How to clear google history

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If you’re an Android user, Google is ubiquitous throughout the operating system. You can access Google Now on Tap from pretty much anywhere by long-pressing the home button, jump into Google Now directly from the launcher, or say “OK Google” to use your voice from pretty much anywhere in the OS. But each time you do one of those things, it creates a new search entry in your Google History.

If you’re searching things you don’t want other people to see—Christmas gifts, for example—then this can be a problem, as the next time you open the search box, the last three items you’ve searched for will show up.

If you want to make sure your search history is your search history, there are a couple of ways to go about cleaning it up. The first method allows you to clear things up one at a time, which is nice if you only want to delete a couple of things. The second will allow you to clean up data on a much wider scale. Let’s go!

Google Chrome for Desktop

RELATED: How to Clear Your Browsing History in Google Chrome

To clear your browsing history in Chrome, on Windows, macOS, or Linux, click the three dots menu > More Tools > Clear Browsing Data. You can also press Ctrl+Shift+Delete to open this screen on Windows, or press Command+Shift+Delete on a Mac.

To delete your entire browsing history, select from “the beginning of time” in the box at the top of the screen and check the “Browsing history” option. You can also choose to clear other private data from here, including your download history, cookies, and browser cache.

Google Chrome on Android or iOS

To clear your browsing history in Google Chrome on Android or iOS, tap menu > Settings > Privacy > Clear Browsing Data.

On an Android device, you’ll need to choose how much data you want to delete at the top of the screen. Select from the “beginning of time” to clear everything. On an iPhone or iPad, Chrome will clear all your browsing data by default and won’t allow you to choose other time periods here.

Ensure the “Browsing history” option is checked here and tap the “Clear Data” or “Clear Browsing Data” button. You can also choose to clear other types of personal data from here, including cookies and cached files.

Safari on iOS

RELATED: How to Clear Your Browsing History in Safari for iOS

To clear your browsing history on Safari on an iPhone or iPad, you’ll need to visit the Settings app. Navigate to Settings > Safari > Clear History and Website Data. Tap the “Clear History and Data” option to confirm your choice.

This button will clear all sensitive browsing data, including your cookies and cache.

 

Mozilla Firefox

RELATED: How to Clear Your Browsing History in Firefox

To clear your browsing history in Firefox on the desktop, click menu > History > Clear. You can also press Ctrl+Shift+Delete to open this tool on Windows, or press Command+Shift+Delete on a Mac.

To delete your entire browsing history, select “Everything” at the top of the window and check “Browsing & Download History” in the detailed list of items to clear. You can also choose to clear other types of private data from here, including your cookies, browser cache, offline website data, and website-specific preferences.

Microsoft Edge

RELATED: How to Clear Your Browsing History in Microsoft Edge

To clear your browsing history in Microsoft Edge, click menu > Settings > Choose what to clear. You can also press Ctrl+Shift+Delete to open these options.

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Ensure the “Browsing history” box is checked and click “Clear”. You can also choose to clear other types of private data from here, including your download history, cached data, cookies, and tabs you’ve set aside. Just check the type of data you want to delete and click the “Clear” button.

Safari on a Mac

RELATED: How to Clear Safari’s Browsing History and Cookies on OS X

To clear your browsing history in Safari on a Mac, click History > Clear History in Safari. Select the time period you want to clear history from and click “Clear History. To clear everything, select “all history”.

Safari will delete your browsing history as well as your cookies, cached files, and other browsing-related data.

Internet Explorer

RELATED: How to Clear Your Internet Explorer Browsing History

To clear your browsing history in Internet Explorer, click menu > Safety > Delete Browsing History or press Ctrl+Shift+Delete.

Ensure the “History” option is checked here and click “Delete”. You can also choose to delete other types of private data from here, including your temporary Internet files, download history, and cookies.

By default, Internet Explorer will keep cookies and temporary Internet files for websites you’ve saved as favorites. Uncheck “Preserve Favorites website data” here to ensure Internet Explorer deletes everything.

If you’re using another browser, you should be able to easily find a “clear browsing history” option somewhere in its menus or on its settings screen. For example, in Opera, this option is at menu > More tools > Clear browsing data.

Should you delete Google browser history and search data?

We understand a company knowing so much about you can be concerning. It can be assumed some of you would want to delete Google history due to privacy concerns. We can see why! Taking a quick look at my history, I can see they have my whole browsing, location, app, YouTube and device information, among other things.

But while clearing your Google history may help you sleep better at night, it will also aggravate your online experience during your waking hours. This is because Google uses all this data to make things more convenient for you.

delete google history

Have you ever gotten a Google Now traffic notification before heading to work? Or seen your plane ticket information being pulled from an email? Does Google Maps know where you work and live, making it easier to navigate? All of that may be gone. Even simple things like search recommendations will become less accurate.

And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. All Google services work together to make your usage as seamless and convenient as possible. But the truth is they probably do also use your data for things you won’t like so much. It’s up to you whether you want to sacrifice convenience for privacy.

