How to delete your Google search Web History

Google can keep track of everything you've ever searched for using their Web History service, even if you've cleared the browser history on your iPhone, iPad, or PC. Now that Google is changing their privacy policy -- which some view as an excellent simplification and standardization and others see as a disturbing data grab -- it means your search results won't be kept separately but potentially shared with each and every other Google service.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has this to say:

Until now, your Google Web History (your Google searches and sites visited) was cordoned off from Google's other products. This protection was especially important because search data can reveal particularly sensitive information about you, including facts about your location, interests, age, sexual orientation, religion, health concerns, and more. If you want to keep Google from combining your Web History with the data they have gathered about you in their other products, such as YouTube or Google Plus, you may want to remove all items from your Web History and stop your Web History from being recorded in the future.

If you choose to disable Google Web History, here's how:

  1. Log into your Google account
  2. Go to https://myactivity.google.com/
  3. Tap on Remove all Web History

Once you remove your Google Web History, Google will also stop recording it going forward (unless or until you re-enable it via the same page).

Google has been under increased scrutiny lately when it comes to online user privacy, for the heavy handed way they've used Search and Gmail to push their social networks like Google Buzz and Google+, and more recently for the discovery they've been circumventing Safari's third party cookie protection.

Rene Ritchie
Contributor

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

24 Comments
  • Done! Thanks for posting this.
  • Although I will take advantage of this great tip I am always torn between my privacy concerns and the true benefits that would be generated by allowing the process to continue. The balance of concern and convenience is skewed when an "evil" thumb is applied.
  • great information but how do you remove the google browsing history if you don't have an account with google. I have used google as my search engine for several years but never created an account with them.
  • Never had it enabled to begin with. I don't trust Google. But thanks for reminding me to check and insure it was never enabled by Google, somehow.
  • Thanks for the heads up. Forwarding this article to others....
  • Good stuff. Bing here I come.
  • Removed. Thanks for the tip!
    By the way, we're using DuckDuckGo.com as much as possible for searches now. Far less spammy, and they claim they don't track anyone. And there's a free iOS app too.
  • Cool story, thanks.
  • What if you don't have a Google account? Can Google still keep track of your search history?
  • Thanks, just emptied mine.
  • Yeah you can remove it but google still have it as pointed out here http://support.google.com/accounts/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=54052
    'However, as is common practice in the industry, and as outlined in the Google Privacy Policy, Google maintains a separate logs system for auditing purposes and to help us improve the quality of our services for users.'
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