How to delete YouTube search history

When you sign into YouTube with your Google account, YouTube keeps a record of everything you do on the site: What you watched, what you searched, even what you previewed. This allows the site to recommend new videos based on your tastes. But YouTube is a part of Google, raising questions about who has access to your data. If you want to clear your search history, YouTube is a good place to start.

Note that clearing this history means it’s only cleared from your device or browser; your data will still be stored on YouTube’s (or Google’s) servers.

How to clear YouTube history

  1. Visit YouTube, and log in.
  2. Click the three bars in the upper corner to open the YouTube menu.
  3. Select History.
  4. From here, you can either delete individual videos or your entire watch history.

Clearing both watch history and search history will remove recommended videos on the YouTube homepage. However, it will not clear favorited videos, or channels you subscribe to.

Clearing YouTube history—advanced options

If you want to do a more thorough sweep of your YouTube search history, try clearing history in the YouTube mobile apps, and on both your mobile and desktop browsers.

Clearing search history in the YouTube app

  1. Open the YouTube app, and open Settings.
  2. Tap the Library icon.
  3. Select History Settings, then clear search history or your entire watch history.

Clearing YouTube search history on your computer

To delete your YouTube watch and search history on your laptop or desktop:

  1. Open YouTube in your browser.
  2. Open the Settings menu.
  3. Click History.
  4. Click Clear all Watch History and / or Clear all Search History.

Using Incognito Mode

In the future, you can avoid having to delete your YouTube history by watching videos in Incognito mode, which is available in both the mobile apps and as a browser viewing option. To select this from the YouTube app:

  1. Tap your account.
  2. Tap the Settings menu.
  3. Turn on Incognito.

Note that you can also pause your watch history or search history instead. To do this in your desktop browser:

  1. Open your browser and visit youtube.com.
  2. Click History.
  3. Click Pause Watch History or Pause Search History, and select Pause.

To pause watch history or search history in the iPhone app:

  1. Open the YouTube app.
  2. Tap Library.
  3. Tap History.
  4. Toggle on either Pause Watch History, Pause Search History, or both.

Advanced options: the “Your Data in YouTube” menu

If you’re logged in to YouTube, click your profile picture to open the Settings menu and find the Your Data in YouTube option. From here, you’ll have a number of options to control what info YouTube tracks. Among those are:

  • Manage your YouTube Watch History (to tell YouTube whether to remember what you watched, or to remember but then periodically auto-delete this watch history).
  • Manage your YouTube Search History (to tell YouTube whether to remember your searches at all, or to remember them but then periodically auto-delete).

Your Data in YouTube also lets you make some Google-wide data choices, such as location history and ad settings.

Block YouTube history altogether

If you’re uncomfortable with how much info Google collects about you, consider switching to a browser like Brave, and watching YouTube in Brave instead. Brave pushes back against the surveillance economy that sells your search history across the Internet. Brave automatically blocks trackers and YouTube ads via Brave Shields.

Brave is a free download, and it only takes 60 seconds to switch.

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