How to clear Google search history

How to clear Google search history

Google offers options to manage your search history, whether on a PC or a smartphone. The deletion can be manual or automatic. It is also possible to tell Google to stop recording certain web activities.

Google is the most used search engine in France, and by far. Its market share has been around 90% for years. Competitors like Bing, DuckDuckGo or Qwant share the crumbs, despite their efforts to improve their index and distance themselves from the American company, especially in the confidentiality of queries.

Google’s search quality has often been praised, but the ranking algorithm also has its critics. Still, Google offers, in addition to a search engine, additional tools for those who have an account. Thus, it is possible to constitute a history of his research. And it is possible to delete them.

Clearing search history actually covers several concepts. This can be deleted in the web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari, Opera, Brave, Vivaldi, etc.), but also entries in the search field and, of course, at the level of the Google account itself. These are the two scenarios that this guide addresses.

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Delete search history in Google account

Google can save your search history if you have an account and are logged in while typing your queries.

  • Sign in to your Google account;
  • Click on “privacy and personalization”;
  • Scroll down to “your activities and the places you have visited”;
  • Click on “web and app activity”;

If the recording of your history is in progress, this will be indicated by a blue icon and the mention “activated”. Otherwise, a gray pause button will be displayed, with the mention “suspended”.

  • Then click on the icon that represents Google search – it’s a capital letter G in a circle (you can see this when you hover over);
google activity
The little orange insert is there to tell you where to click. // Source: Screenshot
  • Then you will come to the “Search History” page;

From there you will have several options. The first is to view your search history by clicking the “confirm” button and entering your Google account password. This security was implemented in the spring of 2021. It offers a defense against prying eyes if you use a shared PC, by requiring one more verification.

Once you’ve provided your credentials, Google displays a list of your searches, from most recent to oldest. Some directly indicate the type of request, such as “Amazon”, “watch”, “sweet madness” or even “senate law commission”. Others do not mention the research itself.

Delete buttons are available. So you can delete a specific request or a whole day. You also have options to delete activities for the day, in a custom time range, or all activity altogether. You can even request automatic removal.

Google search
An excerpt from past research. // Source: Screenshot

Clear Google History on Android and iOS

The Google search history deletion procedure can be replicated on your smartphone or tablet whether you are using Android or iOS. The approach is generally similar, except that formatting is now done on a much smaller screen than your computer. Of course, you still have to log in to your account.

However, Google has provided a shortcut on mobile to go faster. It’s more convenient, but the tool is limited: it only deletes the last 15 minutes of your Google activity. It’s interesting for a quick sweep after a few requests. But if you want to go deeper into your files, you have to go for the classic method.

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Source: Google

Clean Google Search Bar Entries

The Google search engine can display previous queries in your input bar. If you don’t want to delete all of your history, but don’t want to show the terms you entered here, you can clear it. It only works if you are in your Google account.

  • Click on the input field with the mouse;
  • Hover over the terms that interest you in the drop-down menu below;
  • Click the “delete” button;
  • Repeat the operation as many times as necessary.
google bar
A keyword displayed by the Google input bar, evidence of a previous search. // Source: Screenshot

Automatically delete Google history

Google offers the option to automatically delete search history after a certain period of time. After the deadline, Google ensures that the corresponding activities are permanently removed from your account. However, the company can still associate it with activities that have not yet passed the deadline.

  • Sign in to your Google account;
  • Click on “privacy and personalization”;
  • Scroll down to “your activities and the places you have visited”;
  • Click on “web and app activity”;
  • Click on the line “Automatic deletion (disabled)”;
  • Check the first parameter “Automatically delete activity older than” and choose the duration that suits you best (3 months, 18 months, 24 months).

There are currently no other timeframes for this parameter. However, the Mountain View company could add more in the future. After all, this tool was initially launched with two options (3 and 24 months). A year later, a middle notch was added.

Stop saving Google history

The various methods described above allow you to clean Google history, but do not stop this collection. This is a separate procedure. Please note: the cessation of data collection applies to subsequent searches. Ultimately, you will have to decide what to do with your past history: keep it or delete it.

  • Sign in to your Google account;
  • Go to “privacy and personalization”;
  • Go to “your activities and the places you have visited”;
  • Disable “web and app activity” with the corresponding button;
  • In the new window, confirm with the “suspend” button;
  • Click OK.”
google history
The “Deactivate” button. // Source: Screenshot

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