Many browser types have features that display recently visited sites and other pieces of information such as images, search terms or words used in search engines and login names. These are saved as ‘cookies’ and they can mark a trail or ‘history’ that reveals what you have been looking at online. If you share a computer with someone else or you do not use a password to log on to your computer, someone else might be able to access your email and track your Internet browsing history. The safest way to find information on the internet when you don’t want anyone specific to know what you are looking at would be at a local library, a friend’s house, or at work.
The record of your internet usage is easy to erase in all of the major browsers, however be warned that if you are at risk or think you might be at risk of abuse, deleting all internet history may raise suspicions with your abuser. Using a public computer might be the better option
Follow the instructions below to delete your browser history in Internet Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.
What internet browser am I using?
- Click on Help or the burger menu on the toolbar at the top of the browser screen
- A drop down menu will appear. The last entry on the menu will read: “About…”, followed by the name of your browser. For example, if you are using Internet Explorer, it will read “About Internet Explorer”
Once you have identified your browser, follow the relevant instructions below:
Erase Your Internet Explorer History
A useful keyboard shortcut for deleting your browsing history in Internet Explorer is Ctrl-Shift-Delete. If you press this combination of keys in a recent version of Explorer, a dialog box will appear that lets you specify what you want to keep and what you want to remove. Simply check the boxes next to the history you want to remove, and then click Delete.
Clear Out Your Chrome History
Chrome users have access to the same keyboard shortcut as Internet Explorer users. Press Ctrl-Shift-Delete in Chrome, and you’ll see Google’s options for deleting your browser history. As with IE, simply check the boxes next to the history items you want to clear, but be sure to examine the options available to you in the drop-down menu at the top. This menu allows you to specify how much of your history you’d like to delete. You can choose to excise the past hour, day, week, or month – or you can also delete everything since the beginning of time.
Delete Your Browsing History in Firefox
Firefox users, also have access to the same keyboard shortcut for deleting browser history as IE and Chrome users: Press Ctrl-Shift-Delete to summon the history-clearing options that are available to you in Firefox. If you don’t see a detailed list of what you can and can’t delete, click the Details arrow to reveal the specifics. As with Chrome, you have the option of choosing a time range to clear. The options are a bit different, however. In Firefox, you can clear the last hour, the last 2 hours, the last 4 hours, the last full day, or your entire Firefox history.
Erase Your History in Safari
Like most browsers, Safari has many keyboard shortcuts, but it doesn’t have one for deleting your browser history. Instead, click the gear icon in the upper-right corner, and select Reset Safari. In the resulting pop-up menu, check the items that you want to clear; then press the Reset button to remove your data.
Toolbars such as Google, AOL and Yahoo keep a record of the search words you have typed into the toolbar search box. In order to erase all the search words you have typed in, you will need to check the individual instructions for each type of toolbar. For example, for the Google toolbar all you need to do is click on the Google icon, and choose “Clear Search History”.
Don’t forget to log out
If you are using any other online forums or online email accounts such as Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo – don’t forget to log out of your account when you have finished your session so no one else can view your confidential information.