How to clear Google search history

Google offers options for managing your search history, whether it’s on your PC or smartphone. Deletion can be done manually or automatically. It is also possible to instruct Google to stop recording certain web activities.

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

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

Clearing search history actually involves several concepts. These can be deletions 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 covered in this guide.

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Delete search history in Google account

Google may save your search history if you have an account and are in it while typing your searches.

  • Sign in to your Google account;
  • Click on “Privacy and Personalization”;
  • Scroll down to “Your activities and the places you’ve been”;
  • Click on “Web & App Activity”;

If your history is actually being recorded, this will be indicated by a blue icon and the word “enabled”. Otherwise, a gray pause button with the note “Suspended” is displayed.

  • Then click on the Google search icon: it’s a capital G in a circle (you can see this if you move the mouse);
Google activity
The small orange insert shows you where to click. // Source: Screenshot
  • You will then be taken to the Search History page;

From there you have several options. The first is to view your search history by clicking the “Confirm” button and entering the Google account password. This security was implemented in spring 2021. It provides protection from prying eyes when using a shared PC that requires further verification.

Once you’ve displayed your credentials, Google will display a list of your searches, from most recent to oldest. Some refer directly to the type of request, such as “Amazon”, “clock”, “sweet madness” or even “Senate of the Legal Commission”. Others do not mention the research itself.

Delete buttons are available. This allows you to delete a specific request or an entire day. You also have the option to delete the day’s activities, over a custom period of time, or all activities altogether. You can even request automatic deletion.

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

Clear Google History on Android and iOS

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

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

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Source: Google

Clean the entries in the Google search bar

Google’s search engine can display past searches under its input bar. If you don’t want to clear your entire history but don’t want to see the terms you type here, you can clean up. 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 lower drop-down menu.
  • Click on the “Delete” button;
  • Repeat the process as many times as necessary.
Google bar
A keyword displayed in Google’s input bar, evidence of a previous search. // Source: Screenshot

Automatically delete Google history

Google offers the option of automatically deleting the search history after a certain period of time. After the deadline, Google will ensure that the relevant activities are permanently deleted from your account. However, the company can still assign you to 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’ve been”;
  • Click on “Web & App Activity”;
  • Click on the line “Automatic deletion (disabled)”;
  • Activate 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 further deadlines for this parameter. However, the Mountain View company could add more in the future. Finally, this tool was initially launched with two options (3 and 24 months). A year later an intermediate notch was added.

Stop saving Google history

The different methods described above allow you to clean Google history but not to stop this collection. This is a separate procedure. Please note: the termination of data collection applies to research carried out afterwards. In short, you have to decide what you want 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’ve been to”;
  • Disable “Web & App Activity” using the dedicated button;
  • In the new window, confirm with the “Suspend” button;
  • Click OK”.
Google history
The Disable button. // Source: Screenshot

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