How to Delete Your Google Search History Forever in 2023
- Quick Guide: How to Remove Google Searches in 3 Easy Steps
- Deleting Your Browser History and Clear Recent Searches on Google
- How to Delete Google Search History on Phone, Computer, and More
- Controlling Your Activity Storage
- Why Does Google Store Your History?
- Best VPNs to Use With Google Search
- ExpressVPN — Keeps Your Browsing Data Private With an Independently Audited No-Logs Policy
- CyberGhost — User-Friendly to Easily Keep Your Online Activities Private
- Private Internet Access — Customizable Settings for Fast and Secure Browsing
- Downloading Your Google Archive
- Other Ways to Keep Your Online Searches Private on Google
- FAQs on Deleting Your Google Search History
- Erase Your Google Search History Now
Google tracks and stores everything you do online. To minimize the personal data you leave exposed through your online activity, you can delete your Google search history in just a few steps.
However, even after deleting your browsing history, Google possesses large amounts of data relating to your searches which get stored on their servers. While you can do nothing to stop them from harvesting your information, you can keep sites from collecting data in the first place by using a VPN. A VPN is an easy-to-use app that encrypts your traffic from end to end, preventing prying eyes from reading it.
After testing 60+ VPNs, I recommend ExpressVPN to protect your privacy. Its RAM-only servers, military-grade encryption, and kill switch keep you safe while using Google. Plus, it won't slow down your browsing. It also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try ExpressVPN risk-free.
Important. When you visit the "delete history" page in Google, your internet service provider (ISP) may know that you want to delete your search history. The US and other western countries may even be obliged to give this information to the authorities. If you want to protect your privacy, use a reliable VPN before you visit that page.
- Open your Google account. Navigate to the “My Activity.” page. The process is similar for all devices: iPhone, Android phone, tablet, MacBook, Chromebook, desktop PC, and laptop.
- Delete your activity. 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.
- Start a new search with a VPN. To further enhance your online protection, consider a premium VPN. I recommend ExpressVPN as it uses military-grade encryption and won't share your information with any third parties.
If you’re concerned about protecting your data, you probably empty your browser cache regularly. If not, you should start. Deleting your history is very easy to do in any browser.
Whether you’re using Firefox, Chrome, or Edge, you can access your search history from the upper right corner of your browser window.
- Open your Chrome browser.
- Click on the three vertical dots. You'll typically find the three vertical dots in the upper-right corner of your screen.
- Click on “History.” In the drop-down menu, click “History,” and in the new pop-up box, select “History.”
- Delete specific browser history items. To delete specific browser history items, scroll down and check the boxes behind the items you wish to delete. Then, click “Delete.”
- Clear the entire search history. If you wish to clear the full search history (or search history between a specific period), click “Clear browsing data” in the menu on the left side of the screen.
- Select the type of data you wish to delete from the list in the new pop-up window. After you click “Clear browsing data,” a pop-up will appear. Now select the specific kind of data you want to delete.
- Pick a time period. In the drop-down menu next to “Time range,” select the period of time you want to clear. Select “All time” if you want to clear your entire browser history. Once you have selected the time range, click “Clear data.”
Deleting the Last 15 Minutes of Your Search History on Your Phone
Google also allows you to easily and quickly delete the last 15 minutes of your search history on your Android Phone. This is an excellent option if you’re looking to clear your last couple of private queries. This method deletes your search history from your browser and the data that Google has collected on your search in the previous 15 minutes.
- Go to your Google app on your phone (not the Google Search widget). Click on your profile picture. Then click “Delete last 15 minutes.”
- Once the process is complete, you will see a confirmation pop-up. It might take a few minutes for your search history to be removed, so don’t be surprised if it doesn’t immediately disappear.
Deleting your browser history is a good start to protecting your privacy, but it won't erase all of the data that Google tracks and stores in its servers. To completely delete your search history, you must do so from your Google Account.
Below are the steps to clear your history in any or all Google services. Keep in mind that if you sync your google account on several devices, deleting the history from one will delete it from all other devices.
- Open your Google account and find “Data & privacy”. In your browser, open your Google account and click on “Data & privacy” from the sidebar menu on the left-hand side of the screen.
- Find and click on “My Activity.” Scroll down, and in the “History settings” section, click “My Activity.”
- Delete your entire search history. To clear all your Google search history, click on the three vertical dots on the right side of the “Search your activity” bar, then in the drop-down menu, select “Delete activity by.”
