A lot of the time, these site-specific search histories are quite useful. You may appreciate Amazon telling you that your favorite author just released a new book, after all.
However, they can result in embarrassment (do you really want recommendations based off of that, uh, “rabbit” you bought to show up on your screen during your lunch break?) and can provide more data than you would like to third parties.
Furthermore, once you’ve bought that new TV, you may not want to see TV recommendations all over the place. Deleting your browser history won’t help with search histories, as they’re stored on the server. Neither will deleting cookies.
Instead, you have to specifically delete these search histories. You should consider doing so regularly so that your profile is less valuable for sale, less valuable to hackers, and so that the internet doesn’t try to sell you hotels in Bath for six months after you checked something for a friend.
How to Delete Search History from Google
Google is the big one. As the most popular search engine, not to mention other services, Google stores a massive trove of information about you. This includes where you have been if you use Google Maps. In fact, it actually trawls emails sent through Gmail to target advertising to you.
To clear your history, you need to go to myactivity.google.com. You will find a disturbing amount of information, including what apps you have been launching on your phone, what sites you have visited, what videos you have watched on Youtube, etc. On the left side menu, you will see “Delete activity by.”
You will see options to delete from a date range that ranges from today to all time, to delete all activity before a certain date, or to delete activity by product.
For example, you can delete just your image searches if you’re concerned about a certain, ahem, picture showing up in your history.
Once you are done, we recommend going back to the menu and then going to activity controls. Once there you can, for example, turn off Location History and keep Google from tracking your phone or turn off Youtube watch history.
It’s up to you to find the right balance of security versus privacy.
How to Delete Search History from Bing
If Bing is your preferred search engine, then the process is a bit different. You have to go to bing.com and sign in. Then click on the menu button in the top right, go to Search history and then View and delete search history. On the new page you go to, click View and clear search history, Clear activity, and then clear.
You can also delete specific items. On the right-hand side is a button that allows you to turn off logging. For privacy, we also recommend that you turn off personalized ads for Bing.
How to Delete Search History from Facebook
Facebook is loved by advertisers because of how well it can target ads. You give out far more information on social media than on other sites, which is why some people have chosen to give up Facebook altogether. If you need to be on it, though, you might want to erase at least some of your searches for pages, events, or people. Click on the search box. When you see the results, there’s an Edit button on the right.
This button will bring up your Facebook history. You can delete individual entries by clicking the Edit icon on the right, choosing Delete and confirming. You can nuke the entire thing by selecting Clear Searches on the top right. You will have to confirm in pop-up.
How to Delete Search History from Twitter
Twitter is not quite as personal information hungry as Facebook, but you can still clear your searches.
Click on the Search Twitter box, then click on the X to the right of individual searches. Clear all will remove all of your recent searches, but not any searches you specifically chose to save.
How to Delete Search History from Amazon
Amazon stores your searches under Browsing History in the top side bar. (Not the very top one if you have Amazon Associates or Smile active), but the very dark blue one. Hover over the tab and then click on Your Browsing History. This will show you your recent searches. You can click on the remove button to delete any of them.
If you want to delete all of them, click on Manage History at the top right. This will give you a button to Remove all items, and a toggle that lets you turn browsing history off altogether.
How to Delete Search History from Youtube
You can erase Youtube watch and search history through Google, or you can do it by going to the Youtube site itself. Go to the site and sign in. Click on History under the Library section, then select the Search history option.
You can delete individual searches by clicking on the X on the right, just like on Twitter, or erase your entire search history by clicking on CLEAR ALL SEARCH HISTORY (Yes, it’s in all caps). In the app, you can go to Settings and find Clear watch history and Clear search history. You can also pause both watch and search history in the app.
Although it says “pause,” they will stay toggled off until you turn them back on. Both are found under PAUSE SEARCH HISTORY.
How to Delete Search History from Instagram
Instagram also stores your search history. You can only do it through the app (Instagram’s website has very limited functionality). Launch the app and sign in. Click on the profile button (the head and torso in the bottom right). Then click on Options in the upper right corner (gear on iOS or three dots on Android). Scroll to the bottom and click on Clear Search History, then confirm.
Regularly clearing site-specific search histories is good to protect your privacy. It can also fix problems where you are being constantly recommended something irrelevant or even offensive, or where your search history has become screwed up for some reason.
Clearing specific entries can stop you from getting more ads for a purchase you already made or decided against. Being aware of what sites store about you is an important part of practicing good cybersecurity.
Get Surfshark for $1.99/mo
30-day money-back guarantee with every planBuy NOW