AVG Signal Blog Privacy Browser How to Clear Your Search and Browser History

How to clear your search history

Just by landing on this page, you’ve added one more website to your browser history. And if you got here via a search engine, that’s another item in your search history as well. Clearing your browsing and search histories is important because they can quickly build up.

This article contains:

    You can clear your search history across all your devices in the settings of your Google, Bing, or Yahoo accounts. But this method won’t cover searches you made while logged out.

    While deleting your browser history will clear some searches, it will clear only the searches you made in that one browser on that particular computer. And it doesn’t prevent advertisers from following your search history and using it for ad tracking.

    Here’s how to delete your search history in Google, Bing, and Yahoo:

    Delete your Google search history

    1. Sign in.

      Log in to your Google account.

    2. Open your account settings.

      Click the App menu in the right corner and choose Account.

      Opening up account settings in Google.
    3. Open your data settings.

      Find Privacy & personalization and click Manage your data & personalization.

      Opening up privacy and data settings in My Account.
    4. View your account activity.

      Scroll down until you see a box labeled Activity and timeline. Click My Activity.

      Options in My Account of Google.
    5. Delete unwanted searches.

      You’ll see a list of many links and websites. From here, you can remove any site by clicking the three dots next to each item and selecting delete. Or you can delete all the history from a particular day by clicking the little trash can icon.

      Here's how to delete individual items from your search history.
    6. Delete your entire history.

      Delete your entire history by clicking Delete activity by on the menu to the left. In the pop-up that appears, choose All time or select a Custom range.

    7. Confirm the deletion.

      Click Delete to confirm you want to erase your history. The next screen will confirm that you’ve deleted your search history, while offering additional options for managing your activity and history.

      Deleting Google search history.
    8. Adjust your search history settings.

      Go back to Data & personalization, find the Activity controls box, and select Manage your activity controls.

      Here's how to adjust your Activity controls settings in Google.
    9. Turn off search history collection.

      Inside Activity controls, find the toggle switch for Web & App Activity. Toggle the switch off (so it turns gray) to prevent Google from saving your search history.

      Adjusting activity controls in Google Chrome.

    And that’s how to clear your Google search history! Google knows a lot about you beyond just your search history, and you can download your Google data if you’re curious.

    Wipe your Bing search history

    1. Sign in to your Microsoft account.

    2. Click the three bars next to your login and click Search history.

    3. Click View and delete search history and go to a new site.

    4. Log in again.

    5. After logging in, you’ll be taken to a new page. Click View and Clear Search History.

    6. Click Search on the left menu. 

    7. You can delete each item individually, or you can click the Clear activity button in the upper-right.

    8. Click Clear on the pop-up alert.

    That’s how you delete all searches in Bing. But you’ll have to use InPrivate windows in Edge to prevent Microsoft from saving your searches going forward. Private browsing modes are just one way you can stay safer while browsing.

    Clear your Yahoo! search history

    Clearing all your searches in Yahoo is easy and straightforward. Just log in, open your settings, and delete your searches.

    1. Log in to Yahoo.

    2. From the Yahoo search page, click the box in the upper-right corner, and click Settings. 

    3. On the far left, click Search History.

    4. Click the garbage bin next to each item you want to delete. 

    5. To clear your entire search history, click Clear History, then click Delete in the following pop-up.

    6. Click Turn History Off to prevent Yahoo from saving your search history in the future.

    How to clear your browsing history

    Deleting your browser history from one major browser to the next is largely the same. While you can choose how much of your history to delete, pick the all time/everything option if you want to completely refresh your browser.

    Here’s how to delete your history in several of the most popular browsers.

    Delete your Google Chrome browsing history

    1. Open Chrome.

    2. Click the three dots in the upper-right corner.

    3. Click History. Then on the side menu, hit History again.

      Open up Chrome to start deleting cookies.
    4. A new tab should open. Find Clear browsing data on the left.

      Select "Clear browsing data" to get to the deleting screen.
    5. Another new tab will open with a pop-up. Keep the box next to Browsing history checked and select how much of your history to delete.

      This page allows you to delete browser history as well as cookies.
    6. Click Clear data.

