How to clear your YouTube history – a guide for all device types
What’s the YouTube history good for anyway? Your YouTube search history is a mirror of your search and video viewing behavior. It serves a very basic function, which is to optimize the YouTube user experience. Thanks to the collected data, YouTube can respond to users' interests and recommend related videos.
To minimize the amount of data YouTube collects about you, you can delete your YouTube search history regularly. The following guide reveals how this is done in the browser or in the Android and iOS mobile app.
- Clear YouTube search history – quick guide for browser and app
- How to clear your YouTube history: step by step
- Delete YouTube search history in a browser
- How to delete a YouTube history in-app (iOS/Android)
- Pause YouTube history
- YouTube: Permanently deactivate history – here’s how
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Clear YouTube search history – quick guide for browser and app
Here’s how to clear your search history from a browser:
- Sign into your account on the YouTube website.
- Click “History” in the left sidebar.
- Delete your current history on YouTube under “Clear all watch history”.
- To delete only the search history for a certain period, go to “Manage all history”.
- Open “Delete activity by” and set the time period to be deleted.
Select “Set up automatic deletions” if you want YouTube to delete your history automatically at intervals that suit your needs.
Here’s how to clear your search history in-app (Android/iOS)
- Open the YouTube app and click on your profile picture.
- Select “Settings”.
- Tap “History & Privacy”
- Clear your history with “Clear watch history”.
How to clear your YouTube history: step by step
In the following sections, you’ll find more detailed descriptions to clean up your YouTube history in browsers or using the YouTube app.
Delete YouTube search history in a browser
Step 1: Sign into YouTube
Sign into your YouTube user account.
Step 2: Call history
Select the “History” option in the left sidebar (under the three-dash icon) to access your YouTube playback history.
Step 3: Delete all YouTube history
Now delete your entire YouTube history via “Clear all watch history”. Skip this step if you only want to delete the history for a certain period of time.
Step 4: Open history settings
To delete select search periods or adjust the general settings for YouTube’s history behavior, go to “Manage all history”.
Step 5: “Delete activity by”
To delete your playback and search history for specific time periods, go to “Delete activity by”.
Step 6: Set the period to be deleted
Now, set the time period of the YouTube history you want to delete. Again, you can select the entire period, but shorter periods such as “Last hour” or “Last day” are also possible.
Step 7: Enable automatic deletion
To automatically delete your YouTube history at regular intervals, select “Set up automatic deletions” in the “Delete YouTube Activity” section.
Select whether Google should automatically delete your activities after 3, 18, or 36 months and confirm your selection via “Next”.
Find out how to not only clear your YouTube history, but how to delete your entire YouTube channel.
How to delete a YouTube history in-app (iOS/Android)
Step 1: Launch YouTube app and tap profile picture
Launch the YouTube app on your smartphone or tablet and sign into your account, if you haven't already. Open the user profile settings by pressing your profile picture.
Step 2: Open settings
Tap the “Settings” item in the menu.
Step 3: Open “History & privacy” options
In the next menu window, select the “History & privacy” option.
Step 4: Delete YouTube search history and playback history
Now, delete your entire YouTube history by tapping “Clear watch history” and “Clear search history” one by one.
Pause YouTube history
Want to prevent YouTube from analyzing and storing your user behavior? You can pause watch history permanently by selecting the corresponding option. You’ll find the corresponding option in “History & privacy” in the app and “History” in the browser.
YouTube isn’t the only channel where you should regularly clear your history. Popular YouTube alternatives like Twitch, Vimeo, TikTok, and Dailymotion also store user behavior data, which should be deleted on a regular basis.
YouTube: Permanently deactivate history – here’s how
To permanently disable your YouTube history, go to “History” in the left sidebar and “Saving activity” in the history menu.
Flip the blue switch to permanently disable YouTube history. You can switch the option back on at any time.