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How does YouTube track user activity

Like most other websites, YouTube collects user data from website cookies. Additionally, it also has some other technologies that track your interaction on the website. You must’ve heard about the famous (or infamous) “YouTube Algorithm.” It feeds on your data and suggests videos based on your activity. 

For example, suppose you watched a video on YouTube about Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs iPhone 14 Pro Max. The next time you open the app or refresh the homepage, YouTube will start suggesting videos with similar titles and content. Suggesting similar videos is quite acceptable when you willingly search for a video. It can also help you learn more about a topic if you use YouTube for educational purposes. 

Why does YouTube track user activity? 

The primary purpose of YouTube tracking users’ activity is to keep these users hooked to the platform. Yes, the platform makes money on every video you watch (surprise), and more content consumed equates to more profits. 

How to stop YouTube from tracking watch history

For iPhone, iPad and Android

Open the YouTube app on your iPhone or iPad. Ensure you are logged in to your account.

Tap your profile (image) at the top right corner. 

Scroll down and tap Your data in YouTube. 

Now head to the Controls tab → tap the Turn Off option. 

On the next page, tap Pause. 

You will see the Setting is off page. You can select Delete old activity to delete your previous YouTube watch history. 

Beginning now, YouTube will not keep track of the videos you watch. However, if you wish to disable this setting in the future, follow the same steps and select the TURN ON option. 

For Mac and Windows

For iPhone and iPad

Open the YouTube app on your iPhone or iPad. 

Tap your profile at the top right corner → tap Your data in YouTube.

Head to the Controls tab.

Navigate to My Ad Centre → tap Go to My Ad Centre. 

For Mac and Windows

Suppose you do not want to make the abovementioned changes, or even after making the changes mentioned above, you want a more private browsing experience. In that case, we recommend you enable Incognito mode on YouTube.

How to turn on Incognito Mode on iPhone, iPad, and Mac

Open the YouTube app on your iPhone or iPad. 

Tap your profile at the top right corner. 

Incognito mode comes in handy when you want to watch a video someone sent you without affecting the algorithm and spoiling your YouTube Homepage. Also, since it is in incognito mode, none of the activity is stored in the Watch History. 

Once you’re done browsing videos in Incognito mode, repeat the abovementioned steps and select Turn Off Incognito to return to your profile. 

Pros and cons of blocking YouTube from tracking your activity

For those who are still in a pickle deciding if you should disable YouTube from tracking your activity, let me list down the pros and cons that will help you make an informed choice. 


YouTube will not keep track of the videos you’ve watched, allowing you to watch any video of your choice without affecting your algorithm.  

None of the videos you watch will affect the suggestions on the YouTube Homepage. 

Ads will no longer be targeted and won’t be based on your browsing history. 


YouTube won’t remember where you stopped a video. You won’t be able to resume a video from the moment you last watched it. 

Any videos you watch won’t contribute towards YouTube, suggesting relevant videos on the homepage. 

Don’t share your data with anyone!

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Consumer Technology and Motorcycles are the two things that excite Darryl the most. Why? Because Tech helps better people’s lives, and solving people’s problems related to tech is something he enjoys. And what about bikes, you ask? Well, drop a gear and disappear.

You're reading How To Block Youtube From Tracking Your Activity On Iphone, Ipad, And Mac

How To Block Youtube On Your Pc Or Mac

YouTube is home to unlimited educational and entertaining content. Still, you might want to block YouTube on your personal or home computer if the website’s becoming too distracting.

Putting YouTube in Restricted Mode blocks adult content and makes the platform safer for your kids or teenage children. You can also block specific channels with inappropriate content. But if you want to block access to the YouTube website on your computer, we’ll show you how it’s done. This tutorial covers steps for Mac and Windows computers.

Table of Contents

Block YouTube on Windows PC

You can block websites by modifying the “Hosts file” that Windows uses to configure your computer’s Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP). TCP/IP describes a set of instructions that dictate how your computer exchanges data over the internet.

