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Avast Academy Privacy Browser How to Clear Your Browser History

How to Clear Your Browser History

Your web history is an itemized record of each page you visit on the internet. All browsers log your history, and while this can be helpful, there are considerable privacy concerns if you never delete browsing history. Learn how to clear the history on all the most common browsers and platforms, and find out why a secure browser is your best option
for internet privacy.

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Learning how to clear web history is an important step towards greater internet privacy. It also makes your browser safer because it prevents against history sniffing, and helps it run a bit faster. No matter which browser and platform you use, we’ve got your browser deleting instructions right here:

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This article contains:

    Clear your browser history in Chrome

    If Google Chrome is your browser of choice, this is the section for you. You can choose to sync your Chrome data, including your history as well as bookmarks and stored passwords, across your various devices. If you’ve done that, you only need to clear your history once, and you’ll be all set. Otherwise, you’ll need to perform this process on each device you use Chrome on.

    On desktop

    It’s a pretty straightforward process to clear Chrome’s history on your desktop, and it’s essentially the same for both Windows 10 and macOS. Let’s get started.

    1. Open Chrome, then click the three dots in the upper-right corner.

      Opening the menu in Google Chrome for Windows 10

    2. Mouse over History, then on the new menu that appears, select History again.

      Opening the History in Google Chrome for Windows 10

    3. You’ll see a new tab. Here, select Clear browsing data from the menu on the left.

      The History in Google Chrome for Windows 10

    4. Another tab will open with a pop-up box. This is where you’ll actually see how to delete your history on Google Chrome. Ensure that the corresponding box for Browsing history is checked. You’ll also need to select the time range from the drop-down menu. To delete your entire Chrome history, choose All time.

      Clearing browsing data in Google Chrome

    5. Click Clear data to delete your Chrome history for the time period you selected. And you’re done!

    On iOS and Android

    Next, we’ll delete your Chrome browsing history on Android phones and iOS devices. The procedure is more or less the same on both operating systems, but with slight variations. Here, we use iOS as our example, but these steps are also applicable to Android as well.

    1. Open Chrome, then tap the three dots in the corner. In the menu that opens, tap History.

      Opening the Chrome menu in Google Chrome for iOS

    2. A list of your recently visited websites will open. iOS users can tap Edit at the bottom to select individual pages, while Android can tap the X next to each listing to delete them. To delete everything at once, tap Clear browsing data...

      Viewing the History in Google Chrome for iOS

    3. In the next screen, confirm that Browsing history is checked, then choose a time range to delete from the Time Range menu.

      Clearing your browser data in Google Chrome for iOS

    4. When you’re all set, tap Clear Browsing Data, or Clear data on Android, then confirm. And you’re done!

    Clear your browser history in Safari

    Safari is Apple’s own browser and comes stock with any Apple device, both desktop and mobile. Clearing your history in Safari is quite straightforward, so let’s get to it.

    1. Open the History menu and select Clear History.

      Opening the History menu in Safari for macOS

    2. Select how much of your history you’d like to delete, then click Clear History. There’s no confirmation, so be sure that you want to proceed before clicking.

      Clearing browsing history in Safari for macOS

    On iPhone and iPad

    Safari isn’t available for Android devices, so if you’ve got one of those, feel free to scroll down a bit. iOS users, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s delete that Safari browsing history.

    1. Open Safari on your iOS device, then tap the book icon along the bottom menu.

      Safari

    2. Tap the clock icon in the menu to access your History. To delete an individual listing, swipe left and tap Delete.

      History

    3. To delete in bulk, tap Clear in the bottom-right corner. Then, choose how much of your history you’d like to clear. Just like on desktop, there’s no opportunity to confirm your choice, so be sure that you’re choosing correctly.

      Clear History

    Clear your browser history in Avast Secure Browser

    When you use Avast Secure Browser, you’re taking a significant step towards controlling your privacy when you’re browsing the web. The built-in Privacy Cleaner makes it very easy to clear data from your browser. Avast Secure Browser also contains an ad blocker and extra protection against security threats like identity theft.

