By default, Google records and stores your YouTube viewing and search history. Along with your web search queries, the internet giant gathers and uses this personal data to enhance targeted advertising methods which are in turn directed back at you – the user.
Your viewing and video search history is likewise aggregated to display recommended content and channels on your YouTube account homepage, and this can potentially lead to an embarrassing moment when you have your account homepage open in the presence of others.
If you think that your YouTube viewing and search history is much too private to be used for behavioural advertising in Google ads as well as ads of Google’s partners, we recommend taking no more than two minutes to remove the history from your account.
It’s important to note that having your viewing and search history disabled will only partially anonymise your data, in a sense that it will not be used to build a targeted profile based on your browsing habits. However, if the main purpose is to avoid your user data being collected by law enforcement agemcies through backdoors and data retention policies, it is recommended to use a new, non-personally identifiable Google account together with a VPN service (to mask your IP location).
To help you do clear you search and view history, we have prepared the following tutorial, in which we will also show how to pause the logs altogether.
How to clear YouTube view history
Step 1: Go to account History
Head to the account History page using the navigation menu located in the left sidebar. Here you will see the full list of videos that have been watched while signed in to your Google/YouTube account.
Next, choose Clear all watch history (highlighted in green below).
If you would rather delete only certain videos from your watch history, you can do so by clicking the x button located to the right of each video.
Step 2: Confirm to clear all watch history
Out of the two options in the popup, choose Clear all watch history to confirm its deletion:
Step 3: Pause watch history
You will now see that the list is empty with a message saying “This list has no videos”.
But to prevent YouTube from saving your viewing history going forward, it is recommended to click Pause watch history. This button is located next to the earlier-used option for clearing watch history:
How to clear YouTube search history
Step 1: Open Search history tab
Click on the Search history tab which is located below the search bar, next to the Watch History tab.
In this section you will see a log of all your YouTube search queries.
As with the steps taken to delete your watch history, click the analogous button labeled Clear all search history.
Step 2: Confirm to Clear all search history
When you see the popup, click Clear all search history to confirm deletion of the logs:
Step 3: Pause search history
You will now see that the list has been successfully cleared. If you don’t see it cleared immediately, refreshing the page should do the trick.
Although the watch history will now be paused, YouTube will still continue to log your search queries unless the process is paused within the search history tab as well. To do this, simply click the Pause search history button as highlighted in the screenshot below.
Your YouTube viewing and search history will no longer be logged, and when you next access the History section after some streaming, the history logs will remain empty.