How to Clear Search History in Chrome

Google Chrome on Windows 10 and macOS provides you with options to delete browsing history, cache, sign-in data, and cookies, but Google has another “database” that’s unfamiliar to many people, known as ‘My Activity.’

What is Google My Activity?

Google’s ‘My Activity’ is a special collection of your browsing and activity history that is often related to Google.

Originally, ‘Web History’ was a second “database” tool that was used to store your browsing and internet activity for Google to utilize and deliver a better experience. That tool eventually got eliminated and redirected to ‘My Activity,’ which originally stored search data that Google used to present better search functionality and experiences. Now, items that were stored in the old tool are merged into ‘My Activity.’ However, only the items related to Google in some way get stored there. Therefore, Google’s ‘My Activity’ tool gets used to improve personal Google experiences and includes many user elements related to Google.

Now, your ‘My Activity’ pages reflect more than just searches. The collection also includes pages you click from searches, Google product pages, Google Play activity, YouTube history, map information, and more. This article shows you how to clear that search history on iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows 10, but be aware that deleting information in ‘My Activity’ can alter the customized/personalized services and information presented to you by Google.

How does Google “My Activity’ Work?

If you’ve ever started a search on a particular topic and then performed more searches with minimal words, you may have noticed that Google displays results related to the original search. For instance, searching for ‘blue cars’ yields results for blue cars. After that, searching for ‘tinted windows’ yields blue cars with tinted windows (plus ads related to the terms), and all you did was a search for tinted windows.

Google’s stored search information for each session helps Google Search display what it thinks you might be looking for. It’s never 100% correct or accurate, but it does make a difference and simplifies your search efforts. Google data also helps it display appropriate ads, videos, images, and more.

How to Delete Chrome Search History on a PC or Mac

When it comes to deleting Chrome search history, you have a couple of options. You can delete everything in Google’s ‘My Activity’ or delete specific URLs. Here’s how to manage the information that Google stored about you.

Option #1: Delete Everything

If you’d like to delete all Google-related history (browsing, cache, search, etc.), the process is rather simple. This is not the same as deleting your website history. As previously mentioned, you are managing data stored by Google that is related to Google in some way.

  1. Open Chrome or any other browser. Go to Google My Account and log in.
  2. Find ‘Privacy & personalization’ in the top left corner, then click on “Manage your data & personalization.”
  3. Scroll down until you see the ‘Activity and timeline’ box. Once there, click on “My Activity.”
  4. If you want to delete your complete search history or a custom range, select the “Delete activity by” on the screen’s left side.
  5. Choose your time range for activity deletion (“Last hour,” “Last day,” “All time,” or “Custom range.”)
  6. Confirm your choice by selecting “Delete.”

Option #2: Delete a Specific URL

Sometimes, you may have a need to delete just one URL in Google ‘My Activity’ and don’t want to delete everything. Here’s what you do.

  1. Open Chrome or another browser. Visit Google My Account and log into your account if not done already.
  2. Find ‘Privacy & personalization’ in the top left corner, then click on “Manage your data & personalization.”
  3. Scroll down to the ‘Activity controls’ section and click on “Web & App Activity.”
  4. Scroll down the ‘Activity Controls” page and select “Manage activity.”
  5. In the ‘Web & App Activity’ window, scroll down until you find the website name you want to delete URLs from, such as Sling TV. Click on the vertical ellipsis icon on the right. From there, you can select “Delete” to remove every URL in that section. If you just want to delete one or two URLs, move to the next step.
  6. If you want to drill down the URL history further before deleting anything, click the vertical ellipsis and select “Details” to list all URLs in a popup frame or “View # more items” at the bottom of the list.
  7. To delete a specific URL, click its vertical ellipsis icon on the right, and then select “Delete.” If you need more information, click “Details” instead.

Aside from navigating through your ‘My Activity’ information to delete specific URLs, there’s a search activity box where you can look for a specific activity to delete. This might save you some time.

If you’d prefer not to save URL/website history at all, there’s a way to turn it off completely, which is found at the top of your Google My Activity Page, Here’s what you do.

  1. Go back to Data and Personalization.
  2. Click on “Manage your activity controls” at the bottom of the section.
  3. Once inside, find the switch for ‘Web & App Activity” and turn it off.

Now Google won’t be saving your search history. However, Chrome will still track your cookies, browsing history, and other data.

How to Delete Chrome Search History on Android

As is the case with Chrome for Mac and Windows 10, you can’t clear your search history directly from the browser options, and you’ll need to do that on your Google account.

Delete Everything

Open Chrome and go to My Activity. Tap on three horizontal dots in the top right corner.

Step 1

Step 2

Select “Delete Activity by.”

Step 3

Select “All Time” as a time frame.

Now confirm the deletion and wait for a few seconds. Your entire history will be deleted.

Delete a Specific URL

Step 1

Open Chrome and go to My Activity. Scroll down and find the link you want to remove.

Step 2

Tap on the three horizontal dots next to it.

There are predefined options that will let you erase the search history in the current day or create a custom range.

Step 3

Select Delete. Be careful, as there is no confirmation window.

How to Delete Chrome Search History on an iPhone

Deleting Chrome search history on the iPhone is similar to doing it on an Android phone. Still, there’s a slight difference.

