Apple Declares War Against Tracking Cookies

Safari will delete cookies after a few days to prevent web tracking. Analysis tools are also affected.

Apple is significantly tightening Safari’s built in anti-tracking feature: in the future, cookies that a website has set (first-party cookie) will automatically be deleted after seven days. The change affects all cookies created by Javascript on the client side (via document.cookie), as Apple explains this should make long term tracking of users more difficult.

With that Apple counters circumvention measures by the advertising industry taken. In order to circumvent the blockade of third-party cookies that already existed in Safari, more and more websites switched to first party cookies. Google, for example, no longer delivers cookies via, instead the server of the respective website operator takes over these to first party cookies.

Apple: Permanent and long term tracking is a growing problem

Cross-site trackers are abusing this method for “permanent tracking,” Apple said on the WebKit blog. This is particularly problematic for data protection because it allows all tracker scripts to exchange and merge the collected data. The Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) version 2.1, it is part of iOS 12.2 and Safari 12.1 for macOS.

The limitation of first-party cookies should also have a significant impact on access statistics and common analysis tools: Marketers and publishers would lose their insight into their customers and should be prepared for a post cookie world, as the industry fears.

Safari users should not be logged out all the time

In order to prevent Safari users from being permanently logged out of websites due to this countermeasure Apple wants to avoid authentication cookies, which must be marked as “Secure” and “HttpOnly”. Session cookies are not affected, the company said.,

Apple’s browser safari plays only a minor role on the desktop, but is widely used as a standard browser on iPhone and iPad. Apple’s built-in anti-tracking feature has already had a lasting impact on advertising companies. The new Safari version could appear with iOS 12.2 at the end of March.