A while back I wrote a post explaining how to delete your entire search history that Google has collected and stored since the moment you began using their service way back when.
Several of you have since written in and asked me if there’s a way to prevent Google from gathering and storing that information in the first place? Well, the answer to that question is yes!
Google uses a feature called Web & App Activity to collect and store your search information. Some folks are fine with that, but others not so much.
Luckily, it’s quite easy to turn it off if you’d like to prevent that info from being collected. Here’s how:
Note: Once you make the change using one device it will be in effect regardless of the type of device you use to access Google from then on.
If you use Google in a browser on a laptop or desktop computer…
1 – Visit the MyActivity page on the Google website and sign in to your Google account if you’re prompted to do so.
2 – Click the Activity controls link in the left-hand column.
You should now see a setting labeled “Web & App Activity” along with a slider button that controls that setting over on the right.
If the slider button is blue that means “Web & App Activity” is currently active on your account and it’s saving your search history in Google’s database.
If it’s gray that means it isn’t (and you should see the word “paused” somewhere on that line).
To disable “Web & App Activity” simply click the blue slider button and then confirm your selection by clicking PAUSE at the bottom of the box that pops up.
3 – (Optional) There are boxes you can check right below the “Web & App Activity” line that will also prevent Google Chrome from collecting and storing your browsing history and voice and audio recordings. You can check those as well if you want to prevent Google from archiving that information.
If you use the Google app on a mobile device…
1 – Open the Google app and log into your Google account.
2 – Tap your little round profile icon located in the top-right corner of the screen.
3 – Tap Search history.
4 – Tap Saving to Web & App activity.
5 – Tap the Turn off button and then read the info on the next screen (you’ll need to at least scroll through it before you’ll be allowed to continue).
6 – Tap the Pause button.
That’s all there is to it. Once you have disabled (i.e. paused) the “Web & App Activity” feature Google will no longer gather and store your search history.
Important: Simply disabling “Web & App Activity” won’t delete any any information that Google already has collected and stored in conjunction with your account. Click here for instructions on deleting your existing Google Search History.