I’m not sure how it happened, but over time my web browser has accumulated all sorts of bad autofill data.
The big promise of autofill is that you can fill out online forms with one click, but too many times I’ve had to go back and fix mistakes made with autofill. Phone numbers were displayed incorrectly because the browser tried to add an unnecessary country code. Company information would be filled out for personal transactions. And I always had to choose between several formatting options for my mailing address.
Worse, the autofill sometimes swapped out my real email address after I’d already typed a masked email with Abine Blur. As a solution, I finally gave up and filed for auto-fill bankruptcy. That said, I dug into my browser’s settings, cleared all of the browser’s form-fill data, and then started over.
If you’ve ever been annoyed by autofill annoyances in Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, or any other web browser, I strongly encourage you to do the same.
Table of Contents
Manage your browser’s autofill data
How to clear autofill data for any major web browser:
Google Chrome: Under you can delete addresses individually Settings > Autofill > Addresses and more. Or follow the steps below to delete them in bulk:
Go to Settings > Privacy and security > Clear browsing data > Advanced.
Select “All Time”
Uncheck all fields except “Automatically fill in form data” and then click on “Clear data”.
Enter the new form information under again Settings > Autofill.
Go to Settings > Privacy, search and service
Under the “Clear browsing data” heading, select “Choose what to clear.”
Select “All Time” from the drop-down menu.
Uncheck all options except “Automatically fill in form data” and click “Clear Now”.
Re-enter your information below Settings > Profiles > Personal data.
Go to Options > Privacy & Security > Forms & Autofill > Saved Addresses
Safari: For the Mac users out there, Safari’s autofill is always linked to your personal information in the Contacts app. To change this information, go to Safari > Preferences > Autofilland then click Edit under Use information from my contacts.
In my case, I left the email field blank while re-entering new form information. This way I can use Abine Blur to generate a forwarding email address while signing up for new services and keep my actual email address private.
How to manage automatically filled credit card information
In addition to automatically filling in your name, address, and other personal information, most web browsers can also store credit card information to facilitate checkout.
But depending on which browser you use, this information can be made available to other people who have access to your computer. I suggest you take a few minutes to ensure this information is current and secure.
Google Chrome: Manage your payment methods at Settings > Autofill > Payment Methods, but note that anyone else using your computer can view any credit card information that isn’t stored with Google Pay. Visit the Google Pay website to set up payments that are stored online instead of locally in the browser.
Microsoft Edge: Go to Settings > Profiles > Payment Information. You must enter your Windows PIN to view saved cards or make payments.
fire fox: look below Settings > Privacy & security, then select Saved Credit Cards under Forms and Autofill. To protect this information from other users of your computer, check the “Require Windows/MacOS Authentication” box below it.
Safari: Go to Safari > Preferences > Autofill and click Edit next to Credit Cards. You must enter your Mac password to view or edit this data.
Browser vs. Autofill Password Manager
I started thinking about this whole issue after hearing from a reader who was struggling with the form filling features in Bitwarden, the password manager that we recommend if you’re looking for a powerful free password manager. While he was happy with Bitwarden’s core password management features, he had trouble getting Bitwarden to correctly fill in other information like addresses.
Personally, I’m much happier to separate these two functions, with the password manager handling passwords and the browser handling other types of information. Most browsers allow me to enter personal information via a popup that appears just above the form. In contrast, Bitwarden requires you to click the expand button and then click your ID, which feels slower and clunkier.
Jared Newman / Foundry
However, password managers can store other types of personal information that your browser cannot store, such as B. Social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, and secondary phone numbers. If you need to fill out this information on a regular basis, it may be worth exploring your password manager’s form-filling features. For credit card information, password managers can also enter the verification code on the back of the card, while browsers avoid storing this information for security reasons.
Setting up these little shortcuts requires some upfront work, which is probably why I ignored my own autofill issues for so long. But like every little annoyance in life, eventually I had enough to do something about it. Maybe this story will inspire you too.