Your Google Account History and How to Delete

Many people use Google, so it's a good idea to learn how to delete your Google account history.  According to a 2018 study by HubSpot, Google is the most-used search engine. It has over 70% of the search market share. That means that if users have a question, they’re going to Google for the answer.

If you use Google frequently enough, you’re likely to make an account, too. This gives you access to Google Photos, Google Drive, YouTube, and even more. It’s incredibly convenient, and it’s one of the things that makes Google so appealing to Internet users.

It’s also one of the things that makes Google potentially dangerous. Google collects a great deal of information from its users, and they keep an extensive history on their users' search activity. It's supposed to be used to improve your experience, but the types of data they collect give Google much more information. If you want to take the first step in keeping yourself safe from Google’s information hunting, here’s how.

Manually delete your Google account history:

  1. Navigate to your Google account. (To do this, click your profile image in the top right of the Google home page. Then, select Manage Your Google Account. Make sure to sign in to your Google account if you haven't already.)
  2. Select Data & Personalization from the top left navigation panel.
  3. Scroll until you find Activity and Timeline; under it, select My Activity.
  4. Click the three vertical dots at the top right of the page’s search bar.

NOTE: These three vertical dots, called the term More, as they show you further options for your account. These three dots, which will refer to More, from now on.

  1. Click Delete Activity By. This will take you to a Delete Activity page. On this page, select All Time.
  2. Google will ask you which services you’d like to delete your activity from. To delete all your Google account activity, do not uncheck any of the boxes and select Next.
  3. Click Delete, and your Google account history up until this point will be deleted.

Automatically delete your Google account history:

  1. Navigate to your Google account. (To do this, click your profile image in the top right of the Google home page. Then, select Manage Your Google Account. Make sure to sign in to your Google account if you haven't already.)
  2. Click Data and Personalization from the top left navigation panel.
  3. Select Activity Controls, then Web & App Activity.
  4. Click Manage Activity. Click More at the top right hand corner by the page’s search bar and select Keep Activity For.
  5. Choose how long you would like to keep your activity. Once you have made your choice, click Next, then Confirm to save your choice to your account.

NOTE: At this time Google only has two options to auto-delete: automatically delete after three months or automatically delete after eighteen months. There is no option for deleting activity immediately. If this is something you would prefer, deleting manually may be a better option for you.

Also know that while this option is easier for the user in the future, it does not delete all Google account activity. Google explains the reasoning on their support site: some information is stored in other locations and can't be deleted at once. For example, Location History is saved to Maps Timeline instead of My Activity. Deleting your activity manually is a more comprehensive approach.

Stop saving Google account history:

  1. Navigate to your Google account. (To do this, click your profile image in the top right of the Google home page. Then, select Manage Your Google Account. Make sure to sign in to your Google account if you haven't already.)
  2. Choose Data and Personalization from the top left navigation panel.
  3. Under Activity Controls, select Manage Your Activity Controls.
  4. Here you have the option to turn off the activity for three main sections: Web & App Activity, YouTube History, and Location History. Uncheck the boxes for the activity you don’t want to save. You can also turn off ad personalization.
  5. Click “Pause” to confirm your choice and save the settings to your account.

This, too, is not a comprehensive way to eliminate your Google account history. Google is very careful about the way they word their instructions. They say that certain methods will delete “some” or “most” of your browsing history, search history, and recent activity, which gives them leeway. Although deleting your account history manually is the safest way to go, the other options still offer some privacy to the user.

It’s incredibly difficult to completely block your information from getting into the hands of Google. Google services and Google products can still collect data outside of their browsers. Even after you delete, Google makes it clear that some specific activity information may stay with them for “records.”

Deleting your history manually every few months or weeks can become a chore. However, it’s worth it to gain back some control over your own activity and account history.