Do you want to cover your tracks? I don’t blame you. It seems everyone from the government to your family wants to peek inside your phone to see what you’ve been looking at.
A vital part of keeping yourself safe is deleting your history. And I’m not just talking about your browser’s history. Your Android device is full of content that hackers and snoopers would love to get their hands on.
Worryingly, because your footprint is so vast, it’s not easy to remember everything you need to wipe. In this article, I’m going to give you a helping hand. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ways to delete the history on your device. We’ll cover everything from your browser to your keyboard.
1. Google Chrome
Your browser is the most obvious place on your phone where your history is being logged.
I’m only going to explain how to delete your history on Chrome since it’s the most-used browser on Android with more than 85 percent market share. If you’re one of the few who don’t use Chrome, check out our guide on how to delete the history on other common browsers.
To delete the history on Chrome, fire up the app and tap the three vertical dots in the upper-right corner. In the pop-up menu, head to History > Clear Browsing Data. You’ll be able to choose exactly what data you want to delete and select an appropriate timeframe.
Tap Clear Data to complete the process.
2. Facebook Search History
Your Facebook search history can be both revealing and embarrassing. Someone flicking through it might be able to learn everything from who your secret crush is to which restaurant you’re planning to visit for dinner.
As such, it’s important to know how to delete your search history. Luckily, on mobile, it’s a straightforward process.
At the top of the app’s screen, you’ll see the search box. Tap on it, then locate the Edit button in the upper-right corner.
The app will take you to your Activity Log. You’ll be able to see a complete history of all your searches, right back to when you first opened your account. Locate the Clear Searches icon at the top of the screen and tap it.
Facebook will confirm your choice, then wipe your entire search history.
3. Google Play Store History
Your Google Play Store search history can offer more revealing insights into your lifestyle and hobbies. And again, it can also reveal embarrassing secrets. (Don’t worry, we already know you’re a member of the SpongeBob fan club!)
Clearing your search history can be done in a few simple steps.
Open the app and tap on the three horizontal lines in the upper-left corner to open the menu. Scroll down and tap on Settings. Within the Settings menu, find Clear local search history and tap on it.
Oddly, you won’t see a confirmation screen or notification to tell you the action was a success. To ensure the process worked, return to the app’s main screen and tap on the search box at the top of the window. You shouldn’t see any entries listed.
4. Notification History
A surprising number of Android users aren’t aware the device logs their notification history.
Of course, the feature has lots of useful aspects; it’s a great way to see what an alert said if you accidentally dismissed it. However, it’s also a security hazard. It can reveal snippets of emails and WhatsApp messages, a summary of your missed calls, and possibly even reveal your username for certain apps.
Amazingly, there’s no way to clear the Notification Log manually. You need a third-party app. The Play Store has lots to choose from, but one of the best is Notification History.
Once you’ve got it installed, head to Settings and mark the checkbox next to Auto Purge.
Download: Notification History (Free)
5. Call History
Your call history is another gaping hole in your phone’s security. It offers a giant window into who you communicate with most frequently.
Thankfully, deleting your call history doesn’t require any tricks or third-party apps.
To wipe the history, open the Phone app and tap the History tab. Now locate the three vertical dots in the upper-right corner and open Call history.
In the new window, tap the three vertical dots in the upper-right corner, then select Clear call history. Your phone will prompt you to confirm your choice before performing the action.
6. Gboard History
Did you know even Gboard, the default Android keyboard, is logging your history? Since it morphed from the now-defunct Google Keyboard into its present iteration, it’s been storing lots of data. But what data, exactly?
Well, it depends on how you use your keyboard. If you send lots of GIFs, it might have a history of them. Same with custom words or Google Searches.
Thankfully, regardless of how you use the keyboard, it’s easy to wipe the data. Before proceeding, you should know there’s no granular approach here. For example, you can’t wipe your GIFs but keep your search history — it’s all or nothing.
To wipe Gboard’s history, go to Settings > Apps > Gboard. Tap on Storage and select Clear Data.
7. Spotify History
Your Spotify history falls into the “potential embarrassment” category rather than the “high value to hackers” category. If you spend all your free time listening to Madonna and Justin Bieber, you might want to be deleting your history on a regular basis!
To give yourself a clean slate, open the app and tap the Search tab at the bottom of the screen. Scroll down the bottom of your list of recent searches and tap Clear recent searches to delete your data.
8. Twitter History
Like Facebook, your Twitter history can reveal a lot about anything from the news topics you care about to which celebrities you love and who you’re secretly stalking. You don’t want it getting into the wrong hands.
To get rid of your recent Twitter search history, open the app, tap the search icon at the top of the screen, then click inside the search box.
You’ll see a list of all your recent search terms and the hashtags you’ve been looking at. Tap the X icon next to Recent to remove the history from your device.
9. SMS History
If you’re still stuck the 1990s and using SMS as your primary messaging tool, there’s no helping you. No really, there’s no helping you. If you use the default Google Messages app, there is no way to delete all your message history in bulk.
Instead, you’ll have to long-press on the first message in your inbox, then work through all your messages selecting each one individually. When you’re finally ready, tap the trash can icon in the upper-right corner.
10. Factory Reset Your Device
For a more permanent and thorough solution, you should factory reset your device. This is the only secure option if you’re planning to recycle it, sell it, or give it to a family member.
Of course, this is the nuclear option. All your data, apps, photos, music, and anything else you have saved on your device will be gone forever.
To factory reset your Android phone or tablet, go to Settings > Backup and Reset > Factory data reset.
Do You Delete Your History?
I’ve shown you 10 ways of deleting history off your Android device. I’ve covered some of the most common apps and security weak points.
Now I want to hear your input. Do you take the time to work through your apps and delete your history manually? Or do you leave everything there for anyone to see?
As always, you can leave all your opinions and feedback in the comments below. And don’t forget to share this article with your friends via social media.
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