Follow the steps below to block YouTube by editing the Windows hosts file in Windows 10 or 11.

Open the Windows File Explorer (

Windows key



), paste


, and press





and select



This command blocks YouTube on all browsers (Safari, Firefox, Microsoft Edge, etc.) except Google Chrome.







, or select


in the top-right corner and select

Save as



All files

in the “Save as type” drop-down menu. Afterward, select the


file in the destination folder and select





on the pop-up window.

Close Notepad and try visiting YouTube in your web browser. If you followed these steps correctly, YouTube should display a “Connect to the internet. You’re offline.” error message. If you can still open YouTube, restart your computer and try again.

Unblock YouTube in Windows

Delete the IP address and YouTube website URL(s) in the document’s last line.





to save the hosts file. Alternatively, select


on the menu bar, and select



Close the hosts file in Notepad, open any web browser, and check if you can now access YouTube. Restart your computer if your browser doesn’t load YouTube.

How to Block YouTube on Your Mac

In macOS, you can block YouTube in Screen Time or by editing your Mac’s TCP/IP hosts file.

Block YouTube Using Screen Time

Screen Time on Mac computers has content restriction settings for blocking inappropriate web content. Follow the steps below to block access to YouTube on all web browsers installed on your Mac.


System Preferences

and select

Screen Time




in the bottom-left corner and check the

Use Screen Time Passcode


It’s possible to bypass passcode restrictions from an administrator account. Hence, Apple recommends setting a Screen Time passcode from a standard account.

If you’re using an administrator account, you’ll get a prompt to create a new administrator account on your Mac. Choose Don’t allow this user to administer this computer, create a new user account to be the administrator, and follow the prompt to create a new admin account.

Otherwise, jump to step #3 if setting up Screen Time from a standard account.

Enter a four-digit Screen Time passcode.

Re-enter the

four-digit Screen Time passcode

to proceed.

The next step is to set up the Screen Time passcode recovery. If you ever forget your Screen Time passcode, you can reset it using your Apple ID.

Enter your Apple ID email and password and select




Content & Privacy

on the Screen Time settings menu and select

Limit Adult Websites


Enter your Screen Time passcode.




Select the

plus icon



) in the bottom corner of the block list.



to save the restriction.

Your web browsers will display a Screen Time pop-up when anyone visits YouTube on your Mac.

To unblock YouTube, select the YouTube URL in the “Restricted” section and the minus (—) icon in the bottom corner. Select OK to save the settings and unblock access to YouTube on all web browsers.

Block YouTube on Mac By Tweaking macOS Hosts File

Type or paste sudo nano /etc/hosts in the Terminal console and press



Enter your Mac’s password and press



Type or paste chúng tôi in the last line. Afterward, press




and press


to save the hosts file.

Close the Terminal window, clear your browser’s cache, and check if YouTube is blocked.

You must clear your browser’s cache after editing the hosts file in Terminal. Otherwise, you and other users will still be able to access YouTube.

To unblock YouTube, reopen the hosts file in Terminal (see steps #1 — #3) and delete chúng tôi Press Control + O and press Return to save the hosts file.

Use Third-Party Tool

The methods above are straightforward and work on all macOS and Windows versions. Alternatively, you can block YouTube using free parental control software or your router’s admin panel.

How To Hide Apple Music On Your Iphone, Ipod Touch, Ipad And Mac

Now that you’ve tried Apple Music thanks to Apple’s generous three-month free trial, you may have decided that the service just isn’t cut for you.

Though impossible to get rid of it completely, you can temporarily hide most of Apple Music’s aspects.

Our previous tutorial has taught you how to disconnect from Apple Music’s Connect feature and today’s how-to lays out the steps to hide Apple Music on your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Mac and go back to the old way of enjoying music.

How to hide Apple Music on your iOS device

Step 1: Open the Settings app on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.

Step 2: Navigate to the Music section.

Step 3: Flip the Show Apple Music switch to the OFF position.

Don’t worry, disabling Apple Music won’t remove songs you’ve downloaded for offline listening so long as iCloud Music Library is enabled.

