If your online browser could be a person, it could reveal some shocking things about you. Anytime you search the internet for something, your browser records that query and stores it. What you didn’t know is that the search engine also stores that information in a server located in a remote area somewhere. Because of this reason, most people never completely delete their online history.
You might think that clearing your browser history gets rid of everything that you searched online, but it doesn’t. All it does is clear the information stored on your browser and computer, the data stored in the search engine’s servers remain untouched. So, how can you effectively delete all your online history?
The process is actually simpler than you think. To explain the procedure, we shall look at how you can delete your Google browsing history.
Search ‘my activity Google’ on Google.
Choose the first search result and sign in to your Google account.
Once your’re in, you will notice a vertical ellipsis or three dots on the top right corner. Click on it.
A drop down menu should appear. Once that happens, scroll down and select ‘delete activity by’.
It will give you options on what type of information you can delete. On the ‘select by date’ choice, change from ‘Today’ to ‘All time’. Then, just below the ‘all products’ alternative, there’s a ‘Delete’ button, click on it.
A pop-up should appear explaining to you how Google uses your information to benefit you. Since you want to clear all traces of your browsing activity, just click ‘OK’ and continue with the process.
Another pop-up will surface telling you how Google erases your data. The window contains two options: Cancel and Delete. Google does this to make sure that you’re fully aware of what’s about to happen – once the data is gone, it can’t be recovered. Select ‘Delete’ and get rid of all the information that Google has stored about you. The page should read ‘No activity’ as proof that everything has been erased.
After Deleting Your Google History, What Now?
Well, you can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again; therefore, you have to stop Google from saving your searches. To do it effectively, follow the following procedures:
On the ‘my activity’ page, click on the top right ellipsis.
Select the ‘activity controls’ option.
Scroll down, you should see a ‘Web & App Activity’ section. On it, you will see a blue scroll button, click on it.
A pop-up should appear asking you if you want to pause your ‘Web & App Activity’. Click on ‘pause’ to stop Google from saving your online searches.
Apart from Google, other sites that you visit also save your information for marketing purposes. Below are further examples of how you can delete your online history from Twitter and Facebook.
How to Delete Your Twitter History
Log into your Twitter account.
Click on the magnifying glass search icon.
A drop down menu should appear with a ‘recent searches’ option. Next to it, there will be an ‘x’ symbol. Click on it to get rid of all your queries on Twitter.
Since the search history differs from the location data, you’ll have to follow a different procedure to get rid of that data also. In that case, use the following steps:
- On the top right, click on the profile menu.
- On the drop down list, select settings.
- Once it opens, go to the security and privacy tab.
- You will see a box checked with the option: Add a location to my tweets. Uncheck it to stop Twitter from tracking your location.
- Below the ‘Tweet location’ option, there is a button that let’s you delete all that information. Click on it to get rid of the location data.
How to Delete Your Facebook History
- Log into your account.
- On the top right, you’ll see an upside-down triangle, click on it.
- A drop down menu will appear. Click on the activity log.
- You should see options such as Photos, Likes and Comments, and just below it, there’ll be a ‘more links’ section. Click on it.
- Another drop-down list will appear. Scroll down and go to ‘search link’.
- The ‘search link’ shows you all Facebook searches that you’ve ever made and arranges them by date. Look for the ‘clear searches’ link and click on it to get rid of all history.
Other Ways to Delete Your Online History
- Clear the Web History of Your Web Service and Shopping Accounts
If you’ve an online shopping account from a certain website, then your online information is still stored somewhere. Luckily, all these accounts have a settings section on the top right corner of the page that allows you adjust your security & privacy. Click on that section and find the ‘clear history or searches’ option. Once you are done with clearing your search history, find out if the site gives you an alternative to stop them from tracking your activity and choose it. Finally, if you haven’t used the site in a while, it’s wise to deactivate or delete it.
- Contact Data Brokers
If you didn’t know, there are some companies that can collect your data from public records and post it on the internet for anyone to see. Such firms are known as data brokers. They will also collect data on everything you do online and sell it to interested parties. To find out if your data might have been leaked without your knowledge, just do a random search of your name and see if it appears on any other site apart from the ones you know about. If it happens that your data is on a site that you don’t know, contact that site’s administrator and ask them to take down that information. Alternatively, you could send a message to your search engine and request them to remove that data on the website.
Deleting all your online history is a lengthy process that can sometimes take you days or weeks. To ease the burden on yourself, you can opt to use a VPN service such as Surfshark anytime that you use the to get online. VPNs are fast and allow you to surf the web anonymously.