One of the selling points of the new Microsoft Edge is its focus on privacy and tracking prevention. Here’s a look at what tracking is and how to manage the tracking prevention settings in Edge.
What is Tracking?
Websites use tracking mechanisms to collect data about your browsing, likes, clicks, and shopping habits to serve up personalized ads. In fact, trackers can collect data about you across multiple sites. Even ones you haven’t visited. That’s why it seems like ads for a product or service are following you around online. And some trackers can be harmful. Ones that are detected as cryptomining or fingerprinting in the background. Not only do trackers have privacy implications, but they use up system resources.
Tracking Prevention in Microsoft Edge
The browser’s tracking prevention feature is powered by Disconnect’s tracking protection lists. Disconnect is the company that develops a browser extension to block known and harmful trackers. And the Privacy Pro app for iPhone that blocks hidden tracking from the apps (namely free apps) you install on your device.
Manage Tracking Prevention Settings in Edge
The new Microsoft Edge has built-in tracking prevention that will detect, and block known trackers.
To manage Microsoft’s tracking prevention level settings, click the Options button (three dots) at the upper-right corner of the screen and choose Settings > Privacy and services.
Alternately you can copy and paste the following into the address bar:
There you will find the tracking prevention section. It has three levels you can choose: Basic, Balanced, or Strict. It is set to “Balanced” by default, but you can change it to a different level if you want.
Obviously, the “Basic” setting is going to allow most trackers from all websites, and you’ll have a personalized ad experience as you navigate the web. But it still blocks known harmful trackers of the malicious variety.
The “Strict” setting blocks trackers from all sites. But in addition to not seeing personalized ads, it may break some visual elements of a site.
The “Balanced” setting which is recommended and enabled by default will strike a balance between the two. It blocks trackers from sites you haven’t visited, sites will work, and you’ll have less ad tracking.
It’s also worth noting that here you can click on “Blocked trackers” to view the number of blocked trackers. And you can also whitelist certain sites where the tracking prevention feature is turned off. And turn on the option to always use the “Strict” setting while using InPrivate mode.
Tracking Prevention Setting for Mobile
On the mobile version of Edge head to Settings > Privacy and security > Tracking Prevention and choose the level you want there. It’s set to Basic on mobile just as it is on the desktop version.
Data mining is a multi-billion dollar-a-year industry. And tracking is complex and constantly evolving. But the more you can do to help protect your privacy online the better. And the tracking prevention feature in the new Microsoft Edge is another protection mechanism.