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How to clear history on iPhone or iPad

7 min read

Clearing your iPhone’s browsing history once in a while is a good idea because it helps protect your privacy and makes your device run better. So if you’re looking for instructions on how to delete history on iPad and iPhone, this guide is for you. We’ll cover Safari, Google Chrome, and Siri search history. Let’s dive right in.

How to clear history on Safari in iPhone or iPad

It’s easy to clear search history iPhone on Safari. You can delete your browsing history for just one site or for all of your iOS devices that are synced. We’ll show you how.

How to clear all history on Safari

  1. Go to Settings on your iPhone or iPad and scroll down the list of apps until you see Safari. Tap it to get to the browser’s settings
  2. Scroll down until you see Clear History and Website Data
  3. Tap on it and confirm your decision. 

How to erase history of individual websites on Safari

  1. Open Safari
  2. Locate the Bookmarks icon (see the open book icon at the bottom of the screen) and tap on it
  3. Then you’ll see a clock icon. This is History. Tap on it
  4. Swipe left on a website and tap the Delete button.

 

How to delete search history on iPhone on Safari based on time periods

  1. Open Safari
  2. Locate the Bookmarks icon (see the open book icon at the bottom of the screen) and tap on it
  3. Then you’ll see a clock icon. This is History. Tap on it
  4. Then tap the Clear button at the bottom right of the screen
  5. Choose how much of your browsing history you want to delete. You can choose from all time, today and yesterday, today, and the last hour. 

 

Now you know how to clear history on iPhone on Safari. Let’s move on to Google Chrome.

How to clear Chrome history on iPhone or iPad 

Just like with Safari, you can delete your Chrome browsing history for just one site or for all of your iOS devices that are synced. We’ll show you how.

How to clear all history on Chrome

  1. Open Chrome 
  2. Tap More (look for the icon with three gray dots)
  3. Then tap History in the pop-up menu
  4. After that, tap Clear Browsing Data on the bottom left side of the screen

  1. Select Browsing History and tap Clear Browsing Data
  2. Confirm your decision on the pop-up box that appears

 

How to erase history of individual websites on Chrome

  1. Open Chrome
  2. Tap More (look for the icon with three gray dots)
  3. Then tap History in the pop-up menu

  1. Tap Edit on the bottom right side of the screen
  2. After that, select the websites you want to remove and tap Delete.

How to clear history on iPad and iPhone on Chrome based on time periods

  1. Open Chrome 
  2. Tap More (look for the icon with three gray dots)
  3. Then tap History in the pop-up menu

  1. After that, tap Clear Browsing Data on the bottom left side of the screen
  2. Select Browsing History and set the Time range (Last hour, last 24 hours, last 7 days, etc.)
  3. Go back and tap Clear Browsing Data at the bottom of the screen.

Delete Siri search history and data

If you usually use Siri to find things on the Internet, you might want to delete your Siri data as well. Here’s how:

  1. On your iPhone, go to Settings > Siri & Search.
  2. Choose Siri & Dictation History
  3. Then tap Delete Siri & Dictation History and confirm your decision. 

Now that you know how to delete history on iPhone, check out our previous article to learn how to clear cookies on your iPad and iPhone.

Why can’t clear the search history on iPhone?

Sometimes, an iPhone won’t delete Google search history. There are numerous reasons for that. Try the steps below to resolve the issue.

Turn off restrictions on content and privacy 

It’s possible that your device’s Content & Privacy Restrictions don’t allow you to erase history on iPhone. Most of the time, these rules are used to enforce age limits and keep kids from seeing harmful content. You can change the Content & Privacy Restrictions in your Screen Time settings. If you have a Screen Time passcode, you may need to use it to do this. Go to Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions. Then make sure the option is turned off.

If that didn’t work, you might need to temporarily turn off Screen Time. Go to Settings > Screen Time > Turn Off Screen Time. 