How to look at your Google data

Taking a look at everything Google knows about you is pretty simple. All you have to do is go to Google’s history page. If you are signed into your Google account, you will be presented with all your information.

google-web-app-history

There are multiple sections in this page:

  • Web & App History
  • Voice & Audio Activity
  • Device Information
  • Location History
  • YouTube Watch History
  • YouTube Search History
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Look through them — there’s actually pretty interesting stuff in there. I love looking at my location history, for example. Google seriously knows where you have been at all times. It’s interesting to look at the maps with all your locations… but it is also a bit freaky.

Note: When taking a look at disabling or deleting your history, keep in mind the sections listed above are treated differently. If you want to delete ALL your history, you must repeat the process for each one of them. This means you must delete data from the Web & App History, then delete it from the Voice & Audio Activity and so on. 

How to disable your Google history

Maybe you don’t want to delete your history forever. You just want it to stay inactive for a while, then reactivate it to keep enjoying everything Google has to offer. If this is the case, you can simply disable it and be on your way.

  • Go to your Google history page from any browser.
  • Click on the data section you want disabled. (e.g. Location History).
  • Select the 3-dot menu button located on the top-right corner of the page.
  • Select “Settings.”
  • You will find a switch next to “Your searches and browsing activity.” Toggle it off.
  • You will get a warning telling you some information about what this action may cause.
  • Select “Pause” if you still want to go through with this.
  • Repeat the process for each of the history sections you want to disable. Or from any of the Settings pages, select “SHOW MORE CONTROLS” and toggle them all off.

activity controls

How to delete Google history

Now, if you are sure of what you are doing and really want it all gone, here are the necessary steps for deleting all your Google data.

  • Go to the Google history page from any browser.
  • Click on the data section you want disabled. (e.g. Location History).
  • Select the 3-dot menu button located on the top-right corner of the page.
  • Select “Delete options.”
  • You can pick whether you want to delete data from today or yesterday. Selecting “Advanced” will allow you to delete the past four weeks of activity. But if you really want every single trace of information to disappear you can choose “All time.”
  • Make your selection and click “Delete.”
  • Confirm your selection.
  • Repeat the process for each of the history sections you want to delete.

delete-google

How to Clear History on Safari

  1. Open Safari browser.
  2. Go to Menu → Safari → Clear History.

clear searches on Safari

  1. Select the period for which you want to clear history and click “Clear History.”

clearing cookiesFor higher security you should also clear cache files manually.  By the way, clearing the cache has a great bonus – websites will “forget” that you have visited them and will stop showing you retargeting ads.

Delete Google Search History and Cache

  1. Open Google Chrome browser.
  2. Go to Menu → Chrome → Clear Browsing Data.

google search history

  1. Select the period and items you want to clear (history, caches, passwords, cookies and others) and click “Clear Browsing Data.”

google history delete

How to clear caches of any browser or application with Clear Disk

  1. Download Clear Disk from the App Store.
  2. Launch the application and scan caches.
  3. Select caches of the browsers or individual apps or click “Select All”.
  4. Click “Clean” button.
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So what exactly Google knows about you?

If you could hack one of those servers, you would see incredible amounts of information the company has been collecting about it’s users since 2000. Google actually doesn’t keep this data collection a secret, but they don’t walk around announcing it loudly either. This is why it’s important to be aware of what data it collects and take control into your own hands.

GOOGLE KNOWS WHO YOU ARE:

  • your gender
  • name and surname
  • email address and password
  • your birthday
  • phone number and country

IT SEES WHAT YOU DO ONLINE:

  • each page that you visit
  • all the ads you click on
  • what you search (including voice searches)
  • your IP address and cookie info
  • your physical location
  • videos you watch
  • photos and video content you upload
  • emails you send and receive (if you use Gmail)
  • events you attend
  • files you create and save on your Google Drive

AND THERE’S SO MUCH MORE

Including your plans, future trips, purchases, interests and likes because all this information is carefully combined to build a complete profile about you.

While the company claims that all this information is needed to offer you a better service (and it is difficult to disagree with that), it still feels that we are giving away too much of our personal details. No wonder you are thinking about getting rid of your whole online history!

One important note before you start

Remember that once you choose to delete your activity records, there is no way back and you won’t be able to restore them. So before you start, it may be a good idea to export and download a copy of your data just in case you ever need it.

To make a backup of your information, visit Google’s takeout page and complete these steps:

1.Read through the list and mark which products (calendars, maps, tasks, bookmarks, etc.) you want to download.

2.Choose the type of the archive, your preferred delivery method (email, Google Drive, Dropbox or oneDrive) and click “Create archive”.

3.You will receive a link that you can use to access and download your archive.

Voila! Now that you have downloaded all the information you need, let’s proceed with removing it from Google’s memory.

Deleting Google search query history items singularly

If you just searched for one thing, and you really don’t want to go through all the steps above to delete just one search query, you’ll be happy to know Google has you covered.

If you simply go to the Google search bar at the top of a Google search page and you begin the search a second time, you’ll see your query appear in bold purple color, which indicates you’ve searched for it recently. Just to the right of that is a Remove button; click it:

Remove one specific item

After you click on the Remove button, your search query is removed from your Web search history.

Also read:

Now that you know how to remove searches from your Google search query history, you can keep family members from knowing what you’re Googling as gift ideas, or however else you plan to use this feature.

If you found this tutorial helpful, let us know in the comments below.

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