How to get the most privacy in Microsoft Edge

Worry less about your privacy. It's easy to take control of your privacy in Edge with these simple tips.

Microsoft Edge vertical tabs

If you're running Microsoft Edge on a great new laptop, or even one of the best Macs, then privacy might be a concern. You don't want the websites you visit in your web browser tracking you, and you don't want to see obtrusive ads, either. The good news is that with a few tweaks, you can make Microsoft Edge a better browser. From using the in-built controls, an ad blocker, to disabling Bing, and frequently clearing your history, we have all the tips for you right here on how to get the most privacy in Microsoft Edge.

Disable the Bing integrations

Bing Integration in Edge

First up, you'll want to disable the Bing and Bing-related integrations in Microsoft Edge. As great as Bing might be, you probably don't want to send your search data to Microsoft or have Bing track you. This is especially true considering the recent controversy where Microsoft Edge was accidentally sending the websites you visit to the Bing API. You can change the default search engine in Edge from Bing search to something more secure like DuckDuckGo to prevent this. You also can disable the services in Edge that use Bing API like collections, and following creators.

Switching away from Bing as the default search engine

  1. Click on the three-dot menu in the top right of the screen in Edge.
  2. Choose Settings.
  3. Choose Privacy, Search, and Services.
  4. Scroll down and click on Address bar and search.
  5. Choose a different search engine.
  6. Toggle the switches for search suggestions and history suggestions to off.

Disabling features that use the Bing API

  1. Click on the three-dot menu in the top right of the screen in Edge.
  2. Choose Settings.
  3. Choose Privacy, Search, and Services.
  4. Under Services, disable the switches for web service, suggest similar sites, Shopping, Collections, and every other item in this area.
    Bing servies in Edge
  5. Above this section, under personalization and advertising turn the toggle switch to off.

Enable the Strict tracking prevention mode

Tracking prevention in Edge

Next, you can use Microsoft Edge's native controls for enhancing your security when browsing the web. There are three levels of controls that help prevent websites from tracking you for personalized ads. You can choose either Basic, Balanced, or Strict. Basic will allow most trackers, Balanced will block trackers from sites you haven't visited, and Strict will block most trackers on all websites, so ads are less personalized, with the risk of breaking web pages. We suggest the Strict profile for maximum privacy. But keep in mind, some of these settings might break webpages that depend on personalized ads.

  1. Click on the three-dot menu in the top right of the screen in Edge.
  2. Choose Settings.
  3. Choose Privacy, Search, and Services.
  4. Choose Basic, Balanced, or Strict as listed.
  5. Scroll down to Privacy and select the toggle switch for Send Do Not Track requests.

Once enabled, you can click on the Blocked trackers section to see which trackers Edge has blocked. If you want, you also can add exceptions for certain websites you visit, so you can support their content.

Ad blocker in Microsoft Edge

Advertisements help support the websites you visit with revenue, but if you want a better experience when browsing the web, it's a good idea to block those ads. After all, some ads can be very intrusive, showing in the line of text or in an area of a website you want to focus on. Though rare, some ads also might have malware. Here's how to use an ad blocker extension in Edge.

  1. Visit the uBlock Origin page in the Microsoft Edge add-ons store.
  2. Click the blue Get button.
  3. Choose Add extension.
  4. Click on the jigsaw puzzle icon and then choose the uBlock Origin icon to access the extension's settings.

You can enable and disable uBlock Origin on a webpage by clicking its icon next to the address bar, then choose the power button. Sometimes, websites will warn you about the ad blocker, and you'll have to turn it off.

Keep in mind that some extensions can also spy on you and collect your data. Don't install extensions that are from unknown sources. Be mindful of the extensions you use.

Keep track of permissions

Site Permissions Microsoft Edge

As you use certain websites in Edge, they'll collect certain permissions for webcam, location, as well as notifications. For increased privacy, it is a good idea to keep track of these. Sometimes a website might go rogue with permissions, especially with spammy notifications. Here's how you can manage them.

  1. Click on the three-dot menu in the top right of the screen in Edge.
  2. Choose Settings.
  3. Choose Cookies and site permissions
  4. Choose All sites to manage permissions for sites you've visited.
  5. Change the permissions you want to change to Block if you don't want websites to access that data.
  6. Alternatively, you can click each of the All permissions categories and seeing which websites have permission to access them.

Clear your history and cookies often

Edge clear browsing data

When you browse the web, your browser will pick up "cookies" to make loading that site easier in the future. Sometimes, websites track your cookies to target you with ads. It's why it's good practice to often clear your history and delete those cookies and history. This is easy in Microsoft Edge, like many other web browsers.

  1. Click on the three-dot menu in the top right of the screen in Edge.
  2. Choose History.
  3. Click the three-dot menu at the top in the popup.
  4. Choose Open history page.
  5. Choose Clear browsing data.
  6. Choose All Time and check all the boxes.
  7. Choose Clear now.

Once you clear the browsing data, all history and cookies will be removed, this works across all devices, you might have signed into using the Microsoft Edge that you're logged into with Microsoft Edge, say on a Chromebook with Linux, on a Mac, or on other Windows PCs.