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Turn Hangout history on or off

With Hangouts history, you can save and reread all the messages sent in a conversation.

By default, history is on for all Hangouts, but you can turn it off and on for each Hangout at any time. If you use Google through your work or school, your domain administrator can change this default setting.

Turn your Hangout's history on or off

When you or someone else in the Hangout changes the Hangout history settings, the setting will change for all participants and a notification will show in the Hangout window.

Note: If you're talking to someone who uses a different desktop chat client, it's possible that their software keeps a separate copy of the conversation's history.

  1. On your computer, open Hangouts at or in Gmail.
  2. Click a Hangout to open it.
  3. At the top right of the Hangouts window, click Settings .
  4. Check or uncheck the box next to "Conversation history."
    • Checked: History is turned on. Messages can be seen in the Hangout on your computer, smartphone, and tablet. Messages are also saved in your Gmail account.
    • Unchecked: History is turned off. Messages can be seen in the Hangout for a short period on your computer, smartphone, and tablet. Then, the messages will be deleted from the conversation and not saved in your Gmail Account.
  5. Click Save.
History in group Hangouts

Anyone added to an existing group Hangout can see the group’s Hangouts message history.

If you started the group Hangout from a conversation with one person, the group will only see group Hangout message history. Group participants will not see any messages you sent to that person before the group Hangout started.

View your past Hangouts messages

If history is turned on, your conversation's history can be seen in the Hangout window. But if you want to read farther into the past, there's also a larger view in Gmail where you can read the message history.

  1. On your computer, open Gmail. Make sure it is the same account you use for Hangouts.
  2. On the left side of the page, click More at the bottom of your Gmail labels list.
  3. Click Chats. You’ll see a list of all your Hangouts histories that you saved.
  4. Find the Hangout you want to read, and click to open it.

If you turn off Hangouts history, messages sent in that Hangout while your history is turned off won't be stored in Gmail.

Search for past Hangouts messages

  1. On your computer, open Gmail. Make sure it is the same account you use for Hangouts.
  2. At the top, type "in:chats" and a keyword in the search box.
  3. Click the search icon . In the search results, Hangouts messages will be marked with a Hangouts icon.

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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