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YouTube isn’t completely evil. Yes, there are some undesirable features such as anonymous YouTube trolls YouTube To Fight The Trolls By Making Them Use Their Real Name [Updates] YouTube To Fight The Trolls By Making Them Use Their Real Name [Updates] If Dante was writing his Divine Comedy today, he would have added another layer of Hell to his masterpiece and it would have been called "The YouTube Comments". Yes, if you want to see how... Read More , and there’s the whole thing with Google sticking its hands into everyone’s privacy through tracking. However, YouTube has done a lot of good — just compare the modern day interface with the interface from 2005 if you don’t believe me. And a lot of their features, though annoying, are good-intentioned. The YouTube Recommendations feature is one of them.

A lot of people shame Google for their methods — even going as far as threatening to quit Google altogether How To Quit Using Google How To Quit Using Google So what can you do when Google encompasses a ton of products and services all around the world and you want to escape their control? When complaints and protests don’t work, the best way to... Read More . But if you think about it, it’s a noble thing for YouTube to suggest videos that you might like based on your browsing habits. Over 100 hours of video footage is being uploaded to YouTube every minute. No one has the time to browse through all of that, so recommendations are a nice way to show you relevant videos.

The problem is that YouTube’s recommendations can eventually start going wonky, suggesting weird videos that have nothing to do with your interests. When that happens, here’s what you can do to deal with it.

How to Reset YouTube Recommendations

Nobody knows what exactly goes into the YouTube algorithm for suggesting recommendations. Well, nobody other than the YouTube engineers of course. However, it’s safe to say that two things have a very strong impact on what YouTube ends up recommending: search history and watch history. If you reset both of these, you can pretty much reset your recommendations back to a blank slate.

youtube-search-history

The first thing you’ll want to do is clear the search history. Without a search history, the YouTube algorithm doesn’t know what you usually watch. Plus, by deleting the log of searches, you can erase all of those “guilty pleasure” video searches that you’ve been running but never wanted anyone to find.

To delete your YouTube search history:

  • Go to the top bar and click on your account name.
  • In the menu that appears, click on Video Manager.
  • In the side navigation, click on Search History.
  • Be sure to click on both Clear all search history and Pause search history.

By pausing the search history feature, YouTube will stop logging the search terms that you run when looking for videos. With that done you won’t need to constantly delete your history in order to reset your recommendations, resulting in “pure” recommendations most of the time. If you want this feature back on, re-enabling is as easy as clicking the button again.

youtube-watch-history

The second thing you’ll want to do is clear your watch history. This is the log of all videos you’ve seen, which does not have a cap as far as I know. I just checked my watch history and there were over 1,300 videos in there. Without these, YouTube will lose track of your watching habits, thus resetting the YouTube recommendation algorithm.

To delete your YouTube watch history:

  • Go to the homepage sidebar and click on Watch History.
  • Be sure to click on both Clear all watch history and Pause watch history.

Similar to search history tracking, pausing watch history tracking prevents YouTube from logging all of the videos you watch while logged into your account. Since YouTube won’t have this information anymore, you won’t need to constantly clear this history. If you want this feature back on, again, re-enabling is as easy as clicking the button.

Note: After deleting histories, you may need to wait a while for the recommendations to reset. Sometimes, the recommendations just won’t reset even after you’ve cleared everything. This is because there are other outside factors that are considered when formulating recommendations. In this case, there’s little else you can do.