- Choose a time period. In the “Delete Activity” pop-up window, select “All Time.”
- Click on select all. If you wish to delete history from all Google services click “Select all”. Alternatively, you can choose to delete the activity from specific Google products. When you're done, click "Next."
- Clear all of your Google search history. Click “Delete” to permanently clear all of your saved search history.
- Select and delete specific activities. If you want to delete specific search activities, use the “Search your activity” bar to search (or scroll down on the “My Google activity” page to find and delete each item individually by clicking on the "X" icon on the right side of each item.
- Clear select search activity. Select “Delete” on the new pop-up window to permanently clear the chosen activities.
Controlling Your Activity Storage
Before you leave the page, you can choose to limit the types of data that Google associates with your account in the future.
- Go back to the “Activity controls” page. Under “Web & App Activity,” check if the status is on. Turn it off.
- You can click “View all” to delete your activity from various Google apps.
- Click “Other activity” in the left-hand menu.
- Delete any other data you want. From there, you can see and delete past YouTube comments, answers you may have given to Google surveys, and more.
Ad personalization can also be turned on and off from the “Data and personalization page.” Underneath that box, you’ll see that Google allows you to “download, delete, or make a plan for your data.”
You can also tell Google to delete your account if you stop using it for a certain period. Unfortunately, you must give Google your phone number to use this service.
Why Does Google Store Your History?
The primary purpose of Google's archive is to help create a personalized advertising profile for you. However, although Google has become more upfront about its data collection over the years, it still isn’t clear what types of data are used to sell you things.
Your browser history is only a tiny portion of the data trail you leave when using the internet. Google keeps track of all of your activities on their products and stores your data on its servers forever. Your data isn’t just stored locally, many different types of data are stored remotely on Google servers. While the company takes certain measures to ensure that its servers are well-protected against hackers, this isn’t the only threat you should be worried about.
To protect yourself from any potential threats, you’ll want to limit the amount of data you leave exposed online. I recommend using a service like ExpressVPN to help further to limit the data available to your search engine.
Why You Need to Use a VPN With Google Search
Deleting your Google search history can help control the amount of your online data. However, even after deleting your history and adjusting your account settings, Google will still track and keep records of how and when you use various features. To have complete privacy while browsing the internet, you need to use a VPN.
A powerful VPN makes your traffic unreadable with high-level encryption, which makes it impossible for third parties (including Google) to spy on and harvest your data. It also changes your actual IP to a different one by sending traffic through its private server network.
The no-logs policies that accompany most premium VPNs also ensure that none of your data is stored anywhere online or offline. This means that not even your local Government can access your data because none is collected in the first place.
However, not all VPNs have the security and privacy features to help you surf the internet safely and anonymously. Only premium VPNs can reliably protect your online privacy.
Best VPNs to Use With Google Search
After extensive research, I have shortlisted the best VPNs to protect your online activities. These VPNs use military-grade encryption, a kill switch, and IP/DNS leak protection and follow a strict no-logs policy, so you can browse the web without fear of hackers and snoopers.
Plus, they work with the most popular devices and operating systems and offer multiple simultaneous device connections. You can protect all your devices with one subscription. Premium VPNs also all come with money-back guarantees, so you can confidently try them out.
Tested February 2023 Try Risk-Free for 30 Days
- Proven to not store your data and uses 256-bit encryption to secure your online activity
- The fastest VPN I tested with Google for uninterrupted browsing
- 3,000+ servers in 94 countries to safely bypass geo-restrictions
- 5 simultaneous device connections to protect your data on all of your devices
- Can access: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, and more
ExpressVPN follows a strict no-logs policy, so you can rest assured it will never store, share, or sell your data. According to their website, they store only the information needed to stay in touch with you. I also found that the no-log policy was tested in 2017 when the Turkish government demanded data, but there was nothing to share because no data was stored. This proves that their claims are legitimate.
Your privacy is further protected with its TrustedServer Technology (RAM-only servers). These servers wipe all the data from your previous sessions with every reboot. On top of that, ExpressVPN’s headquarters is based in the British Virgin Islands, a country with no data laws and outside the intelligence-sharing agreement 5/9/14 Eyes Alliances. This means that ExpressVPN has no obligation to reveal information about its customer to anyone.