    Get more control over your browsing experience by blocking pop-ups in Chrome and removing Chrome extensions if they’re no longer helpful.

    Wipe your Firefox browsing history

    1. Open Firefox.

    2. In the menu bar, click History.

    3. Click Clear Recent History.

      To clear browsing history in Firefox, start by opening up the menu bar.
    4. Check both Browsing & Download history and Form & Search History. Then use the drop-down menu at the top to decide the length of time.

      Clearing browsing history in Firefox.
    5. Click OK.

    Clear your Internet Explorer & Microsoft Edge browsing history

    If you’re still using Internet Explorer, consider switching to a new browser. Microsoft no longer supports IE with security updates, which leaves it vulnerable to security holes that can be exploited by hackers.

    Here’s how to delete your browsing history on Microsoft Edge:

    1. Open Microsoft Edge. 

    2. Click the three dots on the right side of the web address field.

    3. Click History (next to the clock-arrow icon).

      Open Microsoft Edge.  Click the three dots on the right side of the web address field. Click History (next to the clock-arrow icon).
    4. Select Clear browsing data at the top.

      The History settings in Microsoft Edge for Windows 10
    5. Keep the box for Browsing history checked, then click Clear now.

      Clearing browsing data in Microsoft Edge for Windows 10

    Delete your Opera browsing history

    1. Open up Opera.

    2. Click the clock on the far-left toolbar.

    3. For individual pages, just hover over the link and click the X button on the right. 

    4. To clear everything at once, click Clear browsing data.

    5. A new window should pop up. Make sure the box next to Browsing history is ticked, and set the time range.

    6. Click Clear data and you're done!

    Wipe your AVG Secure Browser history

    AVG Secure Browser was designed with privacy at the forefront. With robust security and privacy features, you can bank, shop, and surf safely. Use its private mode — which automatically blocks ads, trackers, and phishing attacks — and you won’t have to worry about clearing your browser history at all.

    If you aren’t using private mode, you can still clear your AVG Secure Browser history in a few easy steps:

    1. Open AVG Secure Browser.

    2. Click the three dots in the right corner, then navigate to History > History.

      Opening up browser history in AVG Secure Browser.
    3. Click Privacy Cleaner.

      Opening up the privacy cleaner in AVG Secure Browser.
    4. Select everything you want to delete (browsing history, cookies, cache) and choose your timeframe from the drop-down menu — we recommend All time. Then click Clear data.

      Deleting browser history in AVG Secure Browser.

    While you’re in Settings, click Privacy & Security Center to see all the safety-enhancing features AVG Secure Browser has to offer.

    AVG Secure Browser includes robust privacy and security features.AVG Secure Browser blocks ads, trackers, malicious extensions, and more.

    How to clear your browsing and search history on mobile

    Clearing your search history on your Google, Bing, or Yahoo! accounts deletes it on your mobile devices, too. But you may need to clear your browsing history on mobile separately.

    Here’s how to clear your history on mobile devices:

    Delete browsing and search history on iPads and iPhones

    If you’re using Safari, you’ll clear your iPhone or iPad’s browsing and search history at the same time. Clearing them separately is only possible with other browsers.

    Here’s how to delete both your browsing and search history on iOS:

    1. Launch the Safari app. 

    2. Tap the open book icon on the bottom toolbar. 

    3. Then tap the clock in the upper right. 

    4. Delete individual items by clicking X to the right of each link.

    5. Clear everything, including cookies, by tapping the Clear button at the bottom of the list.

    6. Select how far back you want to delete and you’re good to go. 

    While you’re in your settings, you can further trim your Safari experience by blocking Safari pop-ups.

    Delete browsing and search history on Android phones and tablets

    Deleting your browsing history on Android devices is a lot like the process on PCs, meaning it changes depending on the browser you’re using. If you’ve already cleared your search history on your desktop browser, you don’t need to do it again on your phone.

    Here’s how to clear your search history on mobile in various browsers:

    Google Chrome

    1. Open the Google Chrome app on your Android.

    2. Tap the three dots in the right corner and select History.

      Deleting history on Google Chrome for mobile.
    3. You can delete individual items from this list with the X buttons next to each link.