How to Remove YouTube Recommendations

Resetting your recommendations is one way to go about it, but removing recommendations entirely would be another way to solve the problem. This would be a great choice for those of you who never really look at the recommendations, who have never found any good recommendations, or who simply prefer more screen estate while browsing YouTube.

youtube-options-addon

The quickest and easiest way to remove YouTube recommendations would be to use the YouTube Options browser extension available for Chrome, Safari, and Opera. It’s one of the tools that we recommend for cutting out YouTube annoyances Hack YouTube: Kill the Annoyances, Improve Your Viewing Hack YouTube: Kill the Annoyances, Improve Your Viewing YouTube is a revolutionary service, but that doesn't mean that it’s without its flaws. There are many features on the site that are designed for convenience, other features that are meant to satiate legal requirements,... Read More and while it does have the ability to remove video recommendations entirely, it does so much more.

youtube-quietube-bookmarklet

Unfortunately, the YouTube Options extension isn’t available on Firefox, which means you’ll need to find another way to be rid of those pesky recommendations. One way to do this would be to use the Quietube bookmarklet, which takes a YouTube video and completely removes all of the distracting elements (e.g., comments, recommended videos, related videos, etc.) and leaves you with just the video. An alternative to Quietube would be the YouTube Cinema Mode addon.

Obviously this is more of a workaround than a true fix, but it does get the job done when you are out of options.

Conclusion

If those pesky YouTube recommendations are bogging you down, you don’t have to sit there and put up with them. Clear out your histories to reset those recommendations OR get rid of them altogether with a browser extension or bookmarklet. The feature itself is fine on paper, but when it starts acting up and stops doing what it’s supposed to do, try the solutions above, see how it works out for you, and share your results with us in the comments.

  1. TheOncomingStorm
    September 10, 2016 at 1:02 am

    clearing and stopping the search/watch history does nothing. i did that yonks ago and i'm STILL getting channel recommendations. based off of what? i have no fecken clue.

  2. Lassiter
    September 4, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    I completely disagree with your premise. Their recommendations are not pesky, they simply are pushing content from corporations instead of really using our search history like they used to.
    Indeed, it is cool that YouTube used to use algorithms based on search history to recommend things relevant. That's the beauty of the technology they helped to invent, that's the point of their use of their archive, which has been uploaded by the world. It doesn't really matter how much content they get, that shouldn't impact the algorithm that recommends based on what we have historically liked before. Telling readers to just delete their history and start over and then calling the issue "pesky" is missing the point.
    YouTube should not let its algorithms be based on favoring corporate media subscriptions. That's the point. It's clear they're doing it. Why, I don't know; you're the journalist. Investigate please.

    • LegendLength
      September 8, 2016 at 12:32 pm

      I use youtube a lot and have seen no sign of corporate videos being pushed ahead of others in the recommended section.

      My problem is the section gives you a very limited range of videos and even if you have viewed thousands of different videos, it starts repeating recommendations every few pages as you scroll through the list. It even gives you videos that you have liked (often) or even disliked!

  3. josie
    August 31, 2016 at 11:19 am

    Question... how to remove "recommended" when I am not signed in? I dont want to be signed in to google if i can avoid it.. thanks in advance kind regards Josie in Australia

  4. Shyren
    August 25, 2016 at 8:04 am

    I already have my history paused. Maybe that's why absolutely none of the videos I see I like? I keep getting Steven Universe, The Amazing World of Gumball, random music videos, basketball, comic dubs, let's players and commentators that I can't stand, other channels I don't like, a random assortment of Anime YouTubers, Yandere Simulator, and other stuff I'm really not interested in. When I try to put "Not Interested", it either works, and does nothing to change them, or I accidentally tap on the video, which just gets me more videos I don't like.

  5. Puppy
    August 19, 2016 at 6:57 am

    I love animals and especially dogs. I've been doing a lot of activism against the very cruel and sadistic dog meat trade in Asia where they torture dogs before slaughtering and eating them (they believe torturing the dogs before slaughter has "health benefits" and makes their men more virile) However, I reached a point after months of doing this where I nearly had a mental breakdown. <:'( I have my strong moments when I can take it but every now and then I need a break to keep my sanity. I just turned on You Tube to watch some totally unrelated videos and low and behold got lots and lots of Yulin Dog Festival and Asian Dog Meat Trade video suggestions so panicked and just turned it off. I am crying now. I would like a way to filter content, sort of like the "adult content" filter only for things that I don't want them to shove into my face unexpectedly when I least expect it. Just FYI, I will never stop fighting against this sadistic sick trade. I just need a break from it every now and then. Unfortunately, You Tube doesn't realise this.

