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Reset Safari's Private Browsing Data

8486 Views 10 Replies Latest reply: Jul 13, 2013 12:38 AM by Alexander Traud RSS
Vaelian Calculating status...
Currently Being Moderated
Sep 15, 2012 9:14 AM

Without private browsing, if I visit a site such as reddit, login, and check the "remember me" box, Safari will effectively remember me until I do a Reset Safari with everything checked (this is the expected behavior).  However, if I do exactly the same thing with Private Browsing enabled, Reset Safari stops working as expected for the data saved during a Private Browsing session.  Worse, the data Safari saves during the Private Browsing session stays permanently, so quitting and restarting Safari does not fix the problem, as once I re-enable Private Browsing, reddit will remember me again.


I've tried everything I could to reset my Private Browsing data but apparently it keeps coming back.  I have plugins and Java disabled, so it can't be Flash; I've even gone as far as to remove the ~/Library/Caches/ and ~/Library/Safari directories entirely to no avail, reddit continues to remember me in Private Browsing no matter what I do and only when Private Browsing is enabled (which is kind of ironic).


Obviously I'm not concerned about reddit itself, but if reddit, which has no ill intent, can remember me, then I wonder how much data is being saved without my knowledge that I can't remove during a private browsing session.

MacBook Pro (15-inch Late 2011), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.1)
  • Klaus1 Level 8 Level 8 (43,475 points)
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    Sep 15, 2012 9:30 AM (in response to Vaelian)

    You need to set Cookies to Never (in Safari Prefeences/security) before activating Private Browsing.

  • Klaus1 Level 8 Level 8 (43,475 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Sep 15, 2012 3:34 PM (in response to Vaelian)

    I can't think of any other way for Reddit to remember your preferences than via a cookie.

  • Klaus1 Level 8 Level 8 (43,475 points)
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    Sep 15, 2012 3:46 PM (in response to Vaelian)

    AFAIK only in the History plist file.

  • Alexander Traud Level 4 Level 4 (2,690 points)
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    Dec 11, 2012 4:37 AM (in response to Vaelian)

    Vaelian, I face this bug, too. Did you find any solution or reported the bug, already?


    With Wireshark, I was able to verify that Apple simply sends the Cookie. Nobody (Flash, Java or HTML itself) did request the Cookie. The cache and cookies for private-browsing are kept as long as I am logged in. If you turn off private-browsing, Apple uses Library/Cookies/Cookies.binarycookies and therefore, the cookie is not present. However, if you turn on private-browsing again, the Cookie magically appears! I checked my whole disk and could not find the private-brwosing cookie-store. I guess, it is stored somewhere in RAM.


    My solution:
    I logged-out via Apple menu. Alternatively, I restart the whole computer. Then, all cached data and the cookies of my private-browsing mode got deleted.


    Side effects:
    This private-browsing cookie-store gets corrupted after some time and I experienced the wildest errors on webpages. Again, logging out and logging in again, solved it.

  • mkimitch Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jun 27, 2013 12:11 PM (in response to Vaelian)

    Go into your preferences in Safari. Go to the Privacy tab. Click "Remove All Website Data...". If you click "Details..." before you do this, you can see what is storing data in localStorage.


    Keep in mind that while in Private Browsing mode in Safari, Web sites cannot set items in localStorage; if a Web site relies on the use of localStorage, it may not work correctly in Safari, while in Privat Browsing mode.

  • Alexander Traud Level 4 Level 4 (2,690 points)
    Currently Being Moderated
    Jul 13, 2013 12:38 AM (in response to mkimitch)

    Mark, thanks for the note. However, exactly this does not work. At least for here for me. Does it work for you?


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