    On desktop

    Here’s how to delete your browser history in Avast Secure Browser for Windows 10:

    1. Open Avast Secure Browser and click the Avast icon Avast_icon in the upper-right corner.

      Opening the Security & Privacy Center in Avast Secure Browser for Windows 10

    2. In the Security & Privacy Center, find the Privacy Cleaner and click LAUNCH CLEANER.

      Opening the Privacy Cleaner from the Security & Privacy Center in Avast Secure Browser

    3. The Privacy Cleaner will pop up. Select the time range you’d like to delete from the drop-down menu, and make sure Browsing history is checked.

      Clearing browsing data in the Privacy Cleaner of Avast Secure Browser for Windows 10

    4. Click Clear data to complete the process.

    Clear your browser history in Microsoft Edge

    Just as Safari is the stock browser on Apple devices, so is Microsoft Edge on PCs running Windows 10. It’s Microsoft’s replacement for Internet Explorer after it was put out to pasture.

    On desktop

    If you’re a desktop Edge user, let’s delete your browsing history on Windows 10. As with other browsers, this process is on the simple side.

    1. Open Microsoft Edge, click the three dots to the right of the address bar, and then select History.

      Opening the menu in Microsoft Edge for Windows 10

    2. In the History menu, click Clear History (up at the top in blue lettering).

      Viewing the History in Microsoft Edge for Windows 10

    3. Confirm that there’s a check in the box for Browsing history, then click Clear — and that’s how to clear the history on Windows 10. If you like, you can configure Edge to clear your browser history every time you close the browser by switching the toggle at the bottom to On.

      Clearing browsing data in Microsoft Edge for Windows 10

    On iOS and Android

    Microsoft Edge is available for both iOS and Android mobile devices. Here’s how to clear your history on the iOS version. These steps should apply to the Android version as well.

    1. With Edge open, tap the three dots in the bottom of the screen.

      How to open the main menu in Microsoft Edge for iOS

    2. From the menu that opens up, select Settings.

      Choosing the Settings from the main menu of Microsoft Edge in Windows 10

    3. In the Settings menu, select Privacy and security.

      The Settings menu in Microsoft Edge for iOS

    4. Next, choose Clear browsing data.

      The Privacy and Security menu in Microsoft Edge for iOS

    5. Ensure that Browsing history is checked, then tap Clear browsing data.

      Clearing browsing data in Microsoft Edge for iOS

    6. Tap Clear to confirm, and say goodbye to your browsing history.

    Clear your browser history in Mozilla Firefox

    Mozilla Firefox is a popular open-source browser available on most devices and operating systems. Here, we show you how to clear your Firefox browsing history on both desktop and mobile.

    On desktop

    Firefox makes it convenient to delete both your browsing history as well as your search history from the same place. With Firefox open on your PC or Mac, perform the following steps:

    1. Click the Library icon — it looks like a minimalist stack of books — then select History from the drop-down menu.

      Opening the History in Mozilla Firefox for Windows 10

    2. Choose Clear Recent History...

      The History menu in Mozilla Firefox for Windows 10

    3. Confirm that Browsing & Download History is checked. If you want to also delete your search history, check Form & Search History as well. Next, choose your desired time range from the drop-down menu, then click Clear.

      Clearing browsing and search history in Mozilla Firefox for Windows 10

    On iOS

    If Firefox is your chosen browser on your iOS device, here’s what you need to do to clear your browsing history. Whip out your phone or tablet, and let’s get to clearing.

    1. With Firefox open, tap the menu icon in the lower-right corner.

      The menu interface for Firefox on iOS
    2. Tap Your Library.

      The menu in Mozilla Firefox in iOS.

    3. Tap History on the bottom menu bar. Then, tap Clear Recent History....

      The History menu in Mozilla Firefox for iOS.

    4. Select a time range to delete. We suggest you delete Everything. Once you tap, there’s no going back, so be sure you’re ready.

      Clearing recent browsing history in Mozilla Firefox for iOS.

    On Android

    Android Firefox fans can delete their browsing history by following the steps below:

    1. Tap the three dots in the upper-right corner.

      Opening the menu in Firefox for Android

    2. Tap History in the menu that opens up.

      Opening the History in Firefox for Android

    3. In the History menu, tap Clear Browsing History.

      Viewing the History in Firefox for Android

    4. Tap OK to delete your browsing history in Firefox for Android.

      Clearing the browsing history in Firefox for Android

    What does my browser history contain?

    All this talk about clearing and deleting, but what is browser history in the first place? Your browser history is a list of every web site you’ve accessed along with the dates and times of your visits. Every time you go to a new page, it’s logged in your history.