It also has a Private DNS, meaning that your DNS requests are handled directly by ExpressVPN without exposure to third parties. Your internet connection is automatically encrypted and authenticated, and your DNS requests can’t be observed or altered by others. ExpressVPN’s kill switch further protects you by ensuring that your data never gets exposed even when your connection drops unexpectedly. I also tested ExpressVPN for IP/DNS leaks and didn't find any.
Subscriptions are a bit pricier than the other VPNs on my list, starting at $6.67/month. However, ExpressVPN frequently offers great deals and discounts. I got 3 months of service for free and 49% off my 12-month plan.
It also comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so you can try it out risk-free. I contacted its 24/7 live chat support to test this claim. After providing a reason for canceling, the agent approved my request and processed my refund. I had the money back in my bank account within 3 working days.
- Easy-to-use apps across all devices so even beginners can be safe your online
- 9,753 servers in 91 countries, many optimized for fast streaming and torrenting
- 7 simultaneous connections to use Google anonymously on all your devices
- An audited no-logs policy to ensure your data is not tracked or stored
- Can access: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, and more
CyberGhost’s apps are highly intuitive, making them straightforward to install and use. They also look and work practically the same on various operating systems, so you don't need to figure out where specific settings are when switching devices. Click the large power button to immediately secure your connection or expand the app and type your preferred country into the search bar. During my tests, I downloaded CyberGhost on my Windows PC and connected to a US server in 3 minutes.
Like ExpressVPN, it uses military-grade encryption to scramble your data, so it's unreadable. Plus, a kill switch and IP/DNS leak protection ensure no one can spy on your data.
I trust CyberGhost to handle my data as it follows a strict no-logs policy and is based in privacy-friendly Romania. Deloitte audited CyberGhost’s no-log policy in 2022 and certified that it adheres to its privacy practices.
The only disadvantage is that the short-term plans are expensive, with only a 14-day money-back guarantee. However, you can get a long-term subscription at $2.19/month. I chose the 2-year plan as it has all the same features, but cost the least. For extra anonymity, you can pay with Bitcoin.
Longer plans also have an extended 45-day money-back guarantee. So, you can try CyberGhost for free and get a refund if it’s not for you. I canceled and requested a refund via its 24/7 live chat support. Surprisingly, my refund was processed immediately, and my money was refunded to my PayPal account within 5 days.
- Choose between various security protocols and encryption levels to tailor your VPN
- Good connection speeds to browse Google without buffering
- 29,650 servers in 84 countries to safely access your accounts when abroad
- Browse on all of your devices with up to 10 simultaneous connections
- Can access: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max, BBC iPlayer, and more
With PIA, you can adjust your security settings to balance speed with online protection. For example, to browse Google, I chose the fast WireGuard protocol with the preset AES 128-bit encryption (still safe, but fewer layers of encryption make it faster). However, I recommend OpenVPN and 256-bit encryption if you need gold-standard security.
Your actual location and digital activity will be kept private thanks to PIA's kill switch and IP/DNS leak protection. So, Google (and other snoopers) can't get their hands on your data. During my tests, I switched between several servers with my browser open. Every time the VPN was reconnected, my internet traffic was temporarily paused.
I did experience slow speeds on a few long-distance servers. However, my average download speed stayed above 23.65 Mbps (a 27% reduction), which is more than fast enough for a smooth browsing experience. I suggest using Auto-connect for the best speed. This feature automatically connects you to the fastest available server based on your real location.
The VPN offers three plans, with the long-term option being the most affordable at $2.19/month. However, monthly subscriptions are available but cost more without additional benefits.
Additionally, all plans have a 30-day money-back guarantee. So, you can try PIA risk-free and request a refund if you aren’t satisfied with the service. To test its refund policy, I canceled using 24/7 live chat. I was impressed by how quickly my request was processed. I received the money back in my PayPal account in 7 days.
Downloading Your Google Archive
Google stores copious amounts of data on its users. Fortunately, most of this can be deleted from your account. Google also admits that it might still “store activity separately to prevent spam and abuse and to improve our services.”
You can stop them from trying to personalize your online experience, but you can’t stop them from silently snooping on you unless you hide your identity behind a VPN. Thankfully, it’s possible to see your search record before deleting it.
- Go to takeout.google.com. Select “Collection of account activity logs.”
- Scroll down and click “Next step.”
- Set the destination and frequency. On the drop-down menu next to “Destination” choose how you want to receive the archive and then choose how often you wish to receive the report. Then, click “Create export.”
- Google will then create a copy of the data stored on their servers and send it to your chosen destination. The process might take hours or even days, depending on the available data, so don’t be surprised if you don’t receive your report immediately.
