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How to Delete Your Google Search History Forever in 2024

Kelvin Kiogora Updated on 17th January 2024 Fact-checked by Aleksandra Kovacevic Cybersecurity Researcher

Google records your online activities to personalize your experience and offer relevant search results and ads. While this can be helpful, it also raises privacy concerns.

Thankfully, you can delete your Google search history in a few easy steps. You can delete your searches on your browser or clear it entirely from your Google account history. However, when you visit the “delete history" page in Google, your internet service provider (ISP) may know. If you want to protect your privacy, taking some precautions is important.

Quick Guide: How to Delete Google Searches in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Log into your Google account. Open your web browser and sign in to the Google account that has the searches you want to delete.
  2. Access your searches. Navigate to Manage your Google account > Data & Privacy > My Activity. The process is similar for all devices: iPhone, Android phone, tablet, MacBook, Chromebook, desktop PC, and laptop.
  3. Delete your history. Above your activity, click Delete > All time > Next > Delete. You can also delete activity from a specific time range: last hour, last day, all time, or a custom range.

Pro Tip: Use a VPN to Keep Your Online Activity Private

Even after deleting your history, Google still retains large amounts of data relating to your searches on its servers. While you can’t stop Google from harvesting your information, you can keep sites from collecting data in the first place.

A VPN is an easy-to-use app that prevents tracking by hiding your IP address and encrypting your traffic from end to end. The sites you visit can’t see your online identity, so they can’t use it to collect your data, like browsing habits.

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How to Delete Your Google Search History on Any Device

To clear your search and browsing history from Google servers, you must do so from your Google account. Below are the detailed steps to clear your history in any or all Google services.

This process works the same on all devices. Remember that if you sync your Google account on several devices, deleting the history from one will delete it from all other devices.

  1. Access your Google account settings. Click on your profile picture or initials in the top-right corner of the Google homepage, then click Manage your Google Account on the dropdown menu. This will take you to your Google Account settings page. Screenshot showing how to access the Google account settings pageThis will take you to your Google Account settings page.
  2. Go to Data & Privacy. On the Google Account settings page, click Data & Privacy in the left-hand menu. Screenshot of the Google account management pageThis page lets you control various aspects of your Google account data.
  3. Find My Activity. Scroll down until you find the History Settings section, then click My Activity. Screenshot of the Data and Privacy page in Google's account management settingsThe “My Activity” tab lets you review and delete your search and browsing history
  4. Delete individual searches. You can also delete specific search items if you don't want them to mess up your usual Google results. Screenshot of the Google's You can use the search bar to find specific activities
  5. Delete all search history. To delete your entire search history, click on the 3 vertical dots on the right side of the Search your activity bar, then in the drop-down menu, select Delete activity by. Screenshot showing how to initiate the search history deletion process on your Google accountYou can use the “Help & Feedback” option for assistance if you get stuck
  6. Choose a time range. You can also choose to delete your search history for different time ranges, such as the past hour, past day, or all time. Screenshot showing the available filters when deleting your Google search historyChoose “All time” to delete your entire search history
  7. Choose the activities you want to delete. Use the checkboxes to choose the specific Google services whose history you want to delete. If you wish to clear history from all, choose Select all. Alternatively, you can delete the activity from specific Google products. When you're done, click Next. Screenshot showing the product selection pop-up when deleting your Google search historySelect carefully, as deleted activity can’t be restored
  8. Confirm and delete. Click Delete to permanently clear all of your saved search history. Google will process your request, and once completed, you'll see a confirmation message that your web and app activity has been deleted. Screenshot showing the confirmation page when deleting your Google search historyIt might take a minute or two to delete all your searches
  9. Verify deletion. To verify that your search history has been deleted, you can return to the My Activity section under History Settings and ensure it's empty or only contains recent searches made after the deletion.

That's it. You've successfully deleted your Google search history from your Google account. Remember that any new searches you make will be recorded unless you disable this feature in your Web & App Activity settings.

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Deleting Your Browser History and Recent Searches on Google

Besides clearing your search history on your Google account, erasing your browser history is another great way to keep your online activities private. This is especially important if you frequently use shared or public devices.

While the Chrome interface might vary slightly depending on the device, the steps are the same on Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS.

  1. Open Google Chrome. Launch the Google Chrome browser on your computer. Ensure you're using the profile where you want to delete the browsing history and recent searches.
  2. Access the Chrome menu. In the top-right corner of the browser window, you'll find three vertical dots, which represent the Chrome menu. Click on these dots to open the menu.

