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As a data-driven company, Google relies on some of the data from its users to help it build better products and services for the future. The information it gathers could be anything from your unique advertising ID to your web searches or interactions across its platforms. Even the best Android phones on the market are tracked this way since they're powered by the official Google Play Services. To create a custom-made experience, you'll need to give up a portion of your data to make it work correctly.
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At the same time, you have more control over the data on your Google account today than ever before. With the My Activity feature, you choose what information is saved to your account while limiting how much you share with Google. To make things better, your search history is deleted for you by default after several months. Before this, you could have years of search history from old devices saved on your account that's sitting there. This guide covers the Google My Activity feature and everything you need to know about it.
How to access My Activity from the Google app
There are various ways to find the Google My Activity feature on Android, so there likely isn't one method that works for everyone. However, you can get to the main settings page for your Google account by doing the following:
- Open the Google app.
- Tap your profile icon in the upper-right corner.
- Under your selected account, tap the Google Account button. The button in older versions of the Google app is labeled as Manage your Google Account.
- Tap the Data & privacy tab at the top of the screen.
- Scroll down to the History settings section and tap the My Activity button.
On Google Pixel and Samsung Galaxy smartphones, go to Settings > Google > Manage your Google Account to find the main settings page for your Google account. This location may differ based on the device manufacturer or Android version, so you might have to do a search to find it.
How to access My Activity from a web browser
You can also open the Google My Activity page in a web browser. This can be done on a computer or Chromebook, or you can use your smartphone to add an icon shortcut to your homescreen for easy access. The example below shows how to view the My Activity feature on your Android phone with a homescreen shortcut.
- Visit the My Activity main page in your favorite web browser from your smartphone.
- Open your browser settings (the three-dot menu in most cases) and tap Add to Home screen to create a shortcut.
- This shortcut feature for Android smartphones works with Google Chrome and supported web browsers.
- Tap Add.
- Tap the Add to Home screen button to place the icon on your homescreen. Alternatively, long press the shortcut icon and drop it anywhere you want on your homescreen.
If you use Google Assistant, say or type "my activity" to jump to the main My Activity page in your web browser. Then, add the shortcut to your homescreen for easy access.
How to use My Activity to manage your Google account history
Now that you can access the My Activity feature on your device, it's time to manage your Google account history settings. The main Activity controls page consists of three activity controls: Web & App Activity, Location History, and YouTube History. Go through each and select the best preferences for your needs. We break down each of the Activity page controls for you in the sections below.
Web & App Activity
The Web & App Activity section shows the settings relating to your web and app search history. Google recommends leaving this setting enabled to enhance your overall user experience. This gives you faster search results and improves recommendations for many Google services. Saving your account history can also be helpful in certain situations. For example, imagine doing in-depth research about a specific topic. You can quickly bring up your search history if you want to find it again.
Many third-party apps rely on Google Play Services to function, giving them the potential to track you in most scenarios. It's not just your web searches. Your actions within these apps can be tracked to an extent. This is typically done to serve you with relevant ads or improve the app's user experience. It's not meant to be an intrusion of your personal information. This app data is only saved to your account history if you enable the optional setting for tracking activity within apps.
If the feature is enabled, and you want to disable it to increase the privacy of your Google account, do the following:
- Tap the Turn off button to get started.
- Read through the description as needed, then scroll down.
- Tap the Pause button to turn off the setting.
- Tap Delete old activity, then select All time. This removes your previous search history from your Google account.
- Select the products you want to wipe the activity history, and then select Next.
- Tap Delete. The activity history for the selected services is removed from your Google account.
- Tap Got it to finish.
You can also manage the saved history data for each Google service or app by tapping its icon under the See and delete activity section. You can do this for each one manually, giving you more control over apps and services. This can be helpful if you want to save specific items to your account, but not everything.
Every Activity Controls section has specific settings and auto-delete frequency options. You can keep everything off indefinitely or select a few choices that might be helpful. It's recommended to choose every three months as the auto-delete frequency.
Since location history tracking is a sensitive topic, you might hesitate to use this feature. You have to turn on the location tracking setting for your account. Still, enabling it has advantages in some situations. For example, you get recommendations of places to explore based on your travel location history. If you enjoy finding new shops or restaurants, this could be helpful at home or during your travels.
