Imagine that you’ve been going from shop to shop looking for a cow-shaped butter dish. Later, you walk into a department store and a salesperson walks right up to you and tries to sell you the finest specimen of the cow-shaped butter dish they’re holding in their hands.
You might think, well lucky me, what a perceptive salesperson. But we’ll guess you’ll find the whole situation rather disconcerting.
This is essentially what online tracking looks like. The good news is that the Firefox mobile browser can prevent this kind of creepy situation from happening thanks to what we call Enhanced Tracking Protection.
What does that mean, essentially?
Let’s explain a few things first: cookies are delicious little bak… no, no, wait. Cookies are small files set on your computer that allow the websites you’ve visited to remember you. So far, so good. You might even say it’s quite convenient, as first party cookies sometimes placed by these websites can, for example, allow you to resume a website session where you left off, such as when you abandon your shopping cart.
The problem is when these cookies come from websites you’ve never visited before. When you’re browsing a new website, some cookies placed by ad networks or data collectors record your behavior and path on the internet in order to create a personalized user profile. They can then use or sell or this profile and that’s how you end up being chased around the web with targeted ads (remember that pesky salesperson with the butter dish). This is what we call third party cookies.
Enhanced Tracking Protection does more than simply help you to browse more peacefully without feeling like you’re being spied on. It also presents a few other crucial benefits:
- You’ll browse faster: Enhanced Tracking Protection can improve page load time by several seconds – and we all now that seconds equate to centuries for a modern-day internet user.
- You’ll save network bandwidth (understand: money): by blocking some video and image ads, you use less data every time you open a new page, which can come in handy when you have a tight data plan with few gigs to spare.
Great! And how does it work?
After reading all of this, you’re probably asking yourself, how do I get Enhanced Tracking Protection on my phone? That’s why we’ve come up with this easy three-step guide:
- Download Firefox for Android or iOS
- Open the app and browse away
- That’s it!
Oh yeah, did we mention that this feature is activated by default? That means you don’t need to clumsily fumble your browser settings to prevent third party cookies from tracking your each and every move online.
Cool. So it’s a bit like an ad blocker, right ?
Not quite. The whole point of Enhanced Tracking Protection is not to block ads, but harmful cookies (we’re not talking about the ones with raisins and oats) that hinder your browsing experience and disrespect your privacy. As a result of this, some ads may be blocked.
But because we’re all about freedom and giving you full control over what you see when you browse the internet, we made it easy for you to activate and deactivate the feature as well as create exceptions for certain websites, both on iOS and Android.
Sounds good? Start browsing freely and away from snoops by downloading Firefox for your mobile today.