    4. To do everything at once, click Clear browsing data at the top.

      To do everything at once, click Clear browsing data at the top.
    5. Make sure Browsing history has a checkmark next to it. Choose how much history you want to delete with the drop-down menu to the right.

      Here you can delete browsing history, cookies, and also cashed files.
    6. Click Clear data and you’re done!

    Of course, your search and browsing history will start to build up again quickly. Consider automating the process to easily delete your browsing history, cookies, cache, and more regularly with an automated browser cleaner tool.


    1. Open the Firefox mobile app. 

    2. Tap the three dots in the right corner.

    3. Select History.

      Opening up Settings in Firefox on mobile.
    4. You’ll see a list of recently viewed websites. Tap Delete history at the top of the screen.

      You’ll see a list of recently viewed websites. Tap Delete history at the top of the screen.
    5. A warning pop-up will appear. Tap Delete.

      Deleting browsing history in Firefox on mobile.
    6. You’re all set.


    1. Launch Opera.

    2. Find the O-menu button on the bottom right and tap it. 

    3. Tap History, then tap the trash icon on the upper right.

    4. Confirm you want to clear your browsing history.

    Clear your Google Play search history

    1. Open up Google Play.

    2. To the right of the search bar, tap the blue circle with your initial or profile picture. Tap Settings.

      Opening settings in Google Play.
    3. Click the arrow to the right of General to expand the menu. Then tap Account and device preferences.

      Opening up account and device preferences in Google Play.
    4. Scroll down and tap Clear device search history.

      Opening up device search history in Google Play.
    5. Confirm by tapping Clear history.

      Clearing history in Google Play.

    How to delete your YouTube search and watch history

    To block Google’s ability to track your Youtube history, log in to your Google account and go to Privacy & personalization, Activity controls, and turn YouTube Search History and YouTube Watch History off.

    YouTube uses your search and watch history to determine what kind of videos you might be interested in. Delete your YouTube history if you want to stop Google from collecting and storing this information.

    If you’ve watched any videos in your browser's incognito/private mode, they won’t be saved. And if you deleted your Google search history as described above, then you may have also seen an option to delete your YouTube watch and search history there. 

    To get rid of your YouTube search and watch history, follow any one of the following three processes. They’ll each clear your YouTube search and watch history on every device you use.

    How to clear your YouTube history on the YouTube website

    1. Log into your YouTube account.

    2. Click the three bars in the corner and go to History.

    3. Delete individual videos by hovering over the title with your mouse and clicking the X button on the right.

    4. To delete everything, click Clear All Watch History on the left, then confirm a second time on the following pop-up.

    5. Pause your watch history in the same menu.

    6. Click Search history on the left.

    7. Delete individual search items or everything at once.

    How to clear your YouTube history on the YouTube mobile site

    1. Open the YouTube website on your phone and log in.

    2. In the upper menu, tap the person icon to access your account. 

    3. Tap History.

    4. To delete individual videos in your history, tap the three dots next to each one, then tap Remove from Watch history

    5. To delete everything or pause your watch history, tap the buttons on the top: Clear All Watch History or Pause Watch History, respectively.

    6. Confirm your choice in the pop-up that appears.

    7. Tap the Search History tab to delete individual items or your entire search history.

    How to clear your YouTube history in the YouTube app

    1. Open the YouTube app and make sure you’re logged in.

    2. Tap Library at the bottom of the screen. 

    3. Tap History.

    4. Tap the three dots next to an item and click Remove from Watch history to delete individual videos.

    5. To delete everything, tap the three dots in the upper-right corner of the screen, then tap History controls. 

    6. Tap Pause watch history and Pause search history and confirm.

    7. Tap Clear watch history and Clear search history as well and confirm.

    Why clear my browsing and search history?

    Storing your browsing history can take up memory on your device and even slow it down. And if you ever intend on sharing your device, clearing your web history is a good first step in keeping your activity private. 

