How to clear and disable the YouTube Watch and Search history
The video streaming site YouTube keeps track of your activity on the site. If you are signed in to an account, it keeps a record of all videos that you watched, all your searches, all comments, and community activity including live chat and makes these available to you.
The site uses the activity records for several purposes including its recommendation system; Google may use the activity to improve other Google products as well as it notes on the activity management page on YouTube. If you watch a lot of football, travel, or food videos, YouTube will recommend these videos more so than other video types to you when you visit the site.
Recommendations are not everyone's cup of tea on YouTube as the site may -- and usually does -- recommend inappropriate content or content that is of no interest. We have showed you how to remove individual channel recommendations on YouTube, how to block recommended videos on YouTube, and how to block endscreen video recommendations on the site in the past.
Apart from visiting the site without signing in to a YouTube or Google account, you may influence recommendations by deleting individual searches or watched videos, clearing the watch history or search history, or by pausing the activity trackers on the site.
Checking your YouTube history
Note that you can only check the history if you are signed in to an account on YouTube. Visit the following pages on YouTube to check the account history:
- Watch History: https://www.youtube.com/feed/history
- Search History: https://www.youtube.com/feed/history/search_history
YouTube may change the URLs; to get there manually click on the menu icon in the top left corner and select the history item from the menu.
The Watch history provides a chronological view of all watched videos. Videos are displayed with their cover thumbnail and a play indicator.
You may delete individual videos by hovering over them with the mouse and selecting the x-icon next to the video thumbnail. The page lists options to clear the entire watch history and to pause the watch history.
Clearing resets the recommendation engine on YouTube and new recommendations will be based on your viewing activity from that point forward. You may also pause the watch history which prevents YouTube from recording it in first place.
While that won't prevent you from getting any recommendations, Google does note that you "may see fewer recommendations" across Google products. Note that pausing won't remove the previous watching history.
The Search history page uses the same layout for the most part. YouTube displays previous searches conducted on the site and you may delete individual searches right then and there.
A click on "clear all search history" removes the entire history of searches. You may also pause the recording of searches with a click on "pause search history". Note that doing the latter won't remove the search activity that is already on record on the site.
YouTube provides activity lists for comments, activity on community posts, and live chat as well. You may get options to edit and/or delete these but there is no option to pause the recording as it requires active user input to leave these.
YouTube users who like to stay signed in, e.g. to manage subscriptions, may delete records of individual videos that they watched and searches that they did on the site. Some may prefer to disable the recording of the activity entirely to reduce the number of recommendations on the site.
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