How to Pause and Clear YouTube History


There are 400 hours of YouTube videos updated every minute! That makes it challenging to locate videos you might enjoy on your own just by scrolling or clicking around on the site. YouTube uses your past viewing history, your interactions with those videos, and your searches to provide recommendations of videos you might enjoy.

But what if you don’t want YouTube using your past viewing and search histories to generate recommendations? You can clear those histories or even temporarily pause YouTube’s recording of them. You can be selective about which entries you delete, or you can eliminate them all with one click!

Why would you need to do this?

If you have a child about to melt down while waiting in line for something, you don’t want to end up with a series of SpongeBob videos crowding your feed. Before handing them the phone, pause the history and search recording, and you won’t see them.


If you have a YouTube account for your business, and you want to keep the suggestions closely related to your niche, fter browsing, delete individual videos and searches that may affect your recommendations.

Maybe you just want to prevent Google from finding out too much about you. Many people worry about Google obtaining identifying information about them. If this disturbs you, you can clear your histories after each session to keep that information to a minimum.

As time goes by, your interests may have changed, and the recommendations you receive are not as relevant as you would like. Deleting old videos and searches can remove those suggestions from your feed.

How to delete or pause YouTube history

Deleting and pausing your histories is easy. Just follow these steps on either the mobile app or on your desktop.

On desktop

1. Click your avatar in the top-right corner of the YouTube home feed.

2. Choose Settings.


3. At the bottom of the screen, click on the History button.


4. Along the right side of the screen there are some radio buttons. Click on these to display your watch history or search history.


5. To delete all the history click on “Clear all watch/search history.”


6. A popup window will appear asking you to confirm that you are sure you want to wipe out your history completely. It also reminds you that it will reset your video recommendations.


7. If you are sure, click clear watch/search history.

8. To pause your history, first select either the search history or the watch history button, then click on the Pause button below the radio buttons.

9. To delete single search entries or just one video, find the entry in the center panel and click on the X next to each entry you want to remove. This can only be done from your browser.


On Mobile app

1. Tap your avatar in the top-right corner. Open Settings.


2. Select History & privacy.


3. To clear your history or search history, select the appropriate option, and then confirm your actions.


4. To pause your history or search history, click on the sliding button for one or both choices.


YouTube can be an outstanding tool for learning and entertainment. In fact, YouTube states that “The goals of YouTube’s search and discovery system are twofold: help viewers find the videos they want to watch and maximize long-term viewer engagement and satisfaction.”

When you use these tips, the search entries and videos that you delete will no longer affect your recommendations. You are in control of what Google and YouTube use when they make suggestions for you.

Image credit: two hands holding a Samsung Galaxy S5 mini mobile phone which displays the Youtube app on the touch screen by ThomasDeco/Shutterstock

Subscribe to our newsletter!

Our latest tutorials delivered straight to your inbox