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How to control security and privacy on OS X

Kenny Hemphill | Aug. 28, 2015
Maintaining privacy and keeping data secure are hugely important for any Mac user. Yet many of us give it scant attention and do little more than the bare minimum, if anything at all to ensure that hackers, opportunists and, yes, even the authorities are able to access as little of our personal data as possible.

The best privacy settings for Safari

Safari privacy...

Away from System Preferences, Safari has several settings that allow you to control privacy. The first is New Private Window, from the File menu, which allows you to visit websites, without a record of where you go being stored in the History menu, or anywhere else on your Mac.

Clear history...

The second is Clear History and Website data, in the Safari menu, which if you click it periodically, erases cached data from the sites you visit and removes them from the History menu. In Safari's Preferences, the Privacy section allows you to prevent websites tracking you, control which sites can store cookies on your Mac, and specify how your location data is made available.

And if you're concerned about storing website username and passwords, or personal data, go to the Auto Fill and Passwords sections and uncheck the boxes that enable those services.

Finally, a word on passwords

Good passwords should be difficult to remember. They should also not be written down. That, of course, presents a problem, particularly if you don't want Safari to auto-complete them. The solution is a password manager like 1Password or Dashlane. These apps allow you to create and store robust passwords and sync them across all your devices. Crucially, however, they encrypt the data and allow allow access when you type in the master password. 


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