Browsers Mac

How to Clear Your Safari Browsing History and Data

Lori Kaufman 29-12-2017

A large amount of our time is spent online, and your browser remembers all the websites you’ve visited and logged in to. Your browser stores data to make it easier and quicker to go back to websites you visit often.


Browsing data reveals your browsing habits, and can be accessed by sites you visit. If you’re concerned about your privacy, you can manage and delete your browsing history and other browsing data, like cookies, cache, and AutoFill information.

We’ve discussed clearing browsing history in different browsers on Windows How to Manually & Automatically Clear Your Browser History The websites you visit leave tracks on your computer. We show you how to delete your browsing history in Firefox, Chrome, Edge, and Internet Explorer. Read More . Today, we’ll cover how to manage your browsing history and other browsing data in Safari for Mac.

Browsing History

Browsing history is a record of every webpage you visit. Your browser stores the URLs for every page, except when you use private browsing mode 6 Ways You Can Be Tracked in Incognito or Private Browsing Mode Private browsing is private in 99% of cases, but can private browsing be hacked? Can you tell what someone has viewed incognito? Read More . As you start typing a URL in the address bar of your browser, previously visited URLs display in a dropdown list that match what you’re typing. Also, when you search on Google, search results that match webpages in your browsing history are shown as “already visited.”

Browsing history can help improve your browsing experience, but it also exposes your browsing habits. If other people use your Mac from time to time, or you get family members looking over your shoulder as you surf the web, you may want to delete your browsing history on a regular basis.

Manually Clear Browsing History and Other Browsing Data

You can manually clear your browsing history at any time. Two of the ways to clear all your browser history are:

  • Go to Safari > Clear History.
  • Go to History > Clear History.

Using either way above, you’ll see the following dialog box. Choose how far back you want to clear history from the dropdown list and then click Clear History.

how to clear browsing history and data in safari

Be aware that the name Clear History is misleading. Clicking Clear History also deletes other website data, like cookies and the entire browser cache. But there is a way to clear your browsing history without losing website data 9 Things You Probably Didn’t Know You Could Do in Safari Safari is a good browser — uncluttered, pleasing, and smart. Yes, it might be missing a few features, but it has several other useful ones that'll make browsing easier for you. Read More .

Open the Safari or History menu, but press and hold down the Option key before selecting the Clear History option. You’ll see the option change to Clear History and Keep Website Data. Keep the Option key pressed and select that option.


how to clear browsing history and data in safari

Manually Clear Individual Websites From Browsing History

If you’ve visited a few sites you don’t want saved in your history, but you don’t want to delete everything, you can delete individual sites from your history. This is also a way to keep your other website data when deleting your browsing history.

To manually clear only certain websites from your browsing history, go to History > Show All History. The webpage on the current tab is replaced with the History screen. You’ll see a list of all the sites grouped by days or dates.

Click on a website you want to clear and press the Delete key. You can also right click on an item and select Delete. To delete multiple items, use the Shift and Command keys while clicking on items and then press the Delete key. You cannot right-click on multiple items to delete them.


how to clear browsing history and data in safari

The Clear History option we talked about in the previous section is also available on the History screen as a button. There’s no Clear History and Keep Website Data option available here, though.

how to clear browsing history and data in safari

To close the History screen and return to the webpage you were viewing on the current tab, click the Back button on the toolbar.


how to clear browsing history and data in safari

Remove History Items Automatically

If you’d rather not manually clear your browsing history, you can have Safari remove browsing history items for you on a set schedule

Go to Safari > Preferences and make sure the General tab is active. Click the Remove history items dropdown list and select the time frame after which you want Safari to delete browsing history items.

how to clear browsing history and data in safari


Browser cookies What Is a Website Cookie? How Cookies Affect Your Online Privacy You've heard of internet cookies, but what exactly are they? What do they have to do with your privacy? Here's what you need to know. Read More are small files that are created by websites you visit, which are stored on your computer. They store bits of information about actions you take on the website.

For example, if you add some items to your cart on Amazon and then leave Amazon, the items are still in the cart when you come back. Your login information and cart items are stored in cookies and reloaded when you visit Amazon again.

Cookies only store what you’ve entered on websites. Websites cannot get any more information from cookies than you personally provided on websites. But, third-party tracking cookies follow you around as you surf the web, allowing advertising and marketing agencies to view your browsing history. Then, these companies can target you with adverts they think are relevant to your interests.

Clear All Cookies or Only Cookies for Certain Sites

You can delete all cookies stored on your computer, or only cookies for certain sites.

Go to Safari > Preferences and click Privacy. Then, click Manage Website Data.

If you don’t want any sites to store cookies on your computer, check the Block all cookies box above the Manage Website Data button. But, remember that not allowing cookies, or deleting cookies, will force you to log in to websites every time you visit them and not save what you’ve added to carts on shopping sites.

how to clear browsing history and data in safari

You’ll see a list of all sites that have stored data in cookies (or in the cache, discussed in the next section) on your computer. Scroll through the list and select a website for which you want to delete the cookie, or other website data. Click Remove.

