11 Replies Latest reply: May 10, 2014 8:08 AM by colwell
Vaelian Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

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/com.apple.Safari 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 (47,335 points)

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

  • Vaelian Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Perhaps I've not made myself clear.  Sites setting cookies during Private Browsing is not the issue, the issue is that I can not find a way to remove data stored locally during a Private Brwosing session.  Every time I visit reddit with Private Browsing enabled, it remembers me no matter how many times I reset Safari and completely wipe its directories from my home directory.  I've even searched for the string 'reddit' in my ~/Library and didn't find anything of relevant.

  • Klaus1 Level 8 Level 8 (47,335 points)

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

  • Vaelian Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    HRML5 supports key/value and relational local storage, which reddit uses.  Safari not deleting this data when I do a reset is definitely a bug, but that's not my issue, my issue is that I don't know where that data is stored in order to delete it manually, because deleting ~/Library/Safari and ~/Library/Caches/com.apple.Safari does not delete the locally stored data that reddit (and god knows who else) has stored in my computer.

  • Klaus1 Level 8 Level 8 (47,335 points)

    AFAIK only in the History plist file.

  • Vaelian Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    jps@aegis: ~/Library/Safari $ defaults read "`pwd`"/History

    2012-09-16 00:49:52.014 defaults[18534:707]

    Domain /Users/jps/Library/Safari/History does not exist

    jps@aegis: ~/Library/Safari $ ls -l History.plist

    -rw-r--r--@ 1 jps  staff  0 Sep 16 00:47 History.plist


    As you can see, the file is empty, and I'm still logged in to reddit.  Not that this matters, though, because as I mentioned earlier, have completely wiped these directories (~/Library/Safari and ~/Library/Caches/com.apple.Safari) to no avail, so this file was wiped, too.  If the data is stored anywhere, it's got to be outside these two directories, possibly in a core data (sqlite database) file somewhere else...

  • Vaelian Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)

    Issue persists after upgrade to OS X 10.8.2.

  • Alexander Traud Level 4 Level 4 (2,690 points)

    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)

    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)

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

  • colwell Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I finally realized that what was popping up in the browser after clearing history were my favorites and bookmarks, some of which were from years ago, imported from previous computers.  So when I would type in news, the first suggestion was bbc news because I had bookmarked a BBC page.