    Screenshot showing how to access the options menu on Google ChromeThe process is pretty similar on other browsers like Firefox, Chrome, and Edge

  3. View your browsing history. Hover your cursor over the History option in the dropdown menu. This will open a submenu. Click on History in the submenu.

    Screenshot showing how to access the history tab on Google ChromeUse Incognito mode to prevent your browser from saving your search history

  4. Delete specific history items. On the History page, you will see a list of your browsing history, organized by date. To delete individual items, click on the 3 vertical dots next to each entry and select Remove from history.

    Screenshot showing how to delete individual browser history items on Google ChromeYou can also check multiple history items and batch-delete

  5. Clear entire browsing data. If you want to delete your entire browsing history, you’ll find this option on the left-hand side of the page.

    Screenshot showing how to delete your entire browsing history on Google ChromeYou can also clear browser history by going to “settings” and then “Privacy and security”

  6. Choose a time range. In the Clear browsing data window that appears, you can choose a time range for the data you want to delete. The options are Last hour, Last 24 hours, Last 7 days, and All time.

    Screenshot showing the available time range options for deleting your browser history on Google ChromeSelect “All time” to clear your entire browser history

  7. Select what to clear. You can choose what types of data to clear. Make sure the Browsing history option is checked. You can also select other data types to clear, such as cookies, cached images and files, passwords, autofill form data, and more.

    Screenshot showing the types of browsing data you can delete on Google ChromeSelecting “Cookies and other site data” will sign you out of all logged-in accounts

  8. Confirm and clear data. After selecting your preferences, click the Clear data button at the bottom of the window. Google Chrome will process your request, and once completed, you'll see a confirmation message that your browsing data has been cleared.

Keep in mind that this process only clears the browsing history on the specific device you're using. If you want to clear your history on other devices where you use Chrome, you'll need to repeat this process on each device separately.

More Ways to Keep Your Searches and Browsing Activities Private

Once you’ve deleted your Google search and browser history, it’s a good idea to take extra precautions to safeguard your personal information and online privacy. Here are several ways to keep your new searches private.

  • Use a private search engine. Consider using search engines that prioritize user privacy, such as DuckDuckGo or Startpage. These search engines don't track your searches or store your personal information. Some search engines offer encrypted search options that use HTTPS to encrypt your search queries, making it harder for third parties to intercept them.
  • Use Incognito or Private Browsing mode. Most web browsers offer private browsing modes (e.g., Chrome's Incognito mode, Firefox's Private Browsing, Safari's Private Browsing) that prevent the browser from saving your search history, cookies, or login information.
  • Try a privacy-focused browser. Consider using web browsers designed with privacy in mind, such as Brave. These browsers have built-in features and extensions that enhance privacy.
  • Install a VPN. A VPN encrypts your internet traffic, making it difficult for third parties like your ISP and websites you visit to track your online activities, including your searches. It also masks your IP address, so websites can’t use it to track what you do online.
  • Adjust Google account privacy settings. Sign in to your Google account and visit the Privacy & Personalization settings. Here, you can configure various privacy options, such as pausing location history and disabling web and app activity tracking.
  • Disable predictive search and autocomplete. Turn off Google's predictive search and autocomplete features. These features remember your search history and suggest search terms based on your past queries.
  • Use a secure DNS service. Configure your device to use a secure DNS service, such as DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH). This prevents third parties from monitoring your DNS requests, which can reveal information about your searches.
  • Review app permissions. Review and limit permissions for mobile apps with access to your device's location or browsing history. Only grant permissions that are necessary for the app's functionality.
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Why Does Google Store Your History?

Google collects your search history primarily to personalize your online experience. By analyzing your past searches and website visits, Google can tailor its search results, recommendations, and content suggestions to match your interests and preferences better. This enhances your experience by providing more relevant and useful information.

Google also uses your search history for advertising purposes. By tracking your search history and online behavior, they can deliver more relevant ads, which benefits advertisers and supports its free service model.

While these practices improve your online experience, they also raise privacy concerns. To protect yourself from potential threats, you’ll want to limit the amount of data you leave exposed online.

Controlling Your Activity Storage

Deleting your Google search history doesn’t mean Google will stop recording your future searches. Thankfully, you can limit what data the search giant collects about your online activities. Here’s a step-by-step process on how to do this.