How to hide Apple Music on desktop iTunes

Step 1: Open iTunes on your Mac or Windows PC.

Keep in mind that hiding Apple Music on your desktop will automatically disable iCloud Music Library, which will remove all Apple Music songs from your computer, including those downloaded for offline listening.

What happens after hiding Apple Music?

As hinted above, removing Apple Music changes your music listening experience and brings back the old way of navigating your music library in the Music app. Here’s precisely what happens after you disable Apple Music on your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad or Mac.

1. Apple Music disappears from search

With Apple Music enabled, the two buttons right below the Music app’s search field let you narrow the search scope to Apple Music and Your Library. Hiding Apple Music will also remove the Apple Music button from search and replace it with Radio.

Tip: In order to search across radio stations when Apple Music is enabled, simply run your search query across Apple Music. Then in your search results, scroll down until you see matches in the Stations subsection.

It’s not very intuitive but gets the job done.

2. For You, and Browse tabs get removed

Some folks will want to turn off Apple Music just to get their old tabs back. With Apple Music enabled, the Music app replaces some of the old tabs with the four new buttons: Library, For You, Browse, Radio, and Search.

To get rid of the For You, and Browse tabs, simply hide Apple Music. If you want to get rid of the Connect tab alone, consult this tutorial.

3. Offline songs remain in your iOS music library

When you hide Apple Music, songs you previously downloaded for offline listening will remain in the music library on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. Should you also disable iCloud Music Library, offline tracks and Apple Music songs will get removed from the device, freeing up storage space.

What is iCloud Music Library?

iCloud Music Library can be switched on and off separately from Apple Music.

iCloud Music Library is similar to iCloud Photo Library: it stores your music and playlists in iCloud so you can access them from any device. Upon enabling the feature, your Mac will compare each song in your music library to iTunes’ vast catalog of thirty million songs, and counting.

Matched songs become immediately available to stream on all your devices with iCloud Music Library enabled. Non-matched songs get uploaded to iCloud first, after which you can stream them to any device.

How to disable iCloud Music Library on iOS

Step 1: Open the Settings app on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.

Step 2: Navigate to the Music section.

Step 3: Flip the iCloud Music Library switch to the OFF position.

How to disable iCloud Music Library on OS X

Step 1: Open iTunes on your Mac or Windows PC.

See also:

Have a great tip or an idea for a tutorial?

How To Use Smart Folders In Notes On Iphone, Ipad, And Mac

Having trouble organizing or finding the notes you need? With Smart Folders in Apple Notes, you can set up folders that automatically include specific notes. This gives you a great way to stay organized and on top of the notes you need most. So, let’s take a look at how you can create and use Smart Folders on iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

What are Smart Folders in Notes?

As mentioned, you can create a Smart Folder that contains certain notes automatically. To do so, you set up a filter (condition) like a tag, date, or locked note. When the condition is met for a particular note, it pops into the Smart Folder. This gives you a convenient spot to quickly access the notes you need.

Uses of Smart Folders in the Notes app

View all notes for the current day, each day of the week.

See pinned notes that contain specific tags.

Gather notes that were created or edited in a certain date range.

Access notes that you share with particular contacts.

See notes with specific types of attachments like photos, videos, or documents.

Collect notes that contain checklists, including checked or unchecked items.

If you’re ready to set up your own Smart Folder, let’s get to it!

How to create a Smart Folder in Notes on iPhone and iPad

Launch the Notes app on your iPhone.

Select an account and tap the New Folder icon on the bottom left.

Next to Include notes matching, use the drop-down box to pick All or Any depending on if you want to match all of the filters or just a few of them.

As an example, we’ll select Shared and With Specific People. At the top, below Enabled Filters, you’ll see an option to Select People.

You’ll then see the Smart Folder in your list for you to select and view the contents.

Convert a normal folder to a Smart Folder on iPhone and iPad

Maybe you have an ordinary folder in Notes that you’d like to turn into a Smart Folder. Once you convert the folder, you’ll see all notes inside contain a tag with the folder name.

