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What actually happens on your browser when you press ‘accept cookies’

What actually happens on your browser when you press ‘accept cookies’

Sadly it has nothing to do with tasty treats.

For most of us, it's pretty much second nature - whenever you click onto a new website, an annoying 'accept cookies' notification pops up, and you mindlesslessly click 'yes' just to get rid of it.

If you're even remotely online, it's something that can happen multiple times a day, and you won't ever give it much thought.

But what does it actually mean? And should you really be clicking 'yes' every time?


Italian company iubenda knows a thing or two about cookies, as it helps websites, apps and more generate cookie policy and terms and conditions.

It dives into what the 'accept cookies' notification means in a blog post, writing: "In general, when you 'accept' cookies, you’re giving consent for the website to run cookie scripts and similar technologies."

Cookies are basically small text files which are downloaded whenever you go on a website. When you accept them, they're stored on the web browser and gather data about you.

While that might seem a bit creepy - and you might have some concerns about privacy - it's not necessarily a bad thing.

Cookies can be helpful and enhance your experience on a website.

You know when your favorite website remembers your username and password? It can save you a lot of time if you're constantly visiting that site - and it's all thanks to cookies.

SpiffyJ / Getty
SpiffyJ / Getty

Another example is shopping cart software. Whenever you're thinking about buying new clothes and you pop a few items in your basket - you might not be ready to purchase anything then and there, but thanks to cookies, when you return to the site later all your options will still be in the basket.

There are two main types of cookies, according to iubenda: first-party cookies (that are managed by the website or app), and third-party cookies - that are managed by third parties.

In many places, like the EU, it's against the law for websites to run cookies without letting you know - hence why you have to give your consent every time you're on a new site.

But don't worry too much, because once you've accepted those cookies, you always have the option to change your mind.

iubenda says: "Users have the right to withdraw their consent at any time, even though they consented to cookies in the first place."

So while these cookies might not be a tasty treat, they are also not that sinister either.

Featured Image Credit: SEAN GLADWELL/PrathanChorruangsak/ Getty