How to delete your Google history and data

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How to delete your Google history and data

It’s probably safe to say Google knows us better than even our closest friends and relatives. Seriously, the Search Giant stores all the internet history that goes through any of their products or services. And that is saying a lot, considering Google is pretty much everywhere.

Thankfully, they are also pretty transparent about your data and let you know everything they have. You are also allowed to delete what they know about you, if you so choose. In this post we will show you exactly how that is done.

Should you delete your Google history and data?

We understand a company knowing so much about you can be concerning. It can be assumed most of you would want to delete your Google history due to privacy concerns. We can see why! Taking a quick look at my history, I can see they have my whole browsing, location, app, YouTube and device information, among other things.

But while clearing your Google history may help you sleep better at night, it will also aggravate your online experience during your waking hours. This is because Google utilizes all this data to make things more convenient for you.

Have you ever gotten a Google Now traffic notification before heading to work? Or seen your plane ticket information being pulled from an email? Does Google Maps know where you work and live, making it easier to navigate? All of that may be gone. Even simple things like search recommendations will become less accurate.

And that is only the tip of the iceberg; all Google services work together to make your usage as seamless and convenient as possible. But the truth is they probably do also use your data for things you won’t like so much. It’s up to you whether you want to sacrifice convenience for privacy.

How to look at your Google data

Taking a look at everything Google knows about you is pretty simple. All you have to do is go to Google’s history page. If you are signed into your Google account, you will be presented with all your information.

How to look at your Google data

There are multiple sections in this page. Here they are:

  • Web & App History
  • Voice & Audio Activity
  • Device Information
  • Location History
  • YouTube Watch History
  • YouTube Search History

Look through them – there’s actually pretty interesting stuff in there. I love looking at my location history, for example. Google seriously knows where you have been at all times. It’s interesting to look at the maps with all your locations… but it is also a bit freaky.

Note: When taking a look at disabling or deleting your history, keep in mind the sections listed above are treated differently. If you want to delete ALL your history, you must repeat the process for each one of them. This means you must delete data from the Web & App History, then delete it from the Voice & Audio Activity and so on. 

How to disable your Google history

Maybe you don’t want to delete your history forever. You just want it to stay inactive for a while, then reactivate it to keep enjoying everything Google has to offer. If this is the case, you can simply disable it and be on your way.

  • Go to your Google history page from any browser.
  • Click on the data section you want disabled. (e.g. Location History).
  • Select the 3-dot menu button located on the top-right corner of the page.
  • Select “Settings”.
  • You will find a switch next to the writing “Your searches and browsing activity”. Toggle it off.
  • You will get a warning telling you some information about what this action may cause.
  • Select “Pause” if you still want to go through with this.
  • Repeat the process for each of the history sections you want to disable. Or from any of the Settings pages, select “SHOW MORE CONTROLS” and toggle them all off.

Google Activity Control

How to delete your Google history

Now, if you are sure of what you are doing and really want it all gone, here are the necessary steps for deleting all your Google data.

  • Go to your the Google history page from any browser.
  • Click on the data section you want disabled. (e.g. Location History).
  • Select the 3-dot menu button located on the top-right corner of the page.
  • Select “Delete options”.
  • You can pick whether you want to delete data from today or yesterday. Selecting “Advanced” will allow you to delete the past 4 weeks of activity. But if you really want every single trace of information to disappear you can choose “All time”.
  • Make your selection and click on “Delete”.
  • Confirm your selection.
  • Repeat the process for each of the history sections you want to delete.

Web App Activity

It should also be noted that deleting your history won’t make you completely invisible to Google. If you have a Google account to use services like Gmail, YouTube or any others, you’re being tracked.

There you have it. That’s all you need to do to start fresh. All your Google data is now gone and your privacy is safe. Enjoy!