    Clearing your browser makes it safer as it protects against history sniffing, which can put your personal info at risk. Plus, cleaning up other temporary files can propel your PC to much faster speeds. Several of the most secure and private browsers will automatically clean your history at the end of each browsing session.

    Why bother clearing your search history? All the big search providers track your searches, which they then use to help advertisers reach you more effectively. Other sites may sell your data directly to advertisers or data brokers. Given how often data breaches happen, you’re one leak away from potential trouble.

    Is there any reason not to delete my browser history?

    Deleting your browser history prevents your browser from auto-filling the URLs of your favorite sites, but you can easily make up for that by using bookmarks. If you’re worried about your stored passwords disappearing if you delete your history, they’ll be preserved — but a password manager is a much more secure way to store your passwords.

    If you’re not sure exactly what to keep or delete, and if you want to give your PC a general cleaning, try AVG TuneUp. Our specialized cleaner will streamline your browser and remove redundant files and other junk to boost your computer’s performance and speed.

    A word on cache and cookies

    There are differences between a browser’s history, cache, and cookies — though they’re certainly linked and will often show up in the process of cleaning out your history. 

    • The cache saves elements that certain websites need to run. When you visit those websites again, the cached data helps your browser load faster

    • Cookies are used by websites to track data about you: what you do, what you’re authorized to see, and where you go next.

    Not all cookies are bad, but you should regularly delete browser cookies and clear the cache too. It’ll keep your browser running its best, and keep your data that much more private.

    Private/incognito mode

    Your browser's private/incognito mode prevents your browsing and search history from being saved locally on your device. It doesn’t make you invisible online — and doesn’t stop advertisers from tracking you — but it keeps any browsing activity out of your device’s browsing history.

    For greater protection and anonymity online, switch to a dedicated private browser like AVG Secure Browser, which includes anti-tracking, automatic ad blocking, malware protection, and much more.

    Delete your browsing and search history the easy way

    To skip all the trouble of manually deleting your search and browsing history, try an automated browser maintenance tool. AVG TuneUp is a powerful performance optimizer that will automatically clear out junk — including your browsing and search history — to protect your privacy and keep your PC in tip-top shape, 24/7.


    How do I clear cookies on an iPhone?

    To clear cookies on your iPhone, open Settings, tap Safari, then scroll down and tap Advanced followed by Website Data. Finally, tap Remove All Website Data. This will help improve your iPhone’s performance and prevent Safari pop-ups and other targeted ads from bothering you. You can strengthen your privacy further by following iPhone security best practices and using a top-rated iOS security app.

    How can I clear history on Chrome?

    To clear your browsing history on Chrome, click or tap the three dots in the top-right corner of the browser window, navigate to History via the drop-down menu, and select Clear Browsing History followed by Clear Data to confirm. You can also use a browser cleaner tool such as AVG TuneUp to manage your history and other data used by Google to track you online. Chrome security extensions that block pop-ups are another way to protect your privacy.

    What happens when you delete cookies?

    Deleting browser cookies permanently wipes all cookie data. That means that you’ll lose data in your shopping carts and any login information you’ve entered into websites you visit frequently. But it also means that you won’t be served such targeted ads. Cookies improve your browsing experience by saving data so you don’t need to constantly re-enter it. But cookies also let websites and advertisers track your online activity, so deleting them will enhance your online privacy.

    What does deleting browsing history do?

    Deleting browsing history clears the list of previously visited websites from your browser, and it prevents the browser from auto-filling the URLs of your favorite sites. Deleting history does not affect cookies, saved login credentials and passwords, or other private information stored as cached data. That’s why performing a full browser cleanup improves your security and data privacy.

    Can deleted history still be viewed?

    Even after you delete your browsing history, your search history can still be viewed if you were signed into your Google account and had search history collection enabled. Other fragments of your browsing history can also be found in your downloads history, browser cache, and other locations. That’s why you should use a specialized cleaner tool to wipe away all your digital footprints, including clearing your cache on Android and deleting cached data on Mac.

    Protect your iPhone against security threats with AVG Mobile Security

    Free install

    Clean up your search history on your Android with AVG Cleaner

    Free install
    Nica Latto & Joseph Regan