How do I clear recent searches from Safari and Google?
I'm darn concerned! Every time I start up my Apple Safari browser, I find that the program has remembered every search I've done, whether from the Google search box or when I'm actually on the Google home page. What the heck? How can I disable this "feature" and regain my privacy?
You're not the first person to be concerned about the extraordinary memory that a Web browser has in terms of search fields, the Google toolbar box, and similar. Indeed, when I glance at the Google box in my version of Safari (that I'm using to write this very blog entry), I find:
Notice the very last entry, however: "Clear Recent Searches". That'll solve that particular problem (earlier versions of Safari might not have that feature, however, in which case it's yet another reason to consider upgrading to the very latest version of Mac OS X).
On the other hand, when I go to the Google home page, you'd think I'd be safe, right? But watch what happens if I type in an 'm' to the search box and wait just a fraction of a second:
You might jump to the conclusion that Google knows all, but in fact it's not Google offering this autocompletion / history service, but your Web browser. Yes, that's another feature of Safari.
To clear this you need to tweak your Autofill preferences. Go to Safari --> Preferences and click on the Autofill tab. You'll see this:
It's the "Other forms" that you want to check out. Click on "Edit..." next to that field and you'll find a long list of different domain names that have forms your browser is sneakily tracking:
You can see that I've highlighted "google.com": to clear my Google search cache history from Safari, all I'd need to do is select "google.com" and press the "Remove" button. Or, if you want to clear all your cache, choose "Remove All".
One more step: Your browser also has a cache (history) of actual pages you visit. If you want to get rid of those too, then you can't be selective, you'll have to erase all of your browser cache. That can be pretty easily done by choosing Safari --> Clear Cache.... You'll get a warning dialog, as usual:
Proceed with this action and you should be clear.
Having explained all of this,, I'd also like to draw your attention to the darn useful Private Browsing capability of Safari. Simply choose Safari --> Private Browsing. You'll get a warning dialog that pretty much tells you what will happen:
Cool feature, eh? Makes worrying about histories, caches, and similar all moot.
I'd recommend you clear your old cache through the methods outlined above, then remember to switch to Private Browsing whenever you want to explore the net without leaving any sort of trail behind you.
Tip: If you're trying to duplicate this on your PC, I strongly encourage you to read the terrific writeup that my pal Leo Notenboom has on his site: How to delete history items from your Google toolbar.
More Useful Mac OS X Help Articles:
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Mac OS X Help
Written by Dave Taylor
clearing your cache, clearing your history, mac os x, safari, web browser
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Reader Comments To Date: 81
Thanks for this information, but even after clearing my cache and switching to privacy mode, Safari still wants to autofill the url tab based on sites I have visited.
Thank you for your very helpful advice. I have spent so much time trying to find what your have presented right here.
want web searches deleted, from popping up, every time a new search is entered
Thank you! I really appreciate you!!!
Great info been looking at finding how to do this fo a while on the mac and ticks the box for me. Thanks
thaaaaaaaaaaaaaaank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <3 :)
As previous comment
Thanks for this information, but even after clearing my cache and switching to privacy mode, Safari still wants to autofill the url tab based on sites I have visited.
OMG ThaNK you SO MUCH!!!! YOU sAVED MY LifE! i was searching so stuff that i didnt want my mom sister or even friends to see. (ehem....nude people and sex and other things) but thank god for you!!!!!! i was up all night searching and searching but no luck until you cam alon! you have no idea how happy i am and i couldnt be more grateful. Thanksk again and i hops yoour life brings wealth and happiness because you SO deserve it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
i want to clear all sex search history
I downloaded the Safari beta when it was first released and think its great, however I cannot clear the autofill form. The edit button is greyed-out and unclickable, and the previous form entries keep appearing even after I empty the cache and reset all features of Safari. I'm going to re-download and reinstall, but for reference, do you know where Safari stores the autofill info? I'm on XP.
Hi Dave, i tried to use your suggestion to clear all the words which i have put into the google site which are unwanted but keep poppoing up...it doesnt seem to work, in the auto fill "other forms" section it only lists site which i have typed in and been too, it does not show nor give me the option to delete words which i have searched...any advice ?
If you have a url in your bookmarks it will come up when you type in the address bar something starting with the same letters.
THANK YOU. I use my computer for teaching, and what may be totally appropriate everywhere else may still not be suitable for the classroom overhead.
Your site is so helpful!!! thank you so much!
Thanks, Dave. You made it easy to do something that other web sites made so complicated it was impossible.
Thanks for this helpful tip! I was going crazy on google trying to figure it out by pressing
This is a great tutorial! Only problem for me is after this step:
"To clear this you need to tweak your Autofill preferences. Go to Safari --> Preferences and click on the Autofill tab."
