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By now, you're probably already aware that Google knows absolutely everything about you; from your favourite site to watch TV shows online to where you plan on booking a vacation after lockdown.
But how does Google know you better than you know yourself?
Every time a Google Account user searches for something on Google.com, the search engine giant builds a profile of them based on their search history, as well as their browsing history on Google-owned sites.
Google then uses that data to build advertising profiles so that it can display advertisements tailored to its users.
To make matters worse, Google has been storing search data and activities from its users in databases since it started using web histories back in 2005. With that being said, privacy is important, and if you plan on keeping your searches hidden from others, deleting sensitive information from your Google history is vital.
In this guide, we will explain how to delete your Google browsing history, browsing data, and activity on PC, Android and even Apple devices.
What Google Knows About You
What Is Google History?
Your Google History is essentially a record of everything that you have searched for or clicked on when browsing the web (Google.com).
While you can clear your local Google browser history, it is important to note that Google automatically keeps a record of everything you search for.
So even if you clear your local Google search history, it won't clear the information that Google stores.
Who Can See My Google History?
Unless someone else has access to your Google Account or device, only you (the user) can view your Google History. With that being said, many parties can track your online activity, including your Internet Service Provider (ISP).
While your ISP cannot directly view your Google History, they can track and even profit from your browsing data. They can also save your data for over a year depending on local laws.
Can I Permanently Delete My Google Browsing History?
Despite the fact that most Google Account users already know how to erase their browsing history, removing your digital footprint is practically impossible, even if you go incognito.
If you're logged into a Google Account on your device, Google will automatically store a record of everything you search for on Google.com.
If you want to protect your privacy online, we highly recommend using a quality VPN service to hide your IP address and internet activity from your web browser.
Does Google Sell Customer Data?
According to Google's Safety Centre, Google does not sell your personal information to anyone. Instead, the company claims to only use data to serve relevant ads in Google products, mobile apps and on Google partner sites.
Be that as it may, nobody outside of the company really knows how Google processes or profits from your data, though we do understand how it is collected.
How to Download Data You Want to Keep
Before you regret deleting your entire Google history, you may want to download and keep specific items for future reference, such as emails and downloads.
Given that you can't restore deleted files, this must be done before you delete your Google data.
- Head to the Google Takeout homepage.
- Click Deselect all.
- Check all of the items you want to download.
- Once you have selected all of the items you want to keep, scroll to the bottom of the page and click Next step.
- Click “Send download link via email” and select a Delivery method from the drop-down menu.
- Choose a frequency. You can choose to export once or every 2 months for 1 year (6 exports).
- Click “.zip” and select a File type from the drop-down menu. You can choose between .zip or .tgz.
- Click “2 GB” and select a File size from the drop-down menu. This ranges from 1 GB to 50 GB.
- Click Create export.
- Click on the Download button next to each item/product you want to keep.
How to Delete Your Chrome Browsing History Forever on PC
View Your Google History on PC
- Open Chrome on your PC.
- Click on the More menu (three vertical dots)
- Click on History > History. Alternatively, press Ctrl + H to instantly open your Chrome History.
Clear Your Google History on PC
- Select "Clear browsing data" on the left-hand side of the screen.
- In the drop-down menu, select how much data you want to delete next to "Time range".
- To clear all of your Google History, select "All time" from the drop-down menu.
- Check the boxes for the data you want Chrome to delete, for instance, "Browsing history".
- To remove everything from your Google history, select the Advanced subheading and check all the boxes.
- Once you're finished, click on the blue "Clear data" button.
How to Delete an Individual Item From Your Google Browsing History on PC
Deleting an individual item or specific items from your Google History is very straightforward. All you have to do is head to your Google History (Ctrl + H), check the box next to an item that you want to remove and click Delete at the top right-hand corner of the window. You can even search for specific words using the handy history search bar.
How to Delete Your Chrome Browsing History Forever on Android
View Your Google History on Android
- Open the Chrome app on your Android device.
- Tap on the three vertical dots in the top right-hand corner of the screen
- Clicking on it opens the More menu.
- Select "History" from the drop-down menu.
Clear Your Google History on Android
- Tap "Clear browsing data..." at the top of the screen.
- Select how much data you want to delete in the drop-down menu next to "Time range".
- Select "Browsing history" and any other data you want to delete from your Google History.
- For more options, click on the "Advanced" subheading.
- Tap on the "Clear data" button in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen.
How to Delete Your Chrome Browsing History Forever on iPhone and iPad
View Your Google History on iPhone and iPad
- Open the Chrome application on your Apple device (iPhone or iPad).
- At the bottom right of the screen, select the three vertical dots to open the Chrome menu.
Clear Your Google History on iPhone and iPad
- At the bottom of the History window, select Clear Browsing Data.
- Check the Browsing History box if it is not already checked by default.
- Check any other items that you want to remove from your Google history.
- Select Clear Browsing Data > Clear Browsing Data to clear your Google History on your iPhone or iPad.
- Tap Done in the top right of the screen.
How to Delete Your Google Activity on PC
Whenever you use a Google service such as Google Chrome or YouTube, your activity is automatically saved as data to your Google Account. This is done to make your experience useful and much faster.
While it can be beneficial, you may not want Google to save everything you watch or search for online. Fortunately, you can delete all of your past activities, searches and browsing history in My Activity.
- Open Google Chrome on your computer.
- If you're logged out, sign in to your Google Account.
- Click on your profile icon in the top right-hand corner of the window.
- Alternatively, head to myaccount.google.com.
- Click on the Data & personalization subheading.
- Under the Activity and timeline subheading, select My Activity.
- Click on the three vertical dots found in the "Search your activity" search bar.
- Select "Delete activity by" from the drop-down menu.
- Select All time from the drop-down menu.
- Click Next > Delete.
How to Delete Other Activity Saved to Your Google Account
Even after you delete your Google Activity, there may still be activity saved in other places on your account. For instance, if you haven't paused your YouTube History, it will automatically save to your Google Activity timeline. Luckily, you can delete almost all of the activity saved to your Google Activity, Maps Timeline and Web & App Activity.
- Head to Google Chrome on your computer and go to your Google Account.
- Click Data & personalization > My Activity.
- Click on the More icon (three vertical dots) found in the "Search your activity" search bar.
- Select Other Google Activity.
- In this page you can do a few things:
- Manage your Google activity.
- Delete your Google activity.
How to Stop Saving Activity
- Open Google Chrome on your PC and head to your Google Account.
- Click on Data & personalization.
- Click Manage your activity controls under Activity Controls.
- Turn off all the activity that you do not want to save in your Google Account.
How to Clear Your Browsing Data on PC
Before you go ahead and clear your browsing data on your computer, it must be noted that some data does not get deleted during this process. This includes extensions, search history and other activity.
That being said, this data can be deleted separately as previously mentioned in the steps above.
Data that can be deleted when you clear your Google browsing data includes browsing history, download history, cookies, passwords, cached images and files.
- Open Chrome on your computer.
- Click on the three vertical dots in the top right-hand corner to open the More menu.
- Click More tools > Clear browsing data.
- Pick a time range. If you want to delete everything, select All time.
- Choose the type of information you would like to remove.
- Click Clear data.
If you sync a specific type of data across all of your devices, deleting it on your PC will delete it everywhere it is synced.