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Why You Should Stop Hitting Autocomplete to Fill Web Forms


" might have just provided that website with your full address..."

You know the drill. You get to a web form -- the kind that requires you to begin filling in your name and other information so you can get some sort of service -- and you hit the autocomplete option that pops up as your browser recognizes you are typing your name.

It's faster, yes, but the founder of a website optimization company called Yoast is telling people to not only avoid doing clicking this button but to turn off the feature all together.

Joost de Valk gave his readers the opportunity to learn why for themselves.

"This test URL will show you why quicker than I can explain it in words," he wrote on his website.

autofill If an option to autocomplete shows up when you began typing your name into this field, you likely have autofill settings allowing this information to be shared. (Image source: Yoast screenshot)

Did you do it? The URL de Valk directed readers to asks them to begin typing their name into a field and allow the autocomplete function. If you have autocomplete allowed on your browsers, clicking it in this case likely brought up your home address and perhaps even other information.

"If you’re using autocomplete to, for instance, sign up for an email newsletter, you might have just provided that website with your full address and/or (even worse) your credit card details too," de Valk wrote. "It’s as simple as adding the fields to the form and hiding them from the user."

Basically, de Valk is saying even though there was only a field for a name in his autocomplete form there were hidden fields that could pick up other information that you've allowed to autocomplete.

You can check your browser settings to see if you've allowed an autofill option.

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