My stupid computer won't even let me see ANY Safari preferences, let alone the ones for autofill. I've tried re-downloading Safari and everything, and one website I went to said to delete the com.apple.Safari.plist file that's in my library. Do you have any suggestions? :(
This is great but is it possible to delete some items from the Google search box and not others?
thank you very much. you are so great!!!
wow thanks for the graphic info
Thank You so much!!!!!!!!!!!! Now I don't have to worry about anything
thanks alot i had no idea it was that complicated
THANK YOU SO MUCH! i always wondered how i could disable the autofill.
Thanks for trying, but your advice does not work. It is not possible to turn off the Safari URL autofill function or to delete the URL already stored "somewhere" which pop into the URL window uninvited. Neither the "geniuses" at the apple stores or their on-line consultants are able to fix this annoying problem. After spending several hours on the phone with one of apple's consultants some time ago, he gave up and told me "Safari is really poor browser anyway; just use Firefox if you want to avoid this problem."
If you ever find a fix for this annoying behavior I would love to hear about it but clearing the cache, history, all the rest you have mentioned DO NOT WORK.
Dear Dave - how do you make it all so simple? You are surely the eighth wonder of the world! Thank you -
This is great! You are the best! :)
Thanks for the clear description on removing autofill from the google search box. No wonder your so successful in life.
Santa Cruz, CA
Hello Dave ... as JOHN REEVES above (24 May 2008 at 3:20 PM) points out, your suggestion (which I'd actually found out myself and tried before seeing your recommendation) seems to only PARTIALLY work, at best.
EVEN AFTER doing the "Safari-Preferences-Autofill-Other Forms-Remove" etc. etc. ... you will still find that Safari Autofills URLs if you begin manually typing them in after the http:// ...
It's almost as if Safari does not "want" to clear sites that you have manually typed in. That's just a guess ... I don't know for sure ... I DO KNOW that the suggestion provided does not FULLY work.
Just thought I'd put this out there in case someone knows why ... or has a workaround solution.
I also had the problem, that after trying your methods, the various pages continued to pop up in the safari browser. So, I went one more step that Dave hadn't mentioned:
Click on Safari > Reset Safari >
and you'll get a list of 9 choices you can select to "edit", like "clear history", "empty the cache", "remove all cookies", etc.
I selected lines 1,2,4,7 &8, and so I don't know which one really did it, but I got rid of all the unmentionables (just in time before my Kids came home for the 4th).
Oddly enough, Safari still retains NPR.org, all the www.Mac & www.apple addresses, and other innocent sites!
Thanks, Dave, and everybody!
PS, I don't know why anyone would've advised that Safari "is a poor browser", this whole Mac think is so much better than the PC world!
holy cow, that's awesome! i used to be a pc guy but i see why lots of people like mac
Thank you!!! I spent a lot of time trying to figure this out... This was just what i was looking for and you couldn't have made it any simpler!!! Perfect! Thanks again!
WOW this is so helpful !! i dont like prying into every option on my Mac, this was the best article on how to clear the history without me fumbling around with Mac options!!
Thank you - I've been trying to do this for ages : )
my name is spelled wromg in my autofill it is shirley and my e mail is email@example.com please change thank you
THAAANNNKK YOU!!!!!!!! i 've been trying this for a month
You are a champion!! Thanks mate
Hi, many thanks for your info but unfortunately its not working for me.
i do understand it and have followed carefully,
ive done clear cache, history etc
ive even reset safari but still i get loads of searches when entering anything into google.
and ive repaired permissions too
many thanks for your time
Storme Watson UK
me again & oops!
there were two google entries in that list, got 2nd one this time and it worked!
Storme Watson uk
oh dear me once more, yes ive got rid of the google autofilling
but the url list is still there even after cache clear, reset, etc
so.. back to any ideas?!!
Oh, thanks for all the help.
I've read other people's comments too, and I'm understanding that the history from the url toolbar is still showing up.
I have a solution for that:
On the toolbar (the bookmarks toolbar, under the url toolbar) there's an icon next to "Apple" [on the left side] where a picture of a 'book' is shown (it is most likely the 1st icon from the left). Click on that, and then under 'Bookmarks' (on the left hand side), it says "Imported IE Favorites". Click it.
Then on the right side, all the lists of website that you've visited will show up. Click on the website you want to delete, and then press the DELETE button on your keyboard!
How can i improve my browsers speed
Same as everyone else! Amazing thankyou!!
I have the latest OS X and I'm able to make the searches disappear when i reset safari but they are "reconnected", usually within a day.
In addition to the paid-for stuff, my actual searches reappear, sometimes in a couple of hours, sometimes in a couple of days.
I a new to much. This helped me a lot.
Hi - In the new version of safari (version 4, beta), how do you clear recent searches in the google search toolbar box? I tried emptying the cache and removing google.com from the autofill menu. there is no option in the toolbar box to "clear recent searches" like there is in firefox. do i just have to live with this?
I have clicked on Private Browsing on My Safari but it is not permanent. It seems to cancel itself.