    • George
      August 28, 2016 at 5:45 am

      Use two accounts to log in to YouTube. Make sure you only browse the dog-related videos from one particular account, then when you've had enough, use the other account for your pleasant viewing.

  6. psiklon
    August 11, 2016 at 3:27 am

    Your suggestions were right on, youtube saw I looked at radio control planes and sent me suggestions to watch the latest military weapons and why Clinton is an alien communist. Very weird system that they use. I also noticed that when I used firefox's private window mode to surf , youtube immediately made suggestions on another browser I later used based on what I watched. Looks like they do a lot of watching themselves. And they see through digital walls like superman...Thanks for helping me block a ton of unwanted suggestions.

  7. deepak
    July 8, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    Thank you dude!!!

  8. Mike
    July 3, 2016 at 6:11 pm

    I don't gather search or video history, so why the heck are they recommending video channels I don't care for..... How can I replace the recommendations with subscriber channels.

  9. Pete
    June 3, 2016 at 12:14 am

    Thanks for reminding me, Joel. I knew that, a couple of years go, after trying it a random.
    But, I'd forgotten. I recently came to the conclusion that it was fairly well intentioned.
    That was, UNTIL... 3 or so months ago, YouTube began to load up my account page with
    "recommendations" that were completely unrelated to what I'd previously viewed. I took
    the time to remove them and even took their little "Tell Us Why" survey. But, even though
    they claimed -- just after I clicked on "Not Interested" -- that they "Got it. We'll try harder to
    fine tune our recommendations"... well, they didn't try! Many of their very worst kept on
    appearing! After reading your little blog, though, I thought to myself: "Oh, yeah! That's it!"

  10. BrokenEye, True False Prophet
    May 27, 2016 at 9:35 pm

    I was more than a little freaked out to discover that I was receiving recommendations based on videos I'd watched on a completely different site, which uses a different video hosting platform. How the hell did they know about that? What right do they have to even be looking at that?

    On the bright side, after doing everything you said, I told it to ignore all the generic untailored suggestions on the homepage, and then did it again, and apparently this was enough to hamstring the suggestions engine, because now it's not giving me any suggestions at all. Thank god for life's little victories.

  11. Prek
    May 22, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    Seriously, I mean, Youtube (google) is going overboard with their recommendations. It is kind of creepy as well as embarrassing. There are many ways humanity can benefit from machine learning but this is not one.

  12. Don
    May 20, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    Great post! I just want it to not recommend videos that I have already seen or videos that are in my watch later queue. THAT is really the biggest problem with recommendations to me!

  13. Paladin
    April 28, 2016 at 12:56 am

    As a huge anime fan I can now watch videos in peace without being harrassed by spoilers from other YouTube accounts / videos so thanks a lot.

  14. Hemant kumar arya
    April 19, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    Awesome post. Now we can remove Recommended videos from Youtube home page in just one click. This is really helpfull.

    Thank you..?
    LetsTrick

  15. Sapphire
    March 16, 2016 at 12:14 am

    Where the HELL do you find the checklist that gives the option to show APPEARANCE, and then the check box "Hide video suggestions"????

    I REALLY HATE THESE SUGGESTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS, waste of time, clicking myself into carpal tunnel and tendinitis to click to delete everything.

    Clearing search or watch history does nothing.

    • Potato
      April 24, 2016 at 8:24 pm

      LOL ikr??

  16. Tim
    February 25, 2016 at 12:38 am

    This info is inaccurate. Instead click on History on left of site and click "Clear all Watch History". Not only is this blog inaccurate, but the actual solution is simpler. I think you were more concerned with ad revenue then helping anyone. I wish you bad luck on your site.

