If you share a computer with others in your household, keeping a surprise vacation or gift a secret can be challenging. Saved searches, in particular, can rat you out.
After all, if your web browser defaults to Expedia every time someone types in an “E,” your plans will be found out. Are you traveling soon? Tap or click here for some travel safety tips. Plus, saved searches eat up memory on your hard drive.
So how do you go about clearing your search history? Did you know you can do this for your browser and favorite social media sites? We’ll tell you how, starting with Facebook.
Facebook likes to keep tabs on you, including your search history, to show you targeted ads. To keep some semblance of privacy on the site and app, follow the steps below to clear your Facebook search history on your computer:
- Go to Facebook.com and log in.
- Tap the down arrow in the upper right corner.
- Select Settings & privacy > Activity Log.
- Click the Logged Actions and Other Activity option.
- Select Search History.
- You’ll now see a list of every search you’ve made on Facebook up until this point. To delete this history, choose Clear Searches.
- If you’d like to delete single search history items instead of your entire history at once, click on the three dots to the right of each search in the history list and tap Delete. A menu will appear to confirm. Hit Delete again. That will remove just that one search.
Twitter also keeps track of your search history. This can help you find profiles you look for often, or it can be annoying and reveal information you don’t want others to know.
To delete your Twitter search history:
- On a web browser, log in to your Twitter profile.
- Click on the Search Twitter bar on the top right corner of the screen. A list of your recent searches will appear.
- Tap the X next to individual searches to delete them one at a time.
- To clear all of your searches at once, click Clear all at the top of the menu.
To clear your mobile Twitter search history:
- Log in to the Twitter app on your smartphone or tablet and tap the Search tab at the bottom of the screen. It’s the tab with the magnifying glass icon.
- Tap the Search Twitter bar at the top to bring up your recent searches.
- Tap the X in the circle to the right of Recent searches and tap Clear to clear all of your recent searches.
- To delete individual searches, swipe left on a search from the list and tap Delete.
- You can delete term searches but won’t be able to delete recent profiles you’ve searched without clearing your entire search history.
Facebook owns Instagram, so it loves keeping track of your data, too. Once again, it can be convenient, but it’s good to occasionally clear your search data to save space on your phone or browser and maintain a little bit of privacy.
Since Instagram is more often used as an app than on a browser, let’s go over how to clear its search history from the mobile app:
- Open and log in to the Instagram app.
- Tap on your profile (the tab at the bottom of the screen that has a circular icon of your profile picture) and tap the icon of three lines on top of each other in the top right part of the screen.
- Tap Your activity.
- Tap Recent Searches.
- Tap Clear All, then tap Clear All to confirm.
Your Instagram search history is like your Facebook search history. If you clear the searches on mobile or your browser, you’ll clear it in the other.
Google Chrome exists on computers and mobile devices, and clearing search history is basically the same on both. If your devices sync to one cloud, deleting your Chrome search history on one will delete the history on all of them:
- Open Google Chrome on your computer and click the More menu, the three dots on top of each other in the top right of the browser.
- Mouse over the History menu, then click the History option at the top.
- To delete individual searches, click on the box to the left of each search listing and click Delete in the top right part of the window.
- To delete your entire search history at once, click Clear browsing data from the left menu and select what data you want to delete — just your browsing history or also your cookies and cache. Click the Clear Data button once you’ve decided.
- Note: You’ll clear up more memory space and get more privacy by clearing out everything.
Google lets you delete your search history, too. Tap or click here to clear your search history from the Google website.
To clear your search history in Firefox:
- Open Firefox and click the three-line menu.
- Click on History, then Clear Recent History… to delete all your recent search data.
- A box will pop up asking you the timeframe to clear (last hour, last two hours, current day, everything, etc.). Choose your timeframe and hit Clear Now.
- To delete items one by one, click History, then Show All History.
- You’ll get a list of all your recent searches. Right-click what you don’t want and select Forget About This Site.
To clear your search history in Edge:
- Open Edge and click Settings and more… then Settings in the browser.
- Click on Privacy and services and find Clear browsing data.
- Select Choose what to clear and choose a time range of data to delete from the Time range drop-down menu. We suggest doing everything.
- Next, select the kind of data you want to clear — just search history, cookies, cache, even passwords and form-fill data.
- You’ll likely want to keep passwords and form-fill data unless you prefer inputting everything by hand for safety reasons.
- Click Clear now and that data will be erased.
To clear your search history in Safari on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch:
- To clear your history and cookies, go to Settings > Safari, and tap Clear History and Website Data. Clearing your history, cookies, and browsing data from Safari won’t change your AutoFill information.
- To clear your cookies and keep your history, go to Settings > Safari > Advanced > Website Data, then tap Remove All Website Data.
Keep your next gift a surprise on a shared computer by clearing the search history on your browsers and social media. Tap or click here if you’re curious about the real reason Google lets you delete your search history.
Your computer and mobile devices will have more memory space and you’ll keep your data more private, too. So, clear your search history periodically and maintain some privacy while you browse online.