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Privacy

How to delete your search history from social media and your browser

If you share a computer with others in your household, it can be hard to keep a surprise vacation or gift a secret. 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. Tap or click here for 3 websites that make traveling easier. 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 both your browser and your favorite social media sites? We’ll tell you how, starting with Facebook.

Facebook

Facebook really 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:

  1. In a web browser, log in to Facebook and go to your profile page. Click on the View Activity Log button.
  2. Click on More in the left sidebar, under the Comments filter.
  3. Click or tap on Search History.
  4. 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 in the top left part of the page.
    • If you’d like to delete single search history items instead of your entire history at once, click on the circle with a line through it to the right of each search in the history list. That will remove just that one search.

Want to see these steps play out? Tap or click here for a video on how to delete your Facebook search history.

Twitter

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:

  1. On a web browser, log in to your Twitter profile.
  2. Click on the Search Twitter bar on the top right corner of the screen. A list of your recent searches will appear.
  3. Tap the X next to individual searches to delete them one at a time.
  4. To clear all of your searches at once, click Clear all at the top of the menu.

Unlike Facebook, clearing your Twitter search history on your browser won’t carry over to your smartphone experience. To clear your mobile Twitter search history:

  1. 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.
  2. Tap the Search Twitter bar at the top to bring up your recent searches.
  3. Tap the X in the circle to the right of Recent searches and tap Clear to clear all of your recent searches.
  4. 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.

Instagram

Instagram is owned by Facebook, so it loves keeping track of your data, too. Once again, it can be convenient but it’s good to clear your search data occasionally to save space on your phone or browser, and to 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:

  1. Open and log in to the Instagram app.
  2. 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.
  3. Tap on Settings, then Security.
  4. Under Data and History, select Clear Search History on an iPhone or Search History on an Android.
  5. You’ll be brought to a list of your recent searches. Tap the X next to individual searches to delete those one by one. Tap Clear All in the top right corner to delete them all at once.

Your Instagram search history is like your Facebook search history. If you clear the searches in mobile, or in your browser, you’ll clear it in the other.

Google Chrome

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:

  1. Open Google Chrome on your computer and click the More menu, the three dots on top of each other in the top right part of the browser.
  2. Mouse over the History menu, then click the History option at the top.
  3. To delete individual searches, click on the box to the left of different search listings and click Delete in the top right part of the window.
  4. 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 learn how to clear your search history from the Google website.

Firefox

To clear your search history in Firefox:

  1. Open Firefox and open the three-line menu.
  2. Click on History, then Clear Recent History… to delete all of your recent search data.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Edge

To clear your search history in Edge:

  1. Open Edge and click Settings and more… then Settings in the browser.
  2. Click on Privacy and services and find Clear browsing data.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Click Clear now and that data will be erased.

Safari

To clear your search history in Safari:

  1. Open Safari and click on the History menu tab at the top of your screen.
  2. Click Clear History on the pop-up menu that appears.
  3. Select how far back you want to delete. We recommend going back as far as possible.
  4. Click Ok and your browsing history will be deleted.
    • To delete certain searches, in the History tab select Show All History and delete items by clicking on them once, then tap the delete key on your keyboard.
  5. For mobile, open Settings, Safari, Advanced, Website Data, then Remove All Website Data.
    • This will delete all data, so be sure to bookmark what you want to keep before wiping everything.

Keep your next gift a surprise on a shared computer by clearing the search history on your browsers and on 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.

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