How to check your cookies in Safari to assess the impact of ITP
A step-by-step guide to check the health of your web analytics.
Have you seen some unexpected changes in your website analytics? Have you experienced a sudden spike in traffic or a drop in the performance of your ads? It is time to check your Safari cookies.
This may simply be the effect of your marketing efforts, or you may have been affected by the latest ITP 2.3 update.
The latest ITP 2.3 update shuts down one of the most popular workarounds to Safari´s ITP – CNAME cloaking. This means that Safari can cap your analytics cookies to a 7-day expiration. If users do not return to your website within this attribution window, you will no longer be able to map their customer journey. In this view, it is important to conduct a quick health check to prevent unintended impacts.
Step-by-step guide to check your cookies in Safari
To know if your cookies have been affected, you need to find your cookies from the developer tool and check their expiration date.
The ideal would be to make a comparison between:
- how things look like with ITP in Safari and;
- how things look like in ITP-free browsers like Firefox and Chrome.
However, in this short guide, we will look at Safari only.
Step 1: Find your cookies.
First, you need to enable the developer tools from the Safari browser:
-> click ‘Preferences’ from the Safari menu.
-> select the ‘Advanced ’ tab and check the ‘Show Develop menu in menu bar’ option.
-> close the pop-up window.
At this point, navigate to the home page of your website:
-> right-click anywhere on the page.
-> click ‘Inspect element’ .
-> select the ‘Storage’ tab in the ribbon.
-> find and expand the ‘Cookies’ folder on the left-hand side.
-> find and click on your website domain in the list that appears.
You can see the names of the various cookies are in the leftmost column. The ‘Expires’ column states the expiration date of your cookies.
Step 2: Check the lifespan of your cookies.
All is left is to check the lifespan of your analytics cookies. For example, let´s look at the Google Analytics cookie _ga and the Facebook cookie _fbp.
If they have an expiration of 7 days, it means they have been capped by ITP. Without ITP, such cookies have an expiration ranging from 90 days to 2 years.
The screenshots were taken on January 13, 2021 and the expiration date of _ga and _fbp are set 7 days later. We can conclude that they are affected by ITP.
Please note that Google Analytics cookies like _gid and _gat are unaffected by ITP. 24h and 1 minute, respectively, are their normal lifespan.
You can read more about other types of cookies in this collection of cookie guides.