Delete Everything

Step 1

Open Chrome, Safari, or any other browser and go to My Activity.

Step 2

Tap on the three horizontal dots before selecting “Delete Activity by “

Step 3

Choose “All Time” and then de-select any data you’d like to keep. Once your selections are made click ‘Next’ in the lower left-hand corner.

You’ll be notified that all your search history will be deleted. Confirm it.

Delete a Specific URL

Step 1

Go to My Activity. Scroll down and check the list of your search entries. You may also use the search.

Tap the three horizontal dots next to the entrance you want to erase.

Step 2

Select delete and the link will be removed without a confirmation screen.

Note that once you delete your search history on Google, it can’t be recovered.

Additional FAQ

Can I Automatically Clear Chrome Search History on Application Close?

Although Chrome supports automatic clearing of your cookies each time you exit the browser, you can’t do the same with your cache and search history by default. There is a workaround solution for Windows and Mac, as you may visit the Chrome Web Store and install the Click&Clean extension.

After you do so, click Click&Clean on the toolbar and then select Options. In the Extras section, choose to delete private data when Chrome closes. Be aware that this action will remove your search history and everything else, including browser cache and cookies. If you only want to delete your search history, you’ll have to do it manually.

Unfortunately, you can’t use Click&Clean on an iPhone or Android since Chrome for mobile devices doesn’t support extensions. The only options are to clear it manually on your Google Account or to disable search history.

Can I Automatically Clear Chrome Search History on Restart?

While the Chrome browser supports clearing your cookies automatically each time you restart, it doesn’t have the same feature for search history. You’ll need to visit the Chrome Web Store and install the Click&Clean extension. Once you do, go to options and then click on Delete private data when Chrome closes. Unfortunately, this will also delete all traces of your browsing history. You can also use the same plugin to manually delete search history, which is quicker than going into Chrome’s options menu.

Where Do I View My Search Browsing History?

If you want to see every search you’ve made in Chrome, you’ll need to visit Google My Activity homepage and log in. Once there, you’ll see the list of all recent web searches. You can explore them using Item or Bundle view options or the search box at the top of the screen. This is valuable if you want to delete a specific entry or every search you’ve done since you created your Google account.

Can My Search History Be Recovered After It’s Been Deleted?

Even if you’ve accidentally or purposely deleted your search history, there are a couple of ways to recover them.

If you have a Google Account, visit Google My Activity. This page will show your every Chrome activity, including browsing history and search history. However, there are limitations to this method, as you can’t import your search history back into your browser. Even so, you can use the system recovery options as an alternative.

  1. In Windows 10, click “Start “and then type “Recovery.”
  2. Choose “Open System Restore.”
  3. In the following Windows, click on “Choose a different restore point.”
  4. Choose to restore to the date before you deleted your search history.
  5. Restart the computer, and your search history will be recovered.

Know that System Restore will revert all other changes you made in other programs, not only in Chrome. However, you won’t lose your files.

Why Should I Clear Search History?

If you use Chrome a lot, your browsing and search history might take up a lot of memory and slow down the browser. Clearing your search and browsing history may improve the performance of both Chrome and your device.

If you’re sharing a device with someone, clearing search history will keep your activities private. It will also prevent search engines such as Google from collecting your data and selling it to advertisers. Even if you’re not searching for anything sensitive in Chrome, you might still want to clear your search history periodically.

Will Incognito Mode Save My Search History?

With incognito mode, you’ll need to use a VPN to hide your location. However, Chrome doesn’t track your activities when you’re incognito, including cookies, browsing history, and search history. Instead of disabling the search on your Google account, you can use incognito mode if you don’t want your activities tracked. Incognito mode is available for both desktop and mobile versions of Chrome.

Why Does Google Chrome Tracks My Search History?

Google Chrome collects your search history for a couple of reasons. One is to learn more about you and provide you with better results. Tracking is also used to display Google Ads that are relevant to you. Going incognito is the best way to stop Chrome from tracking your activities.

Can I Download My Google Search History?

In 2015, Google introduced the option to download all the data it collects. That includes YouTube searches, Android profile settings, emails, location history, and Chrome. Here is how to do it:

  1. Visit Google Takeout and log in if needed.
  2. Now, you’ll see the list of data. Everything is selected by default, but there is a “Deselect all” button. Check Chrome and then choose “All Chrome data included.” Now select which browser data you want to download.
  3. Google will display the warning, informing you that downloading your data on a public computer is risky. (Also, be aware that some countries may have laws that limit the use of this option.)
  4. Click “Creative Archive.”
  5. Once everything is ready, you’ll get an email with a link to download your Google search history archive.

If you decide to download everything, the archive may be 5 GB or more, depending on how long you’ve been using your Google account. Google Takeout is an excellent way to back up your data offline and keep it in a safe place.

Take Control of Your Search History

Whatever device you’re using, deleting Chrome search history is only a few clicks or taps away. Unfortunately, it can’t be done automatically by default, and the extensions only offer limited help. You can also disable search history in a few straightforward steps and turn in on quickly when needed.

Is Chrome your primary browser on both desktops and mobile platforms? How often do you need to delete your search history?

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