How to view and delete your browsing history in all browser types

Shopping for Christmas presents online and want to keep your shop visits secret from your family? Don’t want your browser to save information you’ve entered into an online form? Clearing your browser history is the solution! We show you how.

No matter what browser you use, you can clear the history in a few clicks

What is your browser history?

When you use an internet browser to visit a website, it keeps a record of your visit. This not only applies to an internet browser on your computer, but on mobile devices such as smartphones as well. This record of visited websites is known as your “history”, “browsing history” or “browser history”. The history contains the names and URLs of the sites visited, and is usually organized by date. Most browsers save this information by default because it helps users quickly find and return to pages they have visited in the past.

Why clear your browser history?

Sometimes there are reasons that you may want to delete your browser history:
  • Browser is slow: If you don't clear your browsing history regularly, it will log the web pages you have visited for weeks or even months. This can lead to too much information being stored over time and your browser slowing down.
  • Privacy: If other people have access to your computer or tablet, they can go to your browser history to see what websites you’ve visited recently. Clearing the history can protect your privacy, especially if you are using a public computer.
  • Data risk: If your computer is hacked, the hackers can gain information about you from your browsing history, like where you have online accounts. This is especially dangerous if you have any active logins.

Does private or incognito browsing save history?

Most web browsers offer an Incognito or Private browsing mode that keeps your browsing history private without you having to manually delete it. If you are browsing in this mode, once you exit all your Private or Incognito browsing windows, the browser will not save your browsing history, website cookies, or data you entered into forms while in this mode. However, even though your activity won’t be logged on your device, private browsing does not keep your internet service provider (ISP) or the operator of your network – like your employer or school – from seeing where you’ve been. Bookmarks you save while in private or incognito mode won’t be deleted when you exit that mode. Any files you download will not be visible in your browser, but they will still be saved in your computer’s Download file.
 
Young woman sits at desk in home office and looks at laptop
No matter what browser you use, you can clear the history in a few clicks

How to view and delete your history

To view or delete your browser history, head to your web browser’s settings. Generally, there will be a tab or category called “History” where you can view a list of all websites you have visited, organized by date. There are often options here to clear your entire history or to delete individual sites or dates from the list. In addition, some browsers will offer a “Delete history” option under the Privacy or Security section of their settings. You should be able to choose between deleting your entire history or deleting a specific period, and there will also be options for clearing cookies and your cache as well. Since the process differs from browser to browser, we have listed the steps for specific browsers in the table below.

How to delete the browsing history in your browser:

Delete history in Google Chrome
  1. Click the three dots in the menu bar in the top right corner.
  2. Open History menu item
  3. Go to Clear browser data
  4. To clear all history, select the period Total time
  5. Alternatively, you can select another time period, such as the last hour
  6. Check the Browsing History box
  7. Click Clear Data
Delete history in Mozilla Firefox
  1. Open menu at the top right (three horizontal bars)
  2. Click Settings > Privacy & Security
  3.  Scroll down to History and click Clear History… to open a menu
  4. Set the time range to Everything and select Browsing & Download History
  5. Click OK to confirm
 
Note: If you’d like to view your browsing and search history, in the top right menu click History > Manage history to open the Library window
 
Delete history in Microsoft Edge
  1. Click on the three dots in the menu bar at the top right
  2. Go to Settings > Privacy, search, and services
  3. Scroll down to Clear browsing data and click Choose what to clear
  4. Set time range to All time and select Browsing history and Download history
  5. Click Clear now to delete your history
 
Note: To view your browsing history, in the top right browser menu select History, then in that window’s menu select Open history page. Here you can also delete individual web pages from your browsing history.
 
Delete history in Opera
  1. Go to History (clock icon) in the sidebar
  2. Click Clear browser data
  3. Define the time period and check the Browsing history box.
  4. Click the Delete data button.
 
Note: In Opera Mini you’ll find the Delete browser data option in the Settings menu
 
Delete history in Safari on MacBook
  1. Click Safari in the top menu bar
  2. Find Clear History in the expanded menu.
  3. Alternatively, click History > Clear History and Website Data
  4. Select the time period and confirm by clicking Clear History
Clear history on iPhone or iPad
  1. Open your Settings
  2. Scroll to Safari and tap to open
  3. Scroll to Clear History and Website Data and select
  4. Confirm by tapping Clear History and Data
 
Note: It is not possible to delete your browsing history without also deleting cookies
 
 
We hope you found this information useful! We look forward to your feedback below!

Images: 1&1/Shutterstock
 

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