Other Ways to Keep Your Online Searches Private on Google
There are a few other ways to control the amount of data Google harvests from you. Using a VPN will help you safeguard your privacy and protect you from the constantly-growing list of online threats. A VPN allows you to throw both advertisers and hackers off your trail.
Google also allows you to clear your search history automatically or turn off its tracking ability completely. Here are the steps to follow to either turn off tracking abilities or set auto-delete properties.
Turn Off Google’s Tracking Ability
- Go to your account. On the left navigation menu, click “Data & privacy.”
- Find and click “Web & App Activity in the history settings section.
- In the “Web & App Activity” section, click “Turn Off.”
Google allows you to delete your search history automatically after a specified period. If you want to automatically clear your search history, this is the best option for you. If you want to retain some searches, you might need to skip this as it will delete 100% of the data stored.
- Go to your Google account. Open my “Activity controls.” Scroll down and click on the arrow next to “Auto-delete.”
- Set the auto-delete time period. In the drop-down, choose to auto-delete history older than 3 months, 18 months, or 36 months, then click “Next.”
- Your Google activity will now routinely auto-delete based on your set duration.
Use Incognito Mode
You can also use Incognito mode if you want to keep your browsing activities private. When you search in Incognito mode, none of your browsing history, cookies and site data, or information entered in forms are saved on your device. In other words, none of your activity will be saved in your browser history after you exit the Incognito window.
By default, you won't be signed in to any Google account when you are browsing in Incognito. When you close an Incognito window, the browser deletes all site data associated with your browsing session. This also means that none of your activity will be saved by Google.
However, Incognito mode doesn’t stop websites, your ISP or others, from tracking your location and activity. The safest way to protect your privacy is to use a VPN.
FAQs on Deleting Your Google Search History
How do I find my Google Search history?
Viewing your browser history is similar on most devices, including computers and phones. Go to your Google Account by clicking the three-dot menu in Google Chrome and choosing 'Settings', then click 'Manage your Google Account'. Now, click 'Data & Privacy', scroll down to 'History settings', and click 'My Activity'. Your Google activities are organized by date and time. For a quick view of your most recent searches, click 'History' under the three-dot menu.
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, and yesterday, or all history.
- Click Clear History. Your search history is now deleted.
Why does my Google search history keep deleting itself?
This is most likely because your auto-delete feature is set as “ON.” If your account has “Auto-delete (On),” Google automatically deletes your account history after the specified period, including your search history. Here are the steps to stop Google from auto-deleting your search history:
- Open your Google account and click on “Data & Privacy,” then scroll down and click on “Web & App Activity.”
- Click on the arrow next to auto-delete, and click on “don’t auto-delete activity in the pop-up window.”
- Click “Next.”
- Google will now stop auto-deleting your search history.
Why can't I delete my search history on Google?
Even if you successfully delete your browser search history, it may still be stored on your Google account and remotely on Google servers. When you clear your browser history, you’re only deleting the data stored locally on your device. It doesn’t do anything to the data harvested and stored by Google.
You need to regularly clear your Google account history to minimize the amount of data you leave scattered online. You can also use a VPN to better protect your privacy and online activity.
How do I delete my Google search history on iOS?
To clear your search history on your iPhone or iPad, open the Google app and click on your profile picture. Click on 'History' and choose the search history you want to delete. You can clear all your searches or only a specific period, day, or activity.
Does Google permanently delete my search history?
Yes. When you delete your search history, Google immediately starts the process of removing it from its servers. The first step is to remove it from the screen view. Google then proceeds to safely and completely remove the data from its servers, which takes up to two months. This period includes a 30-day recovery period in which you can recover your data if it was deleted unintentionally. You should also consider using a VPN to better protect yourself online.
What happens if you delete your search history?
Clearing your search history deletes all the data associated with the 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. However the most certain way to retain control over the data that you leave exposed online is by using a VPN.
Erase Your Google Search History Now
The easiest way to keep your online activities private is with a VPN. A reliable VPN helps hide your IP address and internet activity from your browser, snoops, and hackers.
I recommend using ExpressVPN for its strong security features and impressive speeds so you can browse safely and without buffering. You can try ExpressVPN out risk-free as it's backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee. If you change your mind, you can quickly get a full refund.
To summarize, the best VPNs to use with Google Search are…
Your data is exposed to the websites you visit!
Your IP Address:
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.