  1. Go to the activity controls page. In your Google Account settings page, go to Data & Privacy, scroll to History Settings, click on My Activity to find the Activity Controls tab on the left-hand side.

    Screenshot showing the My Google Activity pageThis takes you to a page that lets you define how Google collects your data

  2. Turn off tracking. Click on the drop-down menu under Web & App Activity to turn off tracking for the specified Google services. You also have the option to turn off tracking and delete any data associated with these services.

    Screenshot showing the Google Web & App Activity control pageYou also have the option to turn off tracking and delete previous history

  3. Confirm your choice. A confirmation dialog will appear explaining the consequences of pausing this activity. Read through it to understand the implications, and click on Got it to confirm your choice.

    Screenshot showing the confirmation page for Google activity tracking settingsYou also have the option to turn tracking back on at this point

  4. Additional controls (optional). You may also want to review and adjust other settings, such as location history, YouTube history, and device information, to further control the data Google collects. Simply use the Turn off button to stop tracking for any of these services.

Downloading Your Google Archive

Besides deleting your history, Google lets you download an archive containing all data it has about you from various services like Gmail, Drive, Photos, and more. The search giant provides a tool called Google Takeout for this purpose.

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to download your Google archive.

  1. Open Google Takeout. Go to takeout.google.com and sign in to your Google account if you're not already signed in.
  2. Select the data to include in your archive. You'll see a list of Google services and products on the Google Takeout page, each with a corresponding checkbox. To select the data you want to include in your archive, click the Deselect All button at the top to uncheck all services. Then, scroll down and individually check the boxes next to the services for which you want to download data.

    Screenshot showing the Google Takeout homepageYou can click on a service to customize which specific data you want to include

  3. Choose the archive format and delivery method. After selecting the data you want, scroll down to the bottom of the page and select the preferred file format and size for your archive. Next, select how you want to receive the download link for your archive.

    Screenshot showing available options for downloading your Google archiveAvailable delivery options include email, Drive, Dropbox, OneDrive, and Box

  4. Create archive. After making your selections, click the Create export button at the bottom of the page. Google will begin preparing your archive.

    Screenshot showing the final step for downloading your Google archiveThis process might take some time, depending on the amount of data you've selected

  5. Download your archive. When your archive is ready, you will receive an email notification (if you selected the email delivery method). Alternatively, you can check the Archives section on the Google Takeout page. Click the provided link to download your archive to your computer or the specified cloud storage location.

How to Set up Auto-Delete for Your Google Search History

If you don’t want your search history to accumulate indefinitely, Google provides an option to automatically delete this data after a specified time. Here’s how to set up this option.

  1. Go to your activity controls page. Go to Data & Privacy, scroll to History Settings, click on My Activity, then find Activity controls.
  2. Turn on the auto-delete option. Scroll to Web & App Activity and click on the arrow next to Choose an auto-delete option.

    Screenshot showing the Google search history auto-delete optionYour data will be routinely cleared as per your settings

  3. Choose the auto-delete period. In the pop-up window, you'll see several options for auto-deletion periods. Select the period that suits your preferences.

    Screenshot showing the available time ranges for Google search history auto-delete optionGoogle provides some FAQs to help you choose the best auto-delete option for you

  4. Confirm the auto-delete setting. After selecting your preferred auto-delete period, click Next. Google will provide information about what will be deleted based on your selection. Click Confirm to save your auto-delete settings.

    Screenshot showing the preferences confirmation page for Google search history auto-delete optionReview your new preferences before clicking the confirm button

Best VPNs to Use With Google Search in 2024

  1. ExpressVPN — Keeps your browsing private with an independently audited no-logs policy and RAM-only servers. Its headquarters are in the British Virgin Islands, which isn’t part of any intelligence-sharing alliance. It also has a 30-day money-back guarantee.
  2. CyberGhost — User-friendly VPN with a kill switch and IP/DNS leak protection makes it easy to keep your online activities secure.
  3. Private Internet Access — Customizable settings for fast and private browsing, plus it blocks ads and trackers.

FAQs on Deleting Your Google Search History

How do I find my Google Search history?

The process of viewing your browser history is similar on most devices, including computers and phones. Go to your Google account settings by clicking on your Google profile photo, then click Manage your Google Account. Click Data & Privacy. Scroll down to History settings, and click My Activity. You’ll find your Google history organized by date and time.

How do I delete my Google search history on Safari?

