When you use a web browser to explore the internet, details of your activities are recorded by the program – and that includes information about every website you visit.
This can be useful because when you want to return to a previously visited website you’ll find it in the web browser’s history.
However, it can also be something of a privacy concern – especially if you share your computer with others.
Every web browser allows you to purge the history so that your browsing habits can remain private but each one requires a different method.
Here, we’ll explain how to brush away your online tracks in all major browsers and on all major computers and devices and demonstrate how in the video above.
Step 1: Internet Explorer (PC)
Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) is the last version of Microsoft’s traditional web browser. If you're using an older version of IE you should consider upgrading as Microsoft ended support for them in January 2016 - Find out more here.
The main version of Internet Explorer 11 is available on all types of Windows, except Windows 8 and 8.1 which use a full-screen app version.
If you use the traditional version of IE11, click or tap the cog icon at the top right. In older versions of the browser, open the Tools menu instead.
Now choose Internet options and, in the Browsing history section, click or tap the Delete button. Tick the boxes to choose what to delete then click or tap Delete.
In Windows 8.1 click Settings. Click Options and scroll down the list to find History. Click Select and tick the Browsing history checkbox and click Delete.
Step 2: Firefox (PC)
Open the Firefox menu by clicking the menu button that looks like three lines on top of each other, point to Options - History and click Privacy & Security on the right-hand side then click Clear History.
In the Clear History dialogue box that appears choose a time range (for a complete clear-out select Everything from the dropdown) and then use the tick-boxes to decide what to delete. Click the Clear Now button.
Step 3: Chrome (PC)
Click the menu button at the top right – it’s orange with two white dots – choose History and History again.
To remove individual items from your History, click the three dots to the right of the relevant entry and choose Remove from history.
To delete your online past en masse, first click the Clear browsing data button on the left. Select Browsing History and choose an option from Time range drop-down menu (choosing All time if you wish to wipe out everything) then click the Clear data button.
Step 4: Edge (PC – Windows 10)
To clear browsing data completely, simply click the options menu (the three dots situated at the top right) and select Settings.
Under Clear browsing data, click the Choose what to clear button. Tick all the types of history data you’d like to clear and select the Clear button.
Step 5: Safari (Macbooks/Macs)
Step 6: Safari (iPads, iPhones and iPods)
Step 7: Chrome (Android)
Manufacturers are free to tweak and change the basic Android interface so it isn’t possible to offer a single set of instructions to cover all devices.
However, many new Android smartphones and tablets have the Google Chrome browser pre-installed. If yours doesn’t, you can get it free from the Play Store.
Tap the Chrome app and choose Settings. Under Advanced - Privacy - Clear browsing data.
Select a time range, the type of information you want to delete and Clear data.