Stop syncing Safari over iCloud on an iPhone and iPad

If you’re using iCloud, all of your Apple devices will share your bookmarks, reading list, and browsing history. It shouldn’t be a problem, but sometimes when you sync your iPhone or iPad with iCloud, items from your browsing history will repeat and show up again. 

To fix that, stop Safari from syncing over iCloud and then clear the history and website data on each of your devices separately. After you’ve done this, you can turn Safari sync back on.

If you have Safari’s iCloud syncing turned off, you can turn it on, choose Merge, and then turn it off again.

Here’s how you stop syncing Safari over iCloud on an iPhone and iPad:

  1. Go to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud
  2. Scroll down and turn Safari off, then tap Keep on My iPhone
  3. After that, go to Safari’s settings and tap Clear History and Website Data.

Here’s how you stop syncing Safari over iCloud on a Mac:

  1. On macOS Catalina and later: In Finder, choose Apple menu > System Preferences > Apple ID > iCloud
  2. On macOS High Sierra and earlier:  In Finder, choose Apple menu > System Preferences > iCloud
  3. Uncheck the box next to Safari

  1. Then open Safari and from the menu bar, navigate to:
  2. Safari > Clear History > Clear All History
  3. Safari > Preferences > Privacy > Manage Website Data > Remove All.

Delete all of the items in your Safari Reading List

It’s possible that items saved to your Safari Reading List continue to automatically show up in your browser history. If you want to remove them, follow these steps: 

  1. Open Safari
  2. Locate the Bookmarks icon (see the open book icon at the bottom of the screen) and tap on it
  3. Then tap the glasses icon to access your Reading List
  4. To continue, tap Edit in the bottom right corner
  5. To remove web pages from your Reading List, just select the ones you want to get rid of and tap Delete

If that doesn’t help to erase history on iPad and iPhone, try to disable cookies or restart your device. 

Tip: You can browse in Private mode to eliminate the need to clear your iPhone’s history. Here’s how to turn on Private Browsing Safari:

  1. Open Safari
  2. Tap the Tabs button (right bottom corner)
  3. Then tap [number] Tabs, choose Private and tap Done.

However, keep in mind that even when you browse privately on your iPhone, any website or service you use can still see your IP address; and your internet service provider can still see which sites you’re visiting. 

As you can see, you can’t count on the Private mode if you need real privacy online. If you want to stay safe and anonymous on the internet, you might want to look into other tools. For instance, you can use ClearVPN to make your time online safer.

Browse securely & privately

The app encrypts all of your information and gives you a different IP address so that you can’t be tracked. You might find this useful for more than just browsing the web anonymously. For example, it will help you keep your credit card information safe when shopping online, stop people from eavesdropping on your device or getting your personal information when using public Wi-Fi, and get better deals on certain products or services (airplane tickets, hotel bookings, and more).

Why should you delete history on your iPhone?

The default iPhone browser, Safari, along with all other major browsers, accurately record the websites you visit, and this information can be easily accessed by anyone who takes your device. So if you don’t want other people to be able to see what websites you’ve been on, deleting your browsing history is a good idea.

Aside from this, one important reason to clear browsing history on iPhone along with cache is to get rid of old or expired cached data, which can often slow down your device and affect how well it works.

How to clear search history on iPad or iPhone: final thoughts 

As you can see, it’s easy to erase browsing history on your smartphone. However, sometimes it may happen that the history is repeated or can’t be cleared. That’s because you haven’t  stopped syncing Safari over iCloud, haven’t deleted all of the items in your Safari Reading List, or have Content & Privacy Restrictions enabled on your iOS device. Hopefully, this guide will help you clear history on iPhone fast and easily.

You may also want to browse in Private mode to eliminate the need to clear your iPhone’s history. And if you want to surf the web completely anonymously and also get access to content that isn’t available in your area, use ClearVPN. The app is available to you free for 7 days via Setapp, a platform with 240+ apps created to help you do more on your Mac and iPhone.

Get 230+ Mac apps for any job

Sign up to Setapp and try them for free.