Prevent cross-site tracking on Mac, iPhone and iPad

Prevent cross-site tracking on Mac, iPhone and iPad: Safari has a very important privacy feature that stops tracking from happening between sites. Whether you have a Mac, an iPhone, an iPad, or a Windows PC, you can turn this feature on or off in Safari’s settings.

By default, this is turned on. You might be curious about what this option really does and what happens when you turn it on or off. In this article, I’ll explain what “prevent cross-site tracking” does, if you should turn it on or off, and how to do either.

What is tracking between sites?

Before I begin, I should say that all of the major browsers, like Firefox, Mozilla, and Chrome, have features that are similar. This is because it is an important feature that you should know about if you care about your privacy.

Let’s give an example. Say you went to a site, any site, since most sites on the internet have ads. And let’s say you clicked on an ad on the site because you were interested in it.

Then, 10 minutes later, you leave this site. The next site you go to may have the same ad you clicked on or ads in the same category. This happened because a third-party ad agency on the first site kept track of you so it could make ads that were more relevant to you.

It can follow you from site to site, so based on what you did on one site, you might see the same or very similar ads on other sites you visit later. In other words, this is how the ad agency will find you. If you turned on “Prevent cross-site tracking” in Safari, the ad agency wouldn’t be able to track you, so this wouldn’t happen.

How to turn on and off “Prevent cross-site tracking” on Mac:

  1. Click Safari, then Settings in Safari (or Preferences if you are running an older version of macOS).
  2. Click the tab for “Privacy.”
  3. To do this, check the box that says “Prevent cross-site tracking.” To turn it off, uncheck the box.

On an iPhone or iPad:

  1. Tap Settings and Safari.
  2. Scroll down until you get to “Privacy and Security.”
  3. Toggle the “Prevent Cross-Site Tracking” switch on or off.

Are the trackers visible?

Yes, Safari lets you view your privacy reports. The following will be in these reports:

Does the website you’re on have any trackers that try to follow you? Again most sites do.
A list of all the trackers you’ve seen in the last 30 days.
The people who want to follow you but can’t.
A list of websites and how many trackers they have.

On Mac:

  1. Open Safari and go to
  2. Click the Privacy Report button, which is usually in the toolbar to the left of where you type URLs. This will show if the site is being tracked by a third party. If you don’t see the Privacy Report button, you can add it by going to the top menu bar and clicking on View > Customize Toolbar.
  3. To find out more, click the I info button.

On an iPhone or iPad:

  1. Launch Safari and go to a website.
  2. Tap the double AA button, which is next to the URL bar on the left.
  3. Choose Privateness Report.