  17. Quinn
    January 25, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    clicking on the Youtube Options link leads to a PAID subscription service NO.

  18. Grave
    January 25, 2016 at 2:39 am

    okay now teach me how to keep it from recommending videos i've already watched... even though i went to the trouble of selecting "not interested" and give "because i've already watched this" as a reason.

  19. Siifidf
    January 7, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    yes thanks .. this crappy feature was playing on my nerves for some time now ..

  20. kk
    December 1, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    Even when not logged also, I'am getting recommendations how to remove it and even these recommendations are entirely different to what i have subscribed/watched when im logged in .
    I have cleared my entire browsing history,cookies,cache & still getting the same, when i click on youtube main page recommendations are displayed . Atleast i don't want to see recommendations on the youtube main page.

    • ash
      December 3, 2015 at 6:25 pm

      Me too. It is annoying. I'm getting recommendations that are nothing to do with me. I am not in the USA, I do not care for people telling me to vote out someone or telling me someone is 'Anti-American'. A lot of the people talking about Anti-Americans are 'Anti-American' by their own definition in some other way either against LGBT or bait anyone who isn't a Christian (studying A level Government and Politics when we touched on American politics I'd had enough of that already). I don't care for the childish political discourse of the USA. I really don't want awful 'fail' video complications, I do not want to know about the 'people who you didn't think existed'. It is all mind-numbing to me. Can we bring the quiet in this world a little?

      • Ryumoau
        May 10, 2016 at 2:57 am

        What are you babbling about, you idiot.

  21. Al
    November 24, 2015 at 11:28 pm

    I usually press not interested and it seems to do the trick but this time around the YouTube app self refreshes and returns all of the recommendations I juuust canceled.

  22. Tsais Delima
    September 14, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    Thanks for the article...

    But I actually like the recommendations, I'd just like to specifically remove Richard Dorkins related videos, rather than resetting everything.

    As for Google, they mostly manage to be so useful that lots of people are willing to trade their data for the stuff Google offers.

    I have no issue with that.

    But Google has started mandating that manufacturers wanting to produce a Nexus device aren't permitted to include a Micro-SD card slot, to force our data files into their cloud. That actually is very far from good-intentioned.

    • James McDonald
      November 7, 2015 at 4:56 am

      One thing you can do is remove specific videos from the watch history. Even that doesn't quite do what I want but it's better.

  23. Steven Milligan
    June 6, 2015 at 10:15 pm

    Great read and interesting points. At least it's something to shake up the recommendation-tree.

    I am, however, surprised that YouTube, being all about content, tracking, and attempting to deliver what it thinks people wants (or rather perhaps what might get them the most ad-revenue)... surprised that like several other websites out there, there's no section under your account/personal settings to check off boxes of things that interest you.

    Like on how some websites there's a series of boxes which might include, "Gaming, Entertainment, Sports, Finance, News, Politics, Religion", etc. Be nice to not only be able to select what interests us, so the "recommendations" can sort of prioritize what we're looking for over what we're not, but also a way to also outright x-out certain things, like "politics" or "finance".

    I sometimes get recommendations for videos or channels that have ZERO connection to anything I've ever searched or watched before; and with all the security I have in place, and having triple-checked my account, I know it wasn't hacked. Can only imagine people are misusing the tagging system or something, tagging the videos in sections/categories that they're not relevant to whatsoever. -_-

    • Vincent Beers
      August 16, 2015 at 6:38 am

      Misuse of the tagging system is one of the most common reasons for irrelevant videos finding their way into your recommended list. And it means having a check list of what you are most interested in will not solve this aspect of the issue.

      There are often people who tag things with whatever they feel is popular in the hopes that people will misclick their way into a viewing. I still remember a professor telling me that the most common tag for a website back in the 1990's was "Britney Spears" even if the website had nothing to do with Britney Spears, people have been tagging things wrong to trick others since the dawn of the internet search.