I am using a shared Safari OS X 10.5.7
I have noticed that a particular site has regularly appeared in my cookies folder but not on the google browsing bar so I take it that the search has been done in Private Browsing as it still loads cookies unless the cookies have been disabled.
The person denying having been into this site has told me that these cookies can appear without being in the site at all, ie.
If the site in question is linked or appears in the body of another site that has been accessed. I have tried to make this happen myself but have not been able to see where it is coming from if this is the case. Can this actually happen and is there any way to find out when Private Browsing mode has been used?
Thankyou in advance.
You can also consider using third party tools to make sure the info is cleaned from your browsers, something like History Killer Pro (http://www.historykillerpro.com)
hi there....have followed all your instructions to clear google search box history but when i click on 'other forms ' in autofill tab there is no list of any web sites visited !
any other ways of deleting google search box history ?
i use a Mac and my browser is Safari.
any suggestions most welcome
This is great for Safari but what about Mac and Firefox?
I use Safari on a Mac and just recently the google search bar stopped showing the "clear recent searches" option at the bottom.
Where is it? What happened? and how do I compensate?
As I am trying to delete search items pertaining to a surprise party it would be too suspicious if I suddenly switched browser.
please help before the surprise is ruined.
Clearing recent searches doesn't work for me. I see no list at the bottom showing clear recent searches. I have a new Mac OS10.5.8
Jack, you're right, Apple's made this a bit harder by removing the "clear recent searches" from the search box in Safari. Instead, go to the "Safari" Menu and choose "Reset Safari...". From the many check boxes, select "Clear History" and that should do the trick!
Selecting Clear History in Reset Safari removed all my History, not just Google search history. That is not what I wanted at all.
Why would Apple remove the Clear Recent Searches option from the search field menu? APPLE, if you're reading this... PUT IT BACK!
The "Clear recent searches"-box is removed?
I used regularly to clear Recent Searches on Safari Leopard by using the method above and clicking on "Clear Recent Searches" but that option is not now available now I have installed Snow Leopard. Have I got to clear the cache to clear Recent Searches?
How long does information stay in the 'Recent Searches' pulldown? Does Safari randomly put your recent searches or are they in order by last visited?
I made a script to delete all links containing specified words in safari4mac history,
could be scheduled in crontab or any other way, to run every 10-30 mins.
Allow you to delete for example all youtube or any other links from history in mac safari leaving others.
If you are interested contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hey Dave I was wondering if you know how to only delete part of your safari search on an iPhone. I want to keep some stuff but not all. Any advice?
Thanks for posting this!
Unfortunately, after trying all that you suggested, still the history was showing in the toolbar when I typed a new search. Only after I selected 'Reset Safari' in the Safari drop down menu and checked the correct options on the page that opened up did the toolbar history empty out.
Options I checked were:
Empty the Cache
Remove all cookies
Remove other autoFill form text.
Hope that helps those who are still having problems!
thanks Nari, that finally worked!
I've tried all the above, including totally Resetting Safari. And, still, when I search for something, if one of the pages Google lists is one I've visited in the past, next to the site name (line 1 of entry), it lists the date(s) and # of times I've been there. Can that be cleared away, too? Thank you
I will like to get back to original setup for my computer Apple Mac
I maneged to do it to my computer, but is there a way you can clear all searches on my browser if my iPod touch ?
Happy to continue work on this with you.
Thanks a lot.
Thank you! I have a sneaky husband, but unfortunately, I have nothing to hide. Quite irritating, actually, and I mean the sneaky husband, not the nothing to hide part.
The fix is simple. Delete Google from phone. Reinstall Google from the app store. All the drop down boxes will be gone.
It doesn't take long to do this either.
Hope this helps.
sir,please delete our old google address bar search list.
sir, please clear our recent search list.
What About if I am doing this for Google Chrome? Will it work the same Way?
In Safari 5.1.5 this link is gone already, where to clear the search history in the browser top right corner now??
thanz alot. good clear concise information is really hard to come by on the web, and i love the fact that you add the screen shotz az well.
Safari is one of the worse browsers when it comes to privacy. The bottom line is that no matter what you do, or what you select in the preferences, Safari does a horrible job at being an advocate for the computer user as its preferences are pretty much worthless. Apple needs to pay more attention to revamping the security features of Safari.
No matter what you select, cookies will continue to collect, and the whole "ask do not track" option is nothing but you asking a site not to track you... whether they comply or not is their business, but it should be your browsers business. When you select no cookies, etc... Safari should be robust enough to stop every cookie, etc., in its tracks.
There should be a "make me untraceable" option... not a silly "ask web sites not to track me" option (which is utterly ridiculous; that's like asking a con man not to con you).
I do have a lot to say, and questions of my own for that matter, but first I'd like to say thank you, Dave, for all your helpful information by
buying you a cup of coffee!||
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