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How to Clear Your Cache on Any Browser
How to Clear Your Cache on Any Browser
Chrome doesn't give you the option to not collect your browser history, or set a window for how much it should hold. It just collects and collects until you go in and delete it.
What's more, if you have a Google account and are signed into it with Chrome, your history is likely being synced to Google My Activity. While it should be secured behind your Google account (use a password manager and two-factor authentication for the best protection), if you truly wish to be rid of history, go here, select the hamburger/three-dot menu up top > Activity Controls to turn off the inclusion of Chrome browser activity (from desktops and handhelds), as well as delete any activity synced with the service.
Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer
You can't delete just one chunk of data from a time period like a day or week, but there is the option to "Always clear this [data] when I close the browser." That ensures you have no browser history stored, as long as you close the browser regularly. Pick more data types and you'll have next to nothing stored—which is fine until you're entering the same passwords and 2FA logins over and over (the price of freedom, people).
Like Google, Microsoft is keeping some of your history online. Click Change what Microsoft Edge knows about me in the cloud to visit a page for your Microsoft account where you can delete that synced browsing history. You can also delete search history at Bing.com, stored location data showing where you've logged in, and stuff you've stored in Cortana's notebook.
Still using Internet Explorer (IE)? You're not alone. To wipe the history in IE11 and 10, go to the Gear icon at upper left and select Internet Options. On the General tab, you can check a box next to Delete browsing history on exit, or click the Delete button to instantly get rid of history, passwords, cookies, cached data (called Temporary Internet files and website files), and more. If you instead click Settings, you go to a History tab and ensure your history is only collected for a specific number of days, automatically deleting anything older.
You have the option to get rid of your browsing history using the Favorites Menu. Click the star on the top-right > History tab. There, you can see websites you visited on specific dates (Today, Last Week, 3 Weeks Ago, etc.) Right-click to delete everything from a specific time period, or click to view and delete specific websites. If you're using an older version of IE, there are instructions online for deleting the history.
You can instead click History > Show History to get a pop-up displaying every site you've visited, then take out sites individually, without losing the cookies and cache. You can zap cookies by going into Preferences > Privacy; delete your cache by going to the Develop menu and picking Empty Caches. If you don't have a Develop menu in Safari, go to Preferences > Advanced and check Show Develop Menu in Menu Bar at bottom.
Check the Sync tab while you're in here—if you've signed on with a Mozilla Firefox account—your history (plus bookmarks, tabs, passwords, and preferences) may be synced with your other PCs and devices using Firefox, even on smartphones.
If you want to only delete data for select sites, go back to Settings > Safari and scroll down to Advanced > Website Data. After it loads (it can take a while) you'll see a listing of every website you've visited—and probably a lot you didn't, because it also records the sites serving third-party cookies. Click edit > minus symbol next to each to delete, or just swipe left for the same function.
With iOS, you have the option to either click Edit or Clear Browsing Data at the bottom. If you click the latter (which is the only option on Android phones and tablets), you're sent to a dialog box (below) that allows the eradication of all browsing history, cookies, cached data, saved passwords, and autofill data—you pick which you want to delete. Android users get the added ability to limit deletion to an hour, a day, a week, a month, or the legendary "beginning of time."
Again, check My Activity later to see what may be stored online.
What's more, on iOS, there is a completely separate Google app for searching (iOS, Android), with its own integrated browser. You can't delete the history of surfing within that Google app, though you can close all the tabs by clicking the Tabs icon at upper right, swiping one floating window right to delete, then clicking CLEAR ALL. That app's search history is stored at My Activity, of course.
On iOS, tap the hamburger menu in the bottom center and select Settings. Scroll down to Clear Private Data, and on the next screen you can turn off collection of browser history (or data caching, cookies, and offline website data) entirely. Click the Clear Private Data link at the bottom to clear all of the above. Note in Settings there is also a toggle to Close Private Tabs, which shuts them all down when you leave the browser, should you be using such tabs o' stealth.
On Android, Firefox is back to the three-dot menu at upper right. Select History to see the list, and click CLEAR BROWSER HISTORY at bottom to nix them all from existence. If you click the menu and go to Clear private data, you get a more granular way to delete browsing history, search history, downloads, form history, cookies, cache, and more. If you go to Privacy, you get the option to clear the private data of your choice whenever you quit the browser.
If you never want to leave a trace or have a history, download Dolphin ZeroIncognito Browser instead of the standard version.
To clear history in Opera Mini on iPhone, swipe right from the Speed Dial menu to access browsing history and click the trash icon to delete it. On any version, click Opera's O menu, select the gear icon; once in Settings, scroll to Clear Browsing data (or just Clear on iPhone). Select passwords, history, or cookies to delete instantly.
On Android, go to Advanced to turn off the collection of cookies and passwords, but not of browser history; cookies is the only option you can choose not to track on iOS. Stick to using private tabs if you're visiting sites that you don't want a history of.
You can do much the same in the standard Opera browser for Android (the one that doesn't compress pages), by going to the hamburger menu and selecting Clear browsing data.