How to Clear Google Search History

Google provides options to manage its search history, whether on PC or smartphone. 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, such as Bing, DuckDuckGo or Qwant, share the crumbs, despite their efforts to improve their index and stand out from the American company – especially on 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 its research. And it is possible to delete them.

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

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Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes

Delete search history in Google account

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

  • Log 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 indeed 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 representing Google search: it is a capital letter G in a circle (you can see this when you hover the mouse);
Google activity
The small orange insert is there to tell you where to click. // Source: Screenshot
  • You will then arrive in the “Search history” page;

From there you will have several options. The first is to view your search history, by clicking on the “confirm” button and entering the 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 shown your credentials, Google displays a list of your searches, from most recent to oldest. Some directly indicate the type of request, such as “Amazon”, “clock”, “sweet madness” or even “senate the law commission”. Others do not mention the research itself.

Delete buttons are available. You can thus delete a specific request or an entire day. You also have options to delete the activities of the day, over a custom time range or altogether all activity. You can even request automatic deletion.

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 the formatting is now done on a screen much smaller than that of 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 erases the last 15 minutes of your activity on Google. It’s interesting for a quick sweep after a few requests. But if you want to go deeper into your archives, you have to opt for the classic method.

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Source: Google

Clean Google search bar entries

Google’s search engine can display past queries under its input bar. If you don’t want to delete all your history, but don’t want to show the terms you entered here, you can clean up. It only works if you are on your Google account.

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

Automatically delete Google history

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

  • Log 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 “Automatic deletion (disabled)” line;
  • Check the first parameter “Automatically delete activity older than” and choose the duration that suits you (3 months, 18 months, 24 months).

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

Stop saving Google history

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

  • Log 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 “Disable” button. // Source: Screenshot

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