  • Open your Safari browser. On the taskbar at the top of the screen, click the word History.
  • Click Clear history at the bottom of the drop-down menu.
  • Choose what you want to delete. Select the range of stored searches you wish to delete: the last hour, today, today, yesterday, or all history.
  • Click Clear History. Your search history is now deleted.

Why does my Google search history keep deleting itself?

This happens when you’ve turned on the auto-delete option on your account, which is usually switched off by default. To configure your auto-delete settings, go to My Activity, select Activity controls, and scroll to Web & App Activity. Click on the arrow next to auto-delete, and click Don’t auto-delete activity in the pop-up window.

Why can't I delete my search history on Google?

This happens when you clear your browser history instead of clearing your search history in your Google account. When you clear your browser history, you only delete the data stored locally on your device, but your history is still saved in your Google account. To permanently clear your Google search history, you have to delete it from your Google account.

How long does Google keep my search history?

Google retains your search history for a default period of 18 months. However, you can change the length of time you want Google to keep your data by adjusting your auto-delete settings. You also have the option to limit the amount of data Google collects about you.

Does Google permanently delete my search history?

If you delete your Google history from your account, it’s no longer visible. However, Google may retain anonymized search data for purposes such as improving its services, conducting research, and analyzing trends. The best way to stop Google from storing data on its servers is to turn off activity tracking on your account.

That said, the anonymized data Google retains is typically not tied to your user account and cannot be used to identify you.

What happens if you delete your search history?

Clearing your browser search history deletes all the data associated with your account. This includes your browser history (web addresses, cookies, site data, handlers, and more), autofill form data, download history, content settings, and passwords. Deleting your search history from one device will automatically delete it from all the other synced devices.

Will deleting Google Search history delete my Google account?

No, deleting your Google search history will not delete your entire Google account. When you delete your Google search history, you only remove the record of your past search queries and web activity from your account. It doesn’t impact your access to other Google services, your email, your files on Google Drive, or any other data associated with your Google account.

How often should you delete your Google Search history?

This majorly depends on your personal preferences and privacy concerns. If you are highly concerned about your online privacy, you can choose to delete it more frequently. Google has an auto-deletion option for your search history, which lets you specify how often you want your data to be automatically deleted. You can choose between 3 months, 18 months, or custom timeframes.

Can you recover your Google Search history after deleting it?

No, you can’t recover your Google Search history if you have deleted it. However, to make sure your photos and files are safe, you can download Google Archive with data from various services like Gmail, Drive, and Photos.Google doesn’t provide a recovery or backup feature for your search history once it’s been deleted, though, so you need to be cautious.

Conclusion

Deleting your Google search history is a great way to take control of your online privacy in an increasingly digitized world. Whatever your reasons for doing it, you can clear your Google search history on any device in just a few minutes.

You can also decide the data Google collects about you by limiting the apps that track your activities or setting up auto-delete for your search history. However, you should also remember that Google uses your search history to personalize your results, so deleting them might affect your online experience.

Privacy Alert!

Your data is exposed to the websites you visit!

Your IP Address:

Your Location:

Your Internet Provider:

The information above can be used to track you, target you for ads, and monitor what you do online.

VPNs can help you hide this information from websites so that you are protected at all times. We recommend ExpressVPN — the #1 VPN out of over 350 providers we've tested. It has military-grade encryption and privacy features that will ensure your digital security, plus — it's currently offering 49% off.

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We review vendors based on rigorous testing and research but also take into account your feedback and our affiliate commission with providers. Some providers are owned by our parent company.
Learn more
vpnMentor was established in 2014 as an independent site reviewing VPN services and covering privacy-related stories. Today, our team of hundreds of cybersecurity researchers, writers, and editors continues to help readers fight for their online freedom in partnership with Kape Technologies PLC, which also owns the following products: ExpressVPN, CyberGhost, and Private Internet Access which may be ranked and reviewed on this website. The reviews published on vpnMentor are believed to be accurate as of the date of each article, and written according to our strict reviewing standards that prioritize the independent, professional and honest examination of the reviewer, taking into account the technical capabilities and qualities of the product together with its commercial value for users. The rankings and reviews we publish may also take into consideration the common ownership mentioned above, and affiliate commissions we earn for purchases through links on our website. We do not review all VPN providers and information is believed to be accurate as of the date of each article.

About the Author

Kelvin is a writer and cyber-safety researcher at vpnMentor, whose expertise in the latest online security tools aids readers in keeping them safe from hackers and online snoops.

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