Skip to main content

How to clear search history on Mac

Here is a round-up of techniques to manually delete search history in the most popular web browsers used across the Mac territory.

Searching and surfing are synonymous in the context of today’s web ecosystem. With these concepts being so tightly intertwined, clearing search history means purging most breadcrumbs spilled during your past Internet activities. Also, search engines remember what sites you have previously opened and tag them in the results with a different link color. If a family member, a friend, or a colleague borrows your Mac for a quick web search and notices those purple strings for sites they aren’t supposed to ever know you have visited, things can get embarrassing. Also, since any web browser remembers your Internet history, it prompts relevant sites as soon as you start typing your query in the address bar. This is one more piece of the web footprint that should be kept away from prying eyes. The only situation when it isn’t so is if you use the Incognito, or Private Browsing mode.

Clearing search history, and more, in Safari

In an ideal world, the fact that the browser stores your search history locally is an element of proper user experience. This functionality provides a shortcut for visiting sites whose names or URLs you can’t recall, and it generally makes stuff more convenient. However, there are plenty of reasons to clear that information every so often. Aside from the above-mentioned confidentiality of your web surfing patterns and habits, this gives users a soothing sense of tidiness in regards to their digital lives. Furthermore, there is no harm in doing some maintenance periodically – it can speed up the browser considerably and reduce the computer’s processing load.

When it comes to clearing your search history, Macs are very much like other devices. This is done at the level of the web browser you routinely use for your Internet activities. The procedure is not the same for different browsers, though. In Safari, there is a “Clear History” feature that wipes cookies and other data stored by websites you have visited. Google Chrome’s “Clear Browsing Data” interface includes more options allowing you to get more specific about what you are erasing. In Mozilla Firefox, these controls are assembled within the “Clear Recent History” screen that provides decent flexibility in terms of the details being obliterated.

Another aspect of the procedure is that it may be useful for reverting to proper browser settings after a Mac adware attack. In this case, clearing search history should be combined with the removal of cache and other data that may be mishandled to track your web sessions or chase you around with advertisements. No matter what exactly has encouraged you to give your preferred browser a fresh start, the following sections will show you how it’s done.

How to clear search history in Safari

  • Expand the History menu, and select Clear History as shown below.

    Open the ‘Clear History’ dialog in Safari

  • Specify the period for which you’d like to delete all accumulated search history, cookies, and website data.

    Clear Safari’s history

  • Click the Clear History button on the dialog.

How to clear search history in Google Chrome on Mac

  • Open the Chrome menu and select Clear Browsing Data.

    Open the ‘Clear Browsing Data’ menu in Chrome

  • Be sure to keep the default checkmarks (browsing history, download history, cookies and other site data) in the Clear browsing data window. Enable additional ones if you wish to take the cleanup a step further.

    Clear browsing data in Chrome – complete the procedure

  • Click the Clear data button and restart Chrome.

How to clear search history in Mozilla Firefox on Mac

  • When Firefox is running, expand the History menu and select Clear Recent History.

    Select ‘Clear Recent History’ in Firefox

  • Keep the preselected options enabled and pick Everything in the period settings.

    Clear all history in Firefox

  • Click OK and restart Firefox.

The bottom line

Mac users may want to clear their search history for various reasons. These run the gamut from some healthy paranoia and pursuit of greater privacy online to proper work etiquette and quenching a pedantic attitude toward things. It’s also an important step for recovering from an adware incursion. Luckily, this action is very easy to complete no matter what browser you are using. Keep in mind that this data is constantly accumulating as you surf the web, and therefore you’ll need to repeat the procedure once in a while.


Was this article helpful? Please, rate this.

There are no comments yet.
Authentication required

You must log in to post a comment.

Log in