If you know which site for which you want to delete the cookies, use the Search box at the top of the dialog box. You can also select multiple sites using the Shift and Command keys and click Remove.

To remove all the cookies and website data, click Remove All.

how to clear browsing history and data in safari


When you visit a website, files are downloaded to your computer for displaying the website. These files are saved to the browser cache Everything You Need to Know About the Browser Cache [MakeUseOf Explains] Whenever you have an issue with a website, one of the first suggestions you will hear from IT support is "try to clear your browser cache" along with "and delete your cookies". So what is... Read More , which is a temporary storage location on your hard drive. Locally cached files can include HTML files, CSS style sheets, JavaScript scripts, images, and other multimedia content.

Why do browsers store these files? When you go back to a website, the browser checks which content was updated since the last time you visited. Only updated files or files not already stored in the cache are downloaded. This allows websites to load faster, which can be helpful if you are surfing over a slow or limited internet connection.

Your browser cache can get very large over time and eat up a lot of space on your hard drive. You also may have files in your cache from websites you’re never going to visit again. You can clear your cache to get rid of files you won’t need again and to free up space on your hard drive.

Completely Clear Safari’s Cache

To empty the cache in Safari, you need the Develop menu, which you may not see on the menu bar. If it’s not there, go to Safari > Preferences and click Advanced. Then, check the Show Develop menu in menu bar box.

how to clear browsing history and data in safari

Once you see the Develop menu, close all Safari windows, leaving the Safari menu bar in place (keep the browser focused). Then, go to Develop > Empty Caches.

Any websites you visit after emptying caches will take a bit longer to load, because all the files for the site have to be downloaded again.

how to clear browsing history and data in safari


Safari’s AutoFill features allows you to automatically enter information, like user names, passwords, and credit card information. But you really shouldn’t be using your browser to save private information Why You Should Use Browsers for Browsing, Not Saving Information Read More . We recommend you disable AutoFill Browser Autofill Is a Privacy Risk: Here's How to Turn It Off Autofill is a convenient browser feature, but a big exploit was recently found that could result in you giving away more info than you thought. Here's how to disable it and stay safe. Read More and clear any data that’s been stored. Use a password manager Is Your Password Manager Secure? 5 Services Compared Unless you have an incredible memory, there's no way you can possibly hope to remember all your usernames and passwords. The sensible option is to use a password manager -- but which is best? Read More to store login information, credit card numbers, and other sensitive information.

Disable AutoFill and Delete the Data

To disable AutoFill, go to Safari > Preferences and click AutoFill. Uncheck the four boxes on the AutoFill screen.

Unchecking the boxes does not delete any data that’s been previously stored. Click the Edit button to the right of the data type you want to delete.

how to clear browsing history and data in safari

For example, when we click Edit to the right of the User names and password check box, we are taken to the Passwords screen in Safari Preferences. To access Safari passwords, you must enter your user password.

how to clear browsing history and data in safari

Then, you can select a website and click Remove. Use the Shift and Command keys to select multiple websites you want to remove.

If you use AutoFill, but the forms on a website are being filled with the wrong information, you can change the information for that website. Double-click on the User Name or Password you want to change and make the desired change. You can also change the Website URLs.

You can even add new entries manually using the Add button.

how to clear browsing history and data in safari

Protect Yourself Online

Browsing history, cookies, and cache can make your browsing experience more convenient. They can also compromise your privacy. It’s a good idea to clear your browsing data on a regular basis. You can also use private browsing in Safari which prevents any browsing data from being stored on your Mac.

Remember: you can still be tracked when using private browsing 6 Ways You Can Be Tracked in Incognito or Private Browsing Mode Private browsing is private in 99% of cases, but can private browsing be hacked? Can you tell what someone has viewed incognito? Read More . For almost complete privacy, you can use anonymous web browsers 4 Free Anonymous Web Browsers That Are Completely Private Anonymous browsing of the web is one way to protect your online privacy. Here are the best anonymous web browsers to use. Read More , like Tor Really Private Browsing: An Unofficial User’s Guide to Tor Tor provides truly anonymous and untraceable browsing and messaging, as well as access to the so called “Deep Web”. Tor can’t plausibly be broken by any organization on the planet. Read More .

Basically, your private information is a hot commodity, and that includes your browsing data. But, there are things you can do to protect yourself FOR SALE: Your Browsing History -- So What Can You Do? An FCC ruling that the ISPs must obtain permission from customers before selling personal data could be reversed. Your ISP is about to set a price for your personal data. How can we fight back? Read More , including using a VPN The Best VPN Services We've compiled a list of what we consider to be the best Virtual Private Network (VPN) service providers, grouped by premium, free, and torrent-friendly. Read More when connecting to the internet.

How do you protect yourself online? How often do you clear your browsing data and history? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments below.

Related topics: Online Privacy, Private Browsing, Safari Browser.

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  1. Stephen Russell
    February 28, 2018 at 3:45 pm

    Use C Cleaner each month end of to clear out cookies etc from Mac.
    Installed by PC Tech who urged I use C Cleaner.
    Free to use for PCs & Macs.
    See broom symbol.