Keep in mind you cannot convert a Smart Folder to an ordinary folder, so be sure you want to change the folder type before you follow these steps.

Open a simple folder and then tap the three dots at the top.

Pick Convert to Smart Folder.

Confirm by choosing Convert at the bottom or Cancel if you change your mind.

Edit a Smart Folder on iPhone and iPad

If you’d like to change your Smart Folder, you can edit it easily. This includes folders you convert to Smart Folders.

Select the folder and tap the three dots at the top.

You can then sort or group the notes within the folder or choose Edit Smart Folder for the other changes below.

To rename the folder, simply enter the new name.

To adjust the filter(s), pick Manage Smart Folder, make your changes, and tap Done to save them.

Delete a Smart Folder on iPhone and iPad

You can remove a Smart Folder you no longer use in Notes. The notes in the folder don’t get deleted but remain in their original location(s). It’s only the Smart Folder container that’s removed.

On the main Folders screen, either slide the folder name from right to left and tap the Delete icon (trash can) or long-press the folder and pick Delete.

How to create a Smart Folder in Notes on Mac

Like on an iPhone or iPad, you can create a Smart Folder in Notes on Mac easily, albeit with a few changes.

Launch the Notes app on Mac.

Give your Smart Folder a name at the top of the pop-up box. You should see the Make into a Smart Folder box checked for you.

Convert a folder to a Smart Folder on Mac

Start with one of the following:

Select the three dots to the right of the name and pick Convert to Smart Folder.

Edit a Smart Folder on Mac

After you create a Smart Folder, you can make adjustments to it just like on iPhone and iPad. 

To change the filter(s) for the Smart Folder, pick Edit Smart Folder. Then, make your adjustments and select OK to save them.

Delete a Smart Folder on Mac

If you no longer want to use a Smart Folder you’ve created, you can delete it easily. Remember, this does not delete the folder’s notes.

Do one of the following:

Select the three dots to the right of the name and pick Delete Folder.

Work smarter with Smart Folders in Apple Notes!

The nice thing about Smart Folders in Notes, aside from quick access to the notes you want, is that it all happens without any effort. By taking a few moments to create a Smart Folder upfront, you can keep your notes organized without lifting another finger.

Over to you! Now that you know how to use a Smart Folder in Notes on iPhone, iPad, and Mac, are you going to create one, or have you already?

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With her BS in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She wanted to help others learn how technology can enrich business and personal lives and has shared her suggestions and how-tos across thousands of articles.

How To Fix Safari Not Downloading Files On Iphone, Ipad, And Mac

You may, at times, encounter an issue where Safari refuses to download photos, videos, audio, PDFs, documents, and other files from a website. In this article, we’ll explore common reasons why Safari may not be downloading files on iPhone, iPad, or Mac and provide solutions to help you get back to downloading with ease.

The issues you may be facing

File download starts, but it fails immediately in a second or two.

The download happens up to a point and then fails midway or just before completing.

The solutions below should help fix all the above issues and also ones similar to them.

Before you begin

It’s possible that you’re not following the right steps to download the file. On Mac, it’s super easy, but on iPhone and iPad, downloading files may not be as obvious. With that said, even if the file has been downloaded, you may not know where it’s saved and how to find it. So, look at these tutorials, if needed:

Retry the download

Pause and resume the download

The download may look like it has started, but it will pause or fail in a few seconds. If that happens, hit the tiny retry button a few times, and it should start the download. If not, hit the download link again on the website.

Check your internet

Make sure your iPhone, iPad, or Mac is connected to a stable Wi-Fi, Cellular Data, or Ethernet connection and the internet is working properly.

Some useful tips

Turn off VPN if you’re using one.

Restart your Wi-Fi router.