  24. Noor
    December 22, 2014 at 2:00 pm

    Do you know how I could do this on Youtube Vita? I never let my son watch Youtube, but he loves Minecraft and the guys he likes are safe to watch. I am just worried about everything else. I installed the app, set it up as strict and STILL saw a recommendation of men kissing. Not something I want my 7 year old to see. I may just have to delete it.

    • saba shahin
      August 22, 2015 at 5:20 pm

      There's a official YouTube app exclusively for kids in which kids can't search for blocked items even if they wanted to. Cheers!

    • Hillel Lowinsky
      August 24, 2015 at 9:20 pm

      But a video of a man and a woman kissing would be okay?

      • Sheila P
        September 14, 2015 at 8:17 pm

        You know what? How bout "you" do "you"...and let others do "them.
        Nuff said

  25. MasterDewd
    March 6, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    I get suggestions based on my region, I can't remove those

  26. Seeratul
    February 6, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Thank You ... I achieved what i wanted!

  27. Ophelia
    February 6, 2014 at 9:47 pm

    THANK YOU -__-!

  28. Stefan Nilsson
    January 26, 2014 at 4:02 am

    I don't mind recommendations - I actually like the idea of finding related videos. However! It's often the same recommended videos, week after week, and often videos I've already seen. Plenty of people are asking and they should really make it possible to remove/hide/downvote videos you're not interested in so you can get some fresh recommendations.

  29. Jordan
    December 29, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    I recommend Youtube Center as it has more Features than Youtube Options and it is available as a Userscript and Addons for Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Maxthon, Internet Explorer, and more. It's open source too so you know exactly what goes in it.

    Site: https://github.com/YePpHa/YouTubeCenter/wiki

    • Joel L
      December 30, 2013 at 5:52 am

      I recently discovered Youtube Center and I agree that it is awesome. Had I known about it at the time, it would've gotten a #1 spot on most of my Youtube recommendation posts.

    • Jordan
      December 31, 2013 at 2:38 am

      Well, the future is still wide open for posting ;)

  30. mrswillroth
    December 11, 2013 at 4:06 am

    I am trying to do this with my android phone using the YouTube app. I don't get the same options to delete search history...unless it is hidden somewhere and I can't find it...I must get those videos off my account...I have small children and they are very graphic and have nothing to do with anything I ever watched. Help!

  31. Cynthia
    November 15, 2013 at 9:12 am

    It doesn't work at all because when i log out, i still got "recommended videos" I really think its link to your Ip so you can't delete them.

  32. sajani
    November 10, 2013 at 1:57 am

    Thank you!!!!! I deleted the search history and watch history and it worked!!! No more recommendations!!!

    • Joel L
      November 12, 2013 at 2:18 am

      Awesome! Good to know it worked for you. :)

  33. Jo Marsh
    September 20, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    This is useful to know but I am always being recommended reality tv crap, which I HATE, and certainly would never ever search for. I have been signed up with youtube for years, and while they do recommend stuff which is useful, I have no clue why I am being given this rubbish. So ultimately they must use something other than my search history etc.

  34. JDonner
    September 17, 2013 at 8:54 am

    NOTE: I had everything well aligned, but your web site removed all hard returns and made the text hard to read and it doesn't even allow me to edit my comments, so that I can't even change the "Leave" (dyslexia mistake) into "Life".

    If you want people to contribute to your site, then make sure that your sloppy coding isn't annoying them or am I really that unfair?

    • Joel L
      September 20, 2013 at 5:05 pm

      I'm not sure what you mean because all of the hard returns are there in your comment(s).

  35. JDonner
    September 17, 2013 at 8:45 am

    Firefox:

    1. Install add-on Adblock Plus 2.3.2
    2. Install add-on Element Hiding Helper for Adblock Plus 1.2.3

    Done!

    Leave can be so easy when you know how to Google...wink, wink.

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