How to Delete Browsing History on Your Mac. Part 1

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28 / 12 / 2017

How to Delete Browsing History on Your Mac. Part 1

Every Mac user has ever wondered how to clear browsing history. This is a pretty popular question since the size of browsing history list may affect Mac’s performance and browsing speed. What’s more, clearing browsing history is often recommended as the first step to troubleshoot most macOS issues. Let’s figure out what is a browsing history and what impact it has on Mac.

What is browser history?

Browsing history is a pile of records of websites you’ve visited during your past browsing sessions. Usually, it includes the web page name as well as its URL address. This information is stored in a special log.

Any browser stores this log on the local hard drive of a computer or other devices. The main reason the logs are created is to provide a quick access to the websites. For example, when you type a URL or website name into the address bar, a browser refers to logs and transfers you to the requested page. If you’ve ever wondered why visited links turn purple, this also happens due to browsing history logs.

Besides saving search history, in 2016 Google launched a new My Activity tool. According to the source, it allows users to see and delete the data tracked by Google. This tool displays which websites you've visited in Chrome browser while being logged in, as well as the devices used, apps used, Google products interacted with, etc. You can entirely disable tracking, or remove certain activities you don't want to be tracked.

All the data of the My Activity tool is stored on Google server, while browsing history logs (including cache, cookies, passwords saved, etc) are stored on your Mac. Accumulation of browsing history records may lead to overall browser slowdown. This means some web pages can fail to load, or load with a big delay. That’s why clearing your browsing history is like a first aid kit to your Mac.

Why clear your browser history?

There are several reasons why users need to delete their browsing history. Here are the most popular:

  • Web pages are loading slow. When you open a website for the first time, its image is saved onto your hard drive. This helps load the webpage much faster next time you visit it. Still, storing too many website records takes up too much hard drive space.

  • Sharing your Mac with other users. Each of several users who use the same computer wants to keep their browsing history private. If you’re searching for a gift you never want your spouse to spoil the surprise. Or you may have some very private things to search for and you don’t want to share them with others.

  • Commercial secrecy and so on.

As you see, in most cases it’s the privacy concern that makes users delete their browsing history. Here we are talking about cookies which help websites to recognize who you are, but they come in all kinds of different forms. Why the weather website instantly shows you the cities which weather forecasts you've previously looked up? Or when you go back to a shopping site why does it still has the same items in your basket? That’s how cookies work. These files won't harm your computer, but some users don't like being tracked and prefer to delete cookies on a regular basis.

How to clear browser history?

The guide to deleting search history is roughly the same for all browsers and may slightly differ depending on the browser interface. Clearing browsing data consists of several steps. First, you can choose what information you want to delete: browsing history, download history, cookies, cached images or files, passwords, autofill form data, hosted app data, media licenses, etc. You can also set the time frame you’d like to remove history for: the last hour, last day, last month, or all time.

To delete browsing history on your Mac follow these general steps:

  • open your browser

  • go to Settings

  • select History

  • click Clear browsing history or checkmark the web pages you want to delete.

The detailed step-by-step instruction on how to clear browser history in any browser is coming soon. Stay tuned for the latest blog updates!