Troubleshooting internet problems

Allow the website to download files

When you try to download a file from a website for the first time, it doesn’t start immediately. Instead, you will see an alert asking your permission to allow this site to download and save files locally or not. Make sure you allow that. If you choose to block the download, follow these steps to fix it:

On iPhone and iPad: Hit the download link again on the website and tap Allow or Download when asked. If you don’t see the Allow button, clear your browser data.

Force Quit and reopen Safari

On iPhone and iPad: Swipe up from the bottom of the screen and hold or double-press the Home button to enter App Switcher. From here, drag the Safari app card all the way up to close it.

Now reopen Safari and try downloading the file again.

You may see more than one download link on a website. If one link fails to work, try the other one. Note: Sometimes, picking a different download quality (for a video, audio, or image) should do the trick.

Set Safari download location to anything other than iCloud Drive

If you have set Safari to download files to iCloud Drive, switch it to any other local storage folder using the steps below:

Stop Safari from automatically opening files after download

Restart your device

If Safari is unable to download files due to minor glitches, save your work and do a restart.

Make sure your device has sufficient free space

Clear Safari history and cache

One of the most reliable solutions to fix Safari issues is clearing its history and website data.

Try disabling a recently installed Safari extension

If you could download files earlier but can’t after installing an extension, then that extension is likely the culprit. Remove it, restart your device, and now you should have no problem downloading files.

On iPhone and iPad: Head over to this guide on installing and removing Safari extensions.

On Mac, you can update Safari from System Settings.

If you’re on an older version of macOS, consider updating to the latest version, which should improve your computer’s overall working and stability.

How To Use The Apple Freeform App On Iphone, Ipad, And Mac

When it’s time to visualize your thoughts and concepts, Apple’s Freeform whiteboard app is the ideal tool on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. This powerful productivity app lets you brainstorm on your own or share ideas with others with all the tools you need to bring your concepts to fruition.

How to Set Up Apple Freeform

To use the free Freeform whiteboard app, make sure your Apple device(s) are up to date. Your iPhone, iPad, or Mac will need to be updated to iOS 16.2, iPadOS 16.2, or macOS Ventura 13.1 or later.

On iPhone and iPad, you’ll see the app icon on your Home screen. On Mac, you’ll find it in the Applications folder or Launchpad.

When you first open the app, you’ll be asked if you want to enable iCloud Syncing. This allows you to access your boards on your other Apple devices. Select “Go to Settings” on your iPhone or iPad and open the Settings app. On Mac, open the System Settings app.

Select your Apple ID at the top. Choose “iCloud” and turn on the toggle for “Freeform.”

You may be asked to merge the local Freeform data with that on iCloud. Select “Merge” to continue.

Once you set up Freeform on your device, you’re ready to use its features.

Tip: if you are looking for a way to sign a PDF document on your Mac, the Preview app will work far more effectively than Freeform. You can even use your iPhone or iPad to transfer your signature to your Mac.

How to Create a Freeform Board

Select the Create a Board icon (pencil in a square) at the top of the app window.

When the blank board displays, you’ll see the default name of “Untitled” on the top left, which you can change. On iPhone, tap the three dots and pick “Rename.”

On iPad, tap the arrow next to the name and select “Rename.”

On Mac, select the current text and replace it with your own.

You can use the zoom option on the bottom left to increase or decrease the board space. Use the zoom drop-down box or the plus and minus buttons to pick a percentage.

Tip: learn how to zoom in and out on Mac.

How to Add Items to a Freeform Board

With Freeform, you can add all sorts of items to your board to collect and display your ideas. You can also adjust each item to fit the space, change the font, or choose a color.

The customization options are in different places on mobile and desktop. On iPhone and iPad, these options are in the item’s toolbar.

Add a Sticky Note

Select the Sticky Note icon in the toolbar to add a note to your board, then enter the text.

Drag a corner to resize the note or select it to drag it to a different spot on the board.

FYI: read on to learn of other ways to add a sticky note on Mac.

Insert a Shape

Select the Shape icon in the toolbar to include a shape on your board. You can pick from a category in the pop-up window like Basic, Geometry, Animals, Activities, and more. Alternatively, you can search for a particular shape by using the magnifying glass icon.

