YouTube remembers every video that we watch, so it can quickly recommend specific videos to watch and replay. At first, this sounds great! If you forgot to save a video to a playlist but want to bring it back up later, you can go straight to your history and retrieve it.
But then we start getting “browser history” paranoia. Suddenly we find ourselves wishing we could also clear our YouTube history. Whether it’s because you don’t want other people to see what you’re watching or because you want to reset YouTube’s video suggestions, clearing your history is super easy to do.
How to Clear Your YouTube Search and Watch Data
If you sign in to YouTube with your Gmail account, YouTube saves and stores your watch history. Once you delete your history, it means you have permanently removed all details of watched videos from the site. Your Google account won’t hold on to the information.
You can completely erase your YouTube search history with one mighty swipe, both on the iOS and Android mobile apps and your desktop or laptop.
How to Clear Your YouTube History from the Website
Learning how to clear your history directly from the YouTube desktop website will make figuring out how to do the same on the smartphone app a breeze. The two methods are practically identical.
- Go to YouTube and sign in with your account.
- Go to the left-hand side screen menu.
- Click on “History.” You will now see every video stored in your history queue.
- On the right-hand side of the screen, select the option to “Clear All Watch History.” Click this option again to confirm.
If you don’t want to clear the history altogether, click on the “X” that appears next to specific video titles. It will delete the history of the specific video.
You may also notice an option to “Pause Watch History.” This won’t clear your history, but it will prevent YouTube from saving every video you watch to your history queue.
When you delete your video history from YouTube, it will not delete the browser history of that video. If you want to be extra thorough, clear your browser history directly after clearing your YouTube history.
How to Clear Your Mobile App YouTube History
- Open the YouTube app from your home screen.
- On the bottom corner of the screen (right side), tap on the Library icon. It resembles a file folder.
- Select the “History” option.
- Tap the three vertically-stacked dots or lines. You will find them in the upper corner of the screen (right-hand side of the search icon).
- Select “History Controls.”
- Next, go to “History & Privacy.”
- Tap on “Clear Watch History.” If you want to clear your search history, select “Clear Search History” instead.
- Confirm that you want to delete your watch history on all devices where your account is signed in.
If you wish to clear single videos from the search history rather than delete everything, tap on the three dots found next to a specific video title and choose “Remove the Watch History.”
Use the App’s Incognito Mode for Temporary Refuge
Android’s YouTube App features Incognito Mode, which can temporarily prevent YouTube from preserving the user’s watch history. This feature is useless if you have already watched the videos, so you’ll have to turn it on first before starting your viewing session.
- In your YouTube app, select your profile name.
- Scroll down the menu until you find “Turn on Incognito.” Your account icon will now appear as the Incognito icon.
- To turn off Incognito mode, tap the icon. On the pop-up menu, select “Turn off Incognito.”
YouTube Deletes Your Watch History But Still Uses It
Although you may delete your watch history from your YouTube account, it will still use the analytics it gathered from your activity to recommend videos to you. It may not be as many videos, but bits and pieces of data will linger.
Though holding onto your YouTube watch history may not pose an incredible threat to your safety and security, clearing it from time to time couldn’t hurt. Just remember the old saying, “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.” Once you wipe your history, you cannot restore it.