Do Cookies Work on Mobile Phones?Kiri Tamte-Horan
A cookie is is a small piece of data sent from a website and stored in a user’s web browser while the user is browsing that website. A cookie can track everything from the websites the user visits afterwards, their behavior, purchase decisions, etc. Cookies can even deploy ads back to the user inviting them to revisit the original website. But do these cookies work on mobile phones?
It is a common belief that cookies can’t work on mobile, however this statement isn’t completely accurate. Most mobile web browsers do accept first party-cookies, in other words, a cookie whose domain is the same as the domain of the visited website. However, different mobile browsers behave differently when it comes to accepting third-party cookies, or cookies whose domain is different from the visited website.
And when you are comparing mobile broswers, to mobile apps, the rules again change. A mobile app uses technology called a webview to display online content. Cookies are stored within a webview like they are stored in a browser setting. Webview is similar to mobile browsers because it is unique per application, and cannot share cookie information between apps or the device’s web browser. Here’s a breakdown by the IAB of different browsers and the different cookies they accept:
Because cookie tracking on mobile can be limited, a few alternative methods of tracking have been developed. The four most common are as follows: Client/Device Generated Identifier, Statistical ID, HTML5 Cookie Tracking, and Universal Login Tracking. Read more about these here.