How to delete your Mac's Web browser history

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Just about every Web browser keeps a record of where you have been on the Web; the good, the bad, even the what-were-you-thinking! It’s not a permanent record, however.

If you’re concerned about your privacy, it’s a good idea to clear the history when you’re done browsing. The downside is that you no longer have your history to find a site you may have stumbled upon, though you might be able to find that site again through Web search.

This tutorial will show you how to clear your browser history in each of the most popular Web browsers for the Mac.

Safari 5.0.5

Click on the History menu. The last item in the menu is Clear History. A dialog box will pop up asking you to confirm.

You will also have the option of resetting your Top Sites. If you want to do that, click the check box, then click Clear.

Safari has a Private Browsing mode (Safari -> Private Browsing), where your search history isn’t kept at all while the mode is active.

Firefox 4.0

From the Firefox menu, select Preferences. Click on the Privacy tab. By default, Firefox is set to Remember History. If that’s the currently active setting, click on the “clear your recent history” link. A new window will open, and you will have the option of how long a time frame to clear, from one hour to everything. Make your choice, and then click Clear Now.

You can also set Firefox to Never Remember History. Or you can customize the settings so that Firefox always clears the cache when you quit Firefox.

Firefox has a Private Browsing feature (Tools -> Start Private Browsing), where the history isn’t saved.

Chrome 11.0

From the Chrome menu, select Clear Browsing Data. From that pop-up window, you have the option to delete several kinds of cached data. Browser history is one the optioned checked by default. There is also a pop up menu for selecting a time frame, from one hour to the beginning of time. The default selections are generally fine, so pick the time frame you want, and then click the Clear Browsing Data button.

Another way to clear the history is to click on the History menu and select Show Full History. Then click on the Edit Items link on the right. Click on the Clear Browsing Data button, and you’ll get the same pop-up window mentioned above.

To use Chrome’s private browsing mode, click on the File menu and select New Incognito Window. Sites visited while using the Incognito Window are not saved to the history.

Opera 11

From the Tools menu, select Delete Private Data. You can then just click the Delete button. Or, you can click the triangle next to Detailed Options. That will show you a laundry list of things you can delete. The default choices are a good selection, but you can make changes if you want, then click Delete.

In Opera’s preferences (Opera -> Preferences), click on History in the left column. Here, you can also clear the history and cache, and well as adjust settings.

In the File menu, Opera has options for New Private Tab and New Private Window. If you use these, the history is automatically deleted when you close the tab/window.

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