How to clear your Google search history from your Google Account and on various web browsers

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How to clear your Google search history from your Google Account and on various web browsers
Alistair Berg/Getty Images
  • You should clear your Google search history both from your Google Account and on various web browsers.
  • You can quickly clear your Google search history from desktop browsers as well as from a mobile device with these steps.
  • By adjusting the settings of your Google account, you can dictate what type of search data Google will maintain in the first place.
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When you delete your Google search history, you remove all sorts of information that could potentially be used by shady characters. Beyond the funny videos, news stories, trivia, and other content, think of how many times you have searched for an address, a phone number, information about an employer, and other data that could help a hacker steal your identity, find you in person, or other unwanted outcomes.

From your Google Account settings, you can also control the types of searches Google saves in the first place.

Note: Google as a company will still maintain data on much of your search history, logging how often you search for certain topics, for example. While perhaps disquieting, at least know that any data they maintain even after you delete your search history will never be openly displayed on your computer or mobile device.

Here's how to clear your Google search history from your Google Account and on web browsers like Safari and Google Chrome.

How to clear your Google search history from your Google Account on a computer

To fully delete your Google search history, you need to do so directly from your Google Account. Simply clearing your browser history won't erase all the info that Google tracks and saves to your account. Here's how to delete past search history and future search history from your Google Account.

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To delete past Google search history:

1. Open up any browser, go to Google.com, and log into your account.

2. Once signed in, click the Google apps icon in the top-right corner of the Google homepage. The icon looks like a square mosaic containing 9 small squares.

How to clear your Google search history from your Google Account and on various web browsers
Click the mosaic icon in the upper right corner. Grace Eliza Goodwin/Business Insider

3. In the drop-down menu, click Account.

How to clear your Google search history from your Google Account and on various web browsers
Click "Account." Grace Eliza Goodwin/Business Insider

4. Click Data & privacy from the sidebar menu on the left side of the screen.

Quick tip: You can also click Manage your data & privacy in the Privacy & personalization tile in the center of the page, which will take you to the same screen as clicking the Data & privacy tab.

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How to clear your Google search history from your Google Account and on various web browsers
Click the "Data & privacy" tab on the left side. Grace Eliza Goodwin/Insider

5. At the bottom of the History settings section, click My activity.

How to clear your Google search history from your Google Account and on various web browsers
Select "My activity" to view all your saved activity. Grace Eliza Goodwin/Insider

6. To delete search activity one by one, click the "X" icon in the top-right corner of the activity listing, and select Delete in the pop-up.

How to clear your Google search history from your Google Account and on various web browsers
Click the "X" icon above the listing you want to delete. Grace Eliza Goodwin/Insider

7. To delete multiple or all search history at once, click the Delete button, located underneath the searchbar.

How to clear your Google search history from your Google Account and on various web browsers
Click "Delete." Grace Eliza Goodwin/Business Insider

8. In the pop-up, you can choose what content you want to delete: Last hour, Last day, Always, or Custom range.

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To turn off Google's ability to track your future search history:

1. Open up any browser, go to Google.com, and log into your account.

2. Once signed in, click the Google apps icon in the top-right corner of the Google homepage. The icon looks like a square mosaic containing 9 small squares.

3. In the drop-down menu, click Account.

4. Click Data & privacy from the sidebar menu on the left side of the screen.

5. In the History settings section, click Web & App Activity.

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6. At the top of the next page, click the blue sliding bar beside Web & App Activity to turn off tracking.

How to clear your Google search history from your Google Account and on various web browsers
Click the blue sliding button. Grace Eliza Goodwin/Business Insider

7. In the pop-up, scroll to the bottom of the page, and click "Pause."

How to clear your Google search history from your Google Account and on various web browsers
Click "Pause." Grace Eliza Goodwin/Business Insider

Now the sliding bar beside Web & App Activity should be greyed out, instead of blue.

8. You can also turn off your Location History and YouTube History. Return to the Data & privacy page and, underneath the Web & App Activity option, click Location History or YouTube History. Follow the same process above to click the blue sliding bar on each respective page to turn off tracking.

How to delete your Google search history from your Google Account on a mobile device

1. Go to Google.com in your mobile browser and make sure you're logged in to your Google account.

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2. Tap the three horizontal lines at the top-left of the Google homepage.

How to clear your Google search history from your Google Account and on various web browsers
Tap the three-line dropdown menu. Steven John/Business Insider

3. Tap the words Your data in Search.

How to clear your Google search history from your Google Account and on various web browsers
Tap "Your data in Search." Steven John/Business Insider

4. On the next page, scroll to the bottom of the Your Search history section and select Manage your Search history.

How to clear your Google search history from your Google Account and on various web browsers
Select "Manage your Search history." Grace Eliza Goodwin/Insider

5. On the next screen, you can delete activity listings one by one by tapping the "X" icon in the top-right corner of each listing. To mass delete your search activity, tap the blue Delete button at the top of your search history. In the pop-up, you can choose to Delete today, Delete custom range, Delete all time, or turn on Auto-delete.

How to clear your Google search history from your Google Account and on various web browsers
Tap "Delete" and choose how much you want to delete. Grace Eliza Goodwin/Insider

How to delete your browser search history on a computer

For added security and privacy, you can also delete your browser history, which will include any Google searches tracked directly through your browser.

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On Safari:

1. Start by opening up the Safari browser. On the task bar at the top of the screen, click the word History.

How to clear your Google search history from your Google Account and on various web browsers
Hover over Safari's "History" at the top left corner of your screen. Steven John/Business Insider

2. At the bottom of the drop-down menu, hit Clear History.

How to clear your Google search history from your Google Account and on various web browsers
Steven John/Business Insider

3. Select the range of stored searches you wish to delete: the last hour, today, today and yesterday, or all history.

How to clear your Google search history from your Google Account and on various web browsers
Select a timeframe and click "Clear History." Steven John/Business Insider

4. Click Clear History.

On Google Chrome:

1. Start by opening up the Chrome browser, and at the task bar at the top of the screen, click History.

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2. Click Show Full History in the drop-down menu.

How to clear your Google search history from your Google Account and on various web browsers
Click "Show Full History." Steven John/Business Insider

3. In the web page that opens up, click Clear browsing data on the left side of the screen.

How to clear your Google search history from your Google Account and on various web browsers
Click "Clear Browsing Data." Steven John/Business Insider

4. On the next screen, select from the Time Range menu how much of your search history you wish to expunge, and make sure to note the boxes below that allow you to customize what you remove, from browsing history to cookies to cached images.

How to clear your Google search history from your Google Account and on various web browsers
Choose the range of history you'd like to delete, along with options for clearing cookies and cached data. Steven John/Business Insider
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