Does deleting browsing history really delete everything?

Answered by Stephen Mosley

Does deleting browsing history really delete everything?

Deleting your browsing history does remove certain aspects of your online activities, but it is important to understand that it doesn’t completely erase all traces of your internet usage. Let’s delve into the specifics to get a clearer picture.

1. Web addresses in History page: When you clear your browsing history, the list of web addresses you have visited is removed from the History page. This means that you won’t see the specific URLs you have accessed in your browsing history anymore.

2. Shortcuts on the New Tab page: Clearing your browsing history also removes shortcuts to the websites you have visited from the New Tab page. These shortcuts are typically displayed as thumbnails or tiles on your browser’s homepage or new tab page. Once cleared, these shortcuts will no longer be visible.

3. Address bar predictions: When you start typing in the address bar, your browser often displays predictions or suggestions based on your browsing history. Clearing your browsing history will remove these address bar predictions for the websites you have previously visited. So, your browser won’t suggest or autocomplete URLs based on your past browsing habits.

While deleting your browsing history covers these aspects, it’s important to note that other elements of your online activities may still be accessible. Here are a few points to consider:

1. Internet service provider (ISP) data: Clearing your browsing history does not remove the data that your ISP may have logged about your internet usage. Your ISP can still potentially access information about the websites you have visited, the duration of your visits, and other metadata associated with your online activities.

2. Cached files and cookies: Clearing your browsing history may not completely eliminate cached files and cookies stored on your device. These files can still contain information about your browsing habits, login credentials, and other data that websites use to personalize your experience. Clearing your cache and cookies separately can help address this concern.

3. Server logs and website data: Even if you delete your browsing history, the websites you visit may still have server logs or other data that retain information about your visits. These logs may include your IP address, timestamps, and other details that could potentially be used to track your online activities.

Deleting your browsing history does remove certain visible traces of your internet usage, such as the URLs you have visited and shortcuts on your browser’s homepage. However, it’s important to recognize that it doesn’t completely erase all aspects of your online activities. Other entities, such as your ISP and websites themselves, may still have access to certain information. If you value your privacy and want to ensure a more comprehensive deletion of your online history, it is advisable to take additional steps such as clearing cache and cookies and using privacy-focused browsing modes.