Turn Hangout history on or off

You can save all of the messages sent within a Hangout, as long as history is enabled for that Hangout. History is on by default for all Hangouts, but you can turn it off and on for each Hangout at any time.

Saving your Hangouts history lets you review your previous messages right from your Hangout window. Open a Hangout and scroll upward to see your saved messages. If you’ve downloaded the Hangouts mobile app, you can also view your Hangouts history from your phone and tablet.

While Hangout history is turned off, each message will be visible in Hangouts on all devices for a short period of time and will then be deleted from the Hangout window.

Turn off your Hangout's history

You can turn off your Hangout’s history if you don’t want to save a copy of the messages being sent for privacy or safety reasons.

  1. Open Hangouts.
  2. Choose the Hangout to change the history setting.
  3. Click settings .
  4. Click the box next to "Hangout history."
  5. Click Save.

When you or someone else in the Hangout changes the Hangout history settings, a notification will show in the Hangout window. 

For group Hangouts, anyone added to an existing group Hangout can see the group’s Hangouts’ message history. Don't worry, if you started the group Hangout from a conversation with one person, the group will only see group Hangout message history and not any messages you sent to that person before the group Hangout started.

Note:Keep in mind that if you're talking to someone who is connected to the network with a different desktop chat client, it's possible that his or her software is keeping a separate copy of the history.

See your Hangout history

  1. Go to your Gmail account linked with your Hangouts account.
  2. On the left side of the screen, click Chats. You’ll see a list of all your Hangouts histories that you saved.

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

Search for past Hangouts messages

  1. Go to your Gmail account linked with your Hangouts account.
  2. At the top of your mailbox, type a keyword in the search box.
  3. In the search results, Hangouts messages will be marked with a Hangouts icon.

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

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