iOS 5 Disables Cookies & Breaks Loads of Sites

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  • December 5, 2011

A little known feature of the latest iOS 5 software for the iPhone is that it disables cookies by default. I wasn’t aware of this until yesterday when I tried to book a hotel and was trying to browse three of the largest travel websites – Premier Inn, Late Rooms and Travelodge and none of them were working.

All these sites detect your user agent, set a cookie and then display the mobile version of the site. In iOS 5 this results in a redirect loop which I only fixed by enabling cookies in the settings, something that most users wouldn’t know they needed to do.

I’m guessing that there are thousands of sites out there that suddenly are seeing very low conversion rates from iOS 5 users. Certainly any sites that rely on cookies need to figure out a new way of working with iPhones.

This just goes to show the importance of a weekly reporting system that shows traffic and conversion rates for different browsers & operating systems.

There are loads of threads on various forums from users saying they can’t login to services after the iOS 5 update.

Patrick Altoft

About Patrick Altoft

Patrick is the Director of Strategy at Branded3 and has spent the last 11 years working on the SEO strategies of some of the UK's largest brands. Patrick’s SEO knowledge and experience is highly regarded by many, and he’s regularly invited to speak at the world’s biggest search conferences and events.

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