How to clear or disable the YouTube watch history

When logged in YouTube will automatically keep a history of your watch history. The watch history is not public information and will only be seen when you are logged in, but it may raise privacy concerns if other people have access to your computer or know your account details.

There are two options for managing this watch history, you can clear individual or all videos from the watch history or disable it all together.

To manage your history:

  1. Go to YouTube
  2. Click on the ‘History’ tab on the left hand side – here you will see your complete history
  3. To remove individual videos place a tick next to the video and then click ‘Remove’
  4. To remove all videos from the watch history click on the ‘Clear all watch history’ button
  5. And to disable the watch history click on the ‘Pause watch history’ button

I recommend you remove all videos from the watch history as well as disabling.

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2 comments on “How to clear or disable the YouTube watch history

  1. They seem to have a glitch with their Watch History. Mine has been paused for months and the entire history has been cleared, but for the past few days, it’s been recommending videos to me based on my recent views, but my history is still empty. Any idea what’s going on?

    1. Google really are the masters at targeted advertising – it sounds completely paranoid, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re still keeping a copy of your watch history to make their advertising more relevant.

      Other possibilities are that the advertising system may be looking at the cookies (for other websites) on your computer, your Google search history or gmail emails. Or it may just be pure coincidence that the ads are so well targeted. If it bothers you I would avoid using Google website when logged in, perhaps use your browser in private mode.

      You may also want to check your Google Ads preferences, it summarises what they know about you for advertising purposes and you can choose to opt out of the targeted advertising.

      https://www.google.com/settings/ads/

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