser on Wednesday that will improve a user’s data security and privacy online.

The latest change to the Safari Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) system builds on almost three years of work that has put Apple at the head of the game in preventing advertisers from tracking web behaviour and habits.

Google is behind the curve in this regard as it only said in January that the Chrome browser would start removing third-party cookies entirely, and only after a two-year phasing-out period, which is set to end sometime in 2022.

Announcing the latest update, Apple’s John Wilander said that Safari users will now be able to navigate across a “safer web”.

He added that the update will combat cross-site tracking in a number of ways.

Perhaps most significantly, cross-site resources will be blocked as standard for all web browsing activity.

Wilander noted: “This is a significant improvement for privacy since it removes any sense of exceptions or ‘a little bit of cross-site tracking is allowed.’”

Apple launched ITP in 2017 and it was soon at the vanguard for web privacy standards alongside Mozilla’s Firefox.

Since then, Apple has also worked on an AI-powered machine learning program that supports its web tracking prevention.

Unlike other competitors, Apple has touted its superior security features as a selling point for its devices and it continues to work on new ways to limit the ways that people’s data is gathered.

The ‘Sign in with Apple’ initiative, for example, allows users to sign up to apps and websites without divulging personal information including their primary email address.

The latest version of Safari is rolling out this week across Apple devices on iOS, iPadOS and MacOS.

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