How to delete your YouTube viewing and search history

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.

YouTube recommended videos
YouTube uses your viewing and search history to display recommended content on your account homepage.

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.

YouTube watch history
Watch history

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:

YouTube clear all watch history
Clear watch history

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:

YouTube pause watch history
Pause 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.

YouTube search history
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:

YouTube clear all search history
Clear search history

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.

YouTube pause search history
Pause search history

Done!

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.

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