Whether you've been searching for an anniversary present or looking at dodgy websites, it's easy to clear your internet browsing history in Safari on the iPhone and iPad. This option was moved in iOS 11, however, so you may have lost your bearings since updating.
For lots more tips on protecting your secrets, see How to use private browsing on iPhone and How to delete call history on iPhone. And for similar privacy advice applicable to your desktop and laptop computing, see How to delete browsing history on Mac.
How to selectively delete browsing history
Assuming your iPhone or iPad is up to date and running the latest version of iOS, you clear browsing history by doing the following:
- Open Safari, and tap the bookmarks icon (the open book). On iPhone this is at the bottom of the screen; on iPad it's at the top left.
- At the top of the Bookmarks pane you'll see three icons. Tap the clock icon on the right to open History.
- At the bottom of the History pane, tap Clear, then select 'The last hour', 'Today', 'Today and yesterday' or 'All time'.
- You can also delete individual entries: swipe to the left across a URL until it turns red and says Delete.
In the older iOS 10 software, the process is almost the same, but you access the History pane in a slightly different way.
- Open Safari and tap the bookmarks icon at the bottom (iPhone) or top (iPad) of the screen.
- Tap History, near the top of your list of bookmarks.
- Tap Clear at the bottom and select how far back you want to delete the history, or swipe left across an entry to delete that.
How to delete all browsing history
The above method is essential if you just want to clear specific entries from your history, or for deleting only the past hour or day of websites. But if you want to clear your history completely, you can also do this from Settings.
Open the Settings app, then scroll down and tap Safari. Scroll down again and tap Clear History and Website Data, then tap Clear History & Data when iOS asks for confirmation.
Note that this also deletes cookies and other browsing data. If you would prefer to keep them, it's better to delete history within Safari as described above - use the 'All time' option to wipe the lot.
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