How to clear your search history on a Mac

There are a number of reasons you may want to delete your browsing history. From searching for a surprise birthday present for a loved one to surfing sites you shouldn’t while at work. It’s not just a case of removing the evidence from the History menu in your browser – that won’t stop Google highlighting search results you’ve clicked on in purple, for example. Nor will it stop adverts for products you’ve researched appearing when you, or your spouse or boss, visit a completely different site.

To get rid of every trace of your surfing you need to securely delete your history and get rid of all the evidence.

It’s worth noting that if you invoke Private Browsing in Safari or Incognito mode in Chrome, your browsing history will be deleted when you close the browser window, along with cookies and the contents of any forms you filled in while you were browsing.

Here’s how to securely delete your browsing history.

How to delete search history manually

Clear browsing data in Safari

How to view and clear your browsing history in Safari

1. Click on the Safari menu and click Clear History. Choose an option from the dropdown menu and click Clear History again. All the sites you’ve visited in the period specified by the option you chose will disappear from the History menu.

2. That won’t remove all traces, however. To get rid of data stored by sites you’ve visited, click on the Safari menu again and click Preferences. Click the Privacy tab and click Manage website data.

3. You’ll see a window with a list of sites you’ve visited and notes on what data they have store on your Mac. If you want to remove all traces of every site you’ve visited, click remove all. Otherwise, scroll through the list or search for a site whose data you want to delete, then click on it an click Remove.

4. To make sure everything has been deleted, click on the Go menu in the Finder, click Go to Folder and paste this: ~/Library/Safari/

Delete the file named:

Also, delete the contents of the Local Storage and Databases folders. These are used by websites you’ve visited to store data relating to your activity on those sites.

Clear browsing data in Safari

Clear browsing data in Chrome

  1. The first thing to note about using Chrome is that Google wants you to be logged in whenever you use it. That’s because, whenever you’re logged in, Google can collect your browsing data and use it to serve you adverts. So, if you don’t want Google to know where you go on the web, make sure you’re not logged in when you use it.
  2. To clear browsing data, click on the History menu and click Show Full History. Now click on Clear browsing data in the left hand sidebar. A new web page will open with the options to ‘Clear the following items from…’ Choose a time period for which you want to clear data and then tick the boxes next to the data you want to delete. Click Clear Browsing Data.

Delete browsing history in Firefox

Delete browsing history in Firefox

  1. Click on the History menu and click ‘Clear History.’
  2. In the window that opens, click Details and then choose a time period for which you want to delete data. Click the tick-box next to the data you want to delete and click Clear Now.
  3. To prevent Firefox ever storing history data, click on the Firefox menu and choose Preferences. Under the History heading, choose ‘Firefox will:’ and then ‘Never remember History.’

How to clear search history from all your browsers in few minutes

Thankfully, there is a much easier way to delete your browsing history on a Mac, using CleanMyMac, available in Setapp.

  1. Launch CleanMyMac and click Privacy in the Protection section, then click Scan.
  2. Click on the first web browser whose history you want to delete and then click the box next to each of the items you want to delete.  If you only want to remove history for specific sites, click the dropdown arrow next to Browsing History and check the site whose history you want to remove.
  3. Repeat that process for each browser whose history you want to delete from your Mac. When you’re done, click the Remove button at the bottom of app's window.

Clean up privacy

And that’s it! Told you it was easy! CleanMyMac has now removed the history from the web browsers you chose, along with any other data you specified, with just a few clicks.

If you want to remove traces of servers you have connected to, rather than websites you’ve visited, you can do that too. 

Click on Recent Items List in the Privacy section of CleanMyMac and check the box next to Recently accessed servers – or click on the dropdown arrow and click the box next to specific servers – and click Remove.

Clean up recent items list

VPN for secure surfing

Removing your browsing history from your Mac doesn’t make it go away completely. As we said above, if you use Chrome while you’re logged in to a Google account, Google will still have access to your history data.

Your internet service provider can collect and sell your browsing history to the highest bidder. That's the creepy truth , and it's motivate users to check out tools that can hide their browsing histories and disguise their internet traffic. 

If you want to surf the web completely anonymously, you should use a virtual private network, or VPN. VPNs work by masking your IP address from the websites you visit and preventing your ISP from seeing where you go on the web. It also encrypts information you send across the internet, making it unreadable to anyone who intercepts your traffic. 

We'll, now instead of your ISP the VPN has your search history and traffic. What's to stop the VPN from selling your information to the highest bidder? Of course, there are reputable VPN services out there. In addition to making sure the VPN will actually keep your data private, you'll want to make sure there's nothing shady in the terms and conditions.

To use  a VPN, you need two things, an account with a VPN service and a VPN client to set it up. Shimo is an excellent client and makes it very easy to set up and connect to most VPN services.

Shimo VPN app

Specifically, the VPN network helps to ensure privacy, as it hides your online habits. Here's the main reason to start using VPN with Setapp only for $9.99 per month.

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