How to clear your Google search and location history


Google has given users a new, easier way to clear their search history. Here’s how it works.

By now, search giant Google has spread its influence all across the world wide web. It’s already the most popular search engine in the world — by a considerable margin at that — and it’s also the default search engine for the huge number of mobile users sporting Android devices. Despite user familarity, however, for the longest time, the simple action of clearing a device’s search and location history was a relatively complicated task. Fortunately, Google has recently revamped the procedure, and we’ve got details on the new method for deleting or otherwise clearing a user’s search history.


How to clear all Google search history

The new procedure for clearing out Google search and location history involves a new menu (“hamburger”) button that can be found in mobile and some desktop versions of Chrome. Simply click the menu button, scroll down to Your data in Search, click on either Delete last hour or Delete all search activity, then click Delete to finalize the process.

The updated procedure for clearing Google search history.
The updated procedure for clearing Google search history.

This updated procedure is so new that, for now, it’s only available on select desktop and mobile internet browsers. And, because nothing can be easy in this world, the procedure isn’t identical across different web browsers: those who use Firefox or other browsers will instead find the new deletion tool by making a simple Google search, then clicking on Settings, and finally History.

How to clear Google search history in Firefox.
How to clear Google search history in Firefox.

These methods will clear users’ previous search queries, but they won’t necessarily clear all of Google’s stored data. Here’s some more information on stored data policies, as provided on the final Delete your Search activity landing page from the aforementioned procedure:

Learn how Google deletes your data and what data Google keeps and why. For example, after you delete a specific Google search from My Activity, we’ll delete what you searched for, but we might keep information about how often you search for things. We do this to help us understand how people interact with features, which can help us improve our services.

“If you don’t want Google to save your Search activity to your Google Account, turn off Web & App Activity. Doing so will affect all Google services that rely on Web & App Activity to offer you personalized services.”


How to clear Google location history

Unlike with general searches, Google hasn’t provided an updated way to clear location history. Instead, users can turn on or off their location history by making use of the Google Account menu within an Android device’s settings menu. For the record, that’s Settings, Google, Google Account, Data & personalization, then Location History. From there, the process involves tapping Manage Timeline, going to Settings within Google Maps, then choosing to Delete Location History.

More information on this procedure, plus some additional details about the kind of location-based information Google stores as well as how the company might use it, can be found over on the Google Support website. For more mobile-oriented news, guides, and more, be sure to check out the Modojo @ Shacknews home page.

Kevin Tucker is a core component of Shacknews’ powerful guide development team. For questions, concerns, tips, or to share constructive criticism, he can be reached on Twitter @dukeofgnar or through e-mail at [email protected].

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