    Having such meticulous records can be helpful if you’re trying to find your way back to a useful page that you’ve forgotten. But since it contains so much information about your activity online, it’s also a very personal section of your browser.

    How to see your browser history

    If you’ve been following along this far, you already know how to see your browser history — all you need to do is access the History section of your browser. For any of the above browsers and devices, follow the same steps to navigate to your History menu. From there, you’ll be able to view your entire browsing history, reaching all the way back to when you last deleted it.

    Browser history vs. cookies: what's the difference?

    Your browser history and your browser’s cookies both relate to your internet activity, but in two different ways. As mentioned above, your browser history is a passive log of all the pages you visit. Your history won’t know what you did on those pages or how long you spent there — all it tells you is that you were there, and when.

    Cookies perform more involved functions. You’ve got several types, from simple cookies that simply remember your user preferences on a given site, to far more complex ones that can track your activity across the internet and feed this data back to people who want to learn about you.

    These tracking cookies are the most insidious type. Companies study your online activity so that they can market or advertise to you more effectively, adjust the prices you see for their products, or decide which content you get to see. When you clear your browser cookies, you temporarily close this window into your life that these companies have.

    But the next time you visit a site with one of their cookies on it, it’ll hop right back onto your browser. That’s why it’s also important to know how to disable browser cookies as well. This way, you’ll block them before they have a chance to get onto your device.

    Will my browser history really be deleted?

    When you go into your browser and clear its entire history, those records truly are gone — from a local point of view. If someone else gets their hands on your computer, there won’t be any way for them to see which websites you’ve been visiting.

    But the deletion stops at your device. Your internet provider may still be able to access your web activity, and there’s no way you can prevent that from happening within your browser. The same goes for your VPN provider, if you use one. Many VPN providers make a point of advertising that they don’t keep logs on their users, for this very reason.

    How can I fully protect my browsing history?

    Rather than wonder how to completely erase your browsing history, you can instead be proactive about your internet privacy with a private browser or a VPN. You can even combine both for the utmost level of personal data protection.

    Option 1: Use a private browser

    Every major browser gives you the option to use the internet privately. In Google Chrome, it’s called “Incognito,” and Firefox uses the term “Private Window” for this type of browsing. These private modes perform a few essential privacy-enhancing functions — most notably, they won’t log your history or store any cookies from each session — but for true online privacy, you’ll want to look at a secure private browser.

    Avast Secure Browser and other private browsers feature a range of features and tools designed to insulate you from anyone on the internet who might want to take a peek at your activity. Many will automatically block ads and tracking cookies from following you around as you surf, and they’ll also provide you with always-on HTTPS encryption to cover you on sites that still lack it.

    For situations in which near-absolute anonymity is a must — such as for political dissidents or whistleblowers — the Tor Browser encrypts and relays traffic through multiple servers so that its origin is largely untraceable.

    Option 2: Use a VPN

    If you’re happy with your current browser but still want some control over who can see what you’re doing on the internet, consider getting a VPN. A VPN is an encrypted connection to the internet that locks down your traffic and hides it from prying eyes.

    Avast SecureLine VPN encrypts your all your internet traffic through one of our many lightning-fast servers located all around the world. While a VPN won’t protect your browser history, it will hide your online activity more thoroughly, as not even your internet provider will be able to see exactly what you’re doing.

    Browse anonymously from the start

    There’s a lot more to internet privacy than the contents of your browser history. Avast Secure Browser is equipped with a suite of tools that you can use to craft an internet experience that’s tailored to your privacy needs. With just a single click, the inbuilt Privacy Cleaner will wipe your browser history along with anything else someone could use to snoop on your activity, including cached images, cookies, and other unwanted files.

    But when it comes to giving you total control over your online privacy and security, Privacy Cleaner is just the beginning. Avast Secure Browser’s built-in Adblock, Anti-Phishing, Anti-Fingerprinting, and Anti-Tracking tools prevent cybercriminals and marketers alike from getting their hands on your personal data and online activity.

    And with automatic HTTPS encryption, your data will be protected from eavesdroppers on any website you visit. Next time you go online, use a browser designed with your privacy as its top priority.

    Connect privately on your iPhone
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    Connect privately on your Android
    with Avast SecureLine VPN

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