Search and browse privately

You’re in control of what information you share with Google when you search. If you want to search and browse the web more privately, here are some tips.

Note: Most of these tips work when you're using a browser, but not in the Google app on your Android phone or iPhone.

Search and browse privately

Step 1: Open private browsing mode

If you want to browse the web without saving your past searches and other activity, you can use your browser’s private browsing mode.

How private browsing works

  • Searches you do, sites you visit, and files you download aren't recorded in your browsing and download histories.
  • All new cookies are deleted after you close your private browsing window.

Learn how to use private browsing

Note: There isn't a private browsing mode if you're using the Google app on your Android or iOS device.

Step 2: Sign out of your Google Account

Once you’re in private browsing mode, make sure you’re signed out of your Google Account. Follow these steps to check if you’re signed out of your browser:

  1. Visit any Google page, like google.com.
  2. Look in the top right corner of the page.
    • If you see the blue Sign in button, you’re already signed out of your account.
    • If you don’t see the blue Sign in button, click your photo or email address > Sign out.

Note: If you're using the Google app on your Android or iOS, you have to remove your Google Account from the app to sign out. When you remove your Google Account, things like Google Now won't work.

Step 3: Turn off result customization

Your search and ad results may be customized even if you're signed out. For example, your results may be customized based on which results you click on, including links to apps.

To turn off this type of customization, follow these steps:

  1. Visit any Google page, like google.com.
  2. Click your photo or email address in the top right corner.
  3. Click Sign out.
  4. Go to http://google.com/history/optout.
  5. Click Disable customizations based on search activity. This will turn the setting off for anyone who uses the same browser and computer as you until someone signs in.

Note: If you're using the Google app on your Android or iOS device, you won't be able to change this setting because you aren't searching on a browser. 

Delete your past searches & browsing activity

Delete past searches or stop saving them
Learn how to delete your past searchesor turn off your Web & App Activity to prevent searches from being saved.
Delete your browser history

Delete recent history

Your searches, pages you visit, and other web activity may also be stored in your browser or the Google Toolbar. Learn how to delete your history on Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari, Toolbar, and Firefox.

Delete past browsing history

Past browsing and download history may be stored in your browser’s cache. Learn how to clear your browser's cache and cookies on Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari or Firefox.

page author courtney

Courtney is a Search expert and author of this help page. Leave her feedback below about the page.

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