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Delete or turn off your message history

When you delete your message history, this is deleted from Gmail and Hangouts on all your devices. Other people in the Hangout can still see the history.

Delete your message history

Delete history with one person

  1. On your computer, go to Hangouts at hangouts.google.com or in Gmail.
  2. Select a conversation.
  3. At the top of the conversation window, click Settings .
  4. Select Delete conversation.
  5. If you’re sure you want to delete your conversation, click Delete.

Delete history for a group

You can’t delete the history for a group, but you can leave the conversation. Learn how to leave the conversation.

If someone adds you back to the group conversation, you’ll be able to see the history again.

Hide a conversation

You can remove a conversation from the top of your conversation list without deleting the history.

Hide a conversation

  1. On your computer, go to Hangouts at hangouts.google.com or in Gmail.
  2. Open a conversation.
  3. At the top right of the Hangout window, click Settings .
  4. Click Archive conversation. If you send or get a new message, it will show up again on your conversation list.

See a conversation again

  1. On your computer, go to Hangouts at hangouts.google.com or in Gmail.
  2. Open settings:
    • On hangouts.google.com: Click Menu and then Settings.
    • On Gmail: At the top of your Hangouts list, click the Down arrow Down Arrow.
  3. Click Archived Hangouts.
  4. Click the conversation you want to bring back.
  5. At the top right of the Hangout window, click Settings .
  6. Click Unarchive conversation.

Turn Hangout history on or off

When you turn your history on or off, it changes for everyone in the conversation. A notification will show up in the Hangout window.

  1. On your computer, go to Hangouts at hangouts.google.com or in Gmail.
  2. Open a conversation.
  3. At the top, click Settings .
  4. Check or uncheck "Conversation history."
    • Checked: History is turned on. Messages can be seen in the Hangouts on all your devices and in Gmail.
    • Unchecked: History is turned off. Messages can only be seen for a short time on your devices. Then, the messages won’t be saved and will be deleted.
  5. Click Ok.

If you use Google through your work or school, your domain administrator can set and change this setting.

Note: If you talk to someone who uses a different chat app, their app may keep a separate copy of the conversation's history.

See and search Hangouts messages in Gmail

See your Hangouts messages in Gmail

You won’t see your message history in Gmail if you turn off Hangouts history.

  1. On your computer, open Gmail with the same account you use for Hangouts.
  2. On the left, click More and then Chats.
  3. Click to open a Hangout. 

Search for past Hangouts messages

  1. On your computer, open Gmail with the same account you use for Hangouts.
  2. In the search box, type in:chats and a word.
  3. Click Search Search.
  4. In the search results, Hangouts messages will have a Hangouts icon .

If you delete Hangouts history in Gmail

If you delete your message history in Hangouts, you will delete all email threads associated with that Hangout in Gmail.

  • Deleted messages in Hangouts won’t be stored in Trash.
  • If you move the threads to Trash, it will only remove the messages from your Gmail inbox, not from Hangouts.

Brenna is a Hangouts expert and the author of this help page. Help her improve this article by leaving feedback below.

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