Drag a corner to resize the shape or select it to drag it to a different spot on the board.

Add a Text Box

Select the Text Box icon in the toolbar and add text inside it.

Drag a corner or edge to resize the text box or select it to drag and move it anywhere you would like.

Insert Photos, Videos, or Links

Select the media icon in the toolbar to add a photo, video, or link. You can also insert a scanned document, use your device camera, or on Mac, add a sketch from the Freeform app on your iPhone or iPad.

Photos: replace the image, crop it, or view it in full screen mode. You can also apply a shadow, round the corners, and lock the image in place.

Videos: replace the video or view it in full screen mode. Like photos, you can apply a shadow, add rounded corners, and lock its position.

Link: edit the link, open it in your browser, duplicate the link, or lock its position on the board.

Good to know: unsure how to edit a video on Mac? We can show you how!

Add a File

On iPhone and iPad, tap the Media icon and choose “Insert From” to add a file.

Once you locate and insert the file, select it for additional actions. You can replace the file, view it in full screen mode, lock its position, or add a description.

Use Markup

On iPhone and iPad, you’ll notice the Markup icon in the toolbar. Tap it to display the markup tools like a pen, marker, and eraser.

Using markup, you can also jot down text with your finger on iPhone or scribble with an Apple Pencil on iPad.

Other Freeform Board Options

You can also duplicate a board, make a board a favorite, hide the grid layout, export your board as a PDF, or print your entire Freeform board.

On iPhone, open the board and tap the three dots at the top, then select an action.

On iPad, tap the arrow next to the board name and choose an action.

To export or print on Mac, open a board, select “File” from the menu bar, and choose an option.

Good to know: learn how to share files between Mac and PC on your network.

How to Collaborate on a Freeform Board

If working on a board with someone else is what you need, Freeform provides you a simple way to collaborate.

Open the board and select the Share button on the top right.

Before you choose the sharing method, you can adjust the permissions at the top of the sharing pop-up window. Select “Only Invited People Can Edit.”

You’ll see access and permission settings along with an option to allow others to invite more people to the board. You’re able to adjust these settings later, too.

Choose a person to send the board to in Messages or pick an app like Mail, Slack, or another option, depending on your Share settings, to share the board.

Edit Shared Freeform Boards

After you share a board with others, you can manage the board permissions, invite others, or stop sharing the board.

Select the icon for your collaborator(s) in the top right and choose “Manage Shared Board.”

You can use the plus sign to invite more people, adjust the permissions near the bottom, and allow collaborators to add others. Additionally, you can copy a link to the board or stop sharing it with the options at the bottom of the settings.

How to Manage Your Freeform Boards

When you open Freeform each time, you’ll see All Boards front and center so that you can select one to work on. On the left side on iPad or Mac or using the arrow on iPhone, you can also choose from Recents, Shared, and Favorites. If you’ve removed boards, you’ll also see Deleted Boards that remain accessible for up to 30 days.

Tip: are your shared Freeform boards not syncing properly? It could be a network issue. Discover how to fix Mac Wi-Fi problems and dropped connections by following our guide.

Frequently Asked Questions Is there a Freeform app widget?

Unfortunately, there isn’t yet a Home screen or Notification Center Freeform widget available for iPhone, iPad, or Mac. Hopefully, this is a feature Apple introduces later.

Can I delete the Freeform app?

You can uninstall the Freeform app on iOS or iPadOS just as you can any other app. However, as of this writing, you cannot uninstall the app on macOS.

Is Freeform available on Windows?

Unfortunately, the Freeform app is not available on Windows at the time of this writing.

Image credit: Unsplash. All alterations and screenshots by Sandy Writtenhouse.

Sandy Writtenhouse

With her BS in Information Technology, Sandy worked for many years in the IT industry as a Project Manager, Department Manager, and PMO Lead. She wanted to help others learn how technology can enrich business and personal lives and has shared her suggestions and how-tos across thousands of articles.

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