Enabling location history gives you access to Google Maps Timeline, where you'll see the routes you took during your travels. You can go back to your timeline and check where you were on a given day, including an estimated time when you visited a location. This isn't something you need to enable on your account, but it's a nice extra feature to help you visualize when and where you've been.
To enable the location history feature for your Google account, do the following:
- Under the Location History section, tap the Turn on button.
- Read through the description as needed, then scroll down.
- Tap the Turn on button to enable the feature for your Google account.
- Tap Got it to finish up here.
The YouTube History setting saves a record of the videos you viewed and keeps track of what you're searching for. This improves your video recommendations and allows you to resume videos where you left off. As with any feature that offers a personalized experience, it needs some of your user data to make it all work together. You can use YouTube with this setting disabled, but you won't have access to these extra features.
If you value your privacy over these additional YouTube features, disable them by doing the following:
- Under the YouTube History section, tap the Turn off button.
- Read through the description, then scroll down if needed.
- Tap the Pause button to disable the YouTube History setting on your Google account.
- Tap Delete old activity.
- Select All time.
- Tap the Delete button to delete your YouTube search history.
- Look over the preview of what will be removed before moving on to be safe.
- Tap Got it to return to the main page.
My Activity puts you in control of your Google account search history
The My Activity feature lets you see and manage the data and web searches you've shared with Google in an easy-to-use dashboard. It limits Google's ability to track you and reduces third-party data mining. Since they rely on Google Play Services, you have better control over how much of your personal information these companies can keep tabs on. This gives you more freedom and flexibility over your Google account, which is helpful when personal data and privacy are crucial to our online safety.
If you want to reduce the amount of data you share with Google, check out the best ways to enhance your privacy on any Android phone. Reducing Google's footprint on your device can ease your mind, especially when combined with the My Activity feature.
On your Android phone or tablet, go to myactivity.google.com. Scroll down to your activity. Filter your activity. You can filter by both date and product at the same time.How do I access my Google activity? ›
- Go to your Google Account.
- On the left navigation panel, click Data & privacy.
- Under "History settings," click My Activity.
- To view your activity: Browse your activity, organized by day and time. At the top, use the search bar and filters to find specific activity.
On your Android phone or tablet, go to myactivity.google.com. Scroll down to your activity. Filter your activity. You can filter by both date and product at the same time.Who can monitor my Google activity? ›
Yes, they can.
The people who can access this information could be your boss or family member if they control the network. It is best to use security tools: VPNs, HTTPS proxies, and the Tor browser to keep your searches private from them.
Generally, someone cannot see your browser history from another phone, but there are ways to achieve this, such as syncing your browser or using spyware. Your browser history can give someone an insight into what you have been up to while surfing the internet.Can Google activity be tracked? ›
You can stop Google from tracking some aspects of your online activity by changing your Google Account settings. Google tracks many details about you whenever you use your Google account on your computer, laptop, tablet, and phone.Does Google activity show deleted history? ›
Just as in the case of PC, you can retrieve the Chrome history on your Android or iPhone if it is synced to your Google account. Then, all you need to do is sign into your account to get back the Chrome search history.How do I recover my activity history? ›
- Open the Chrome app on your Android.
- Type in My account and tap go.
- Click on the first search result and log into Google with the correct account if you aren't already. ...
- Tap on Web & activity.
- Tap on Manage all Web & App Activity.
Many parties can see your internet activity if you aren't careful. First, the Wi-Fi owner or admin can see your activity through their router's admin panel. Your search engine records all search requests and your IP address. Your browser also keeps a record unless you switch on Incognito mode or erase your history.How can I see others Google history on my phone? ›
- On your Android phone or tablet, open your device's Settings app Google Manage your Google Account.
- At the top, tap Data & privacy.
- Under "History settings," tap My Activity.
- Above your activity, in the search bar, tap More Other Google Activity.
Google Alerts is the most popular tool used to monitor names online. Can you see who searches for you on Google with this tool? No. But you can monitor when new information is published about you on the internet.Can my wife see my incognito history? ›
Yes, incognito mode does leave a data trail. It doesn't hide your browsing activity from your ISP, employer, or other websites. They can see your browsing history, location, and any personal data you may be sharing along the way. Incognito mode hides your activity only from other people who share your device.Can someone look up your search history? ›
That means you are each using a browser signed into the same Google account so all the synced data shows up on all computers/devices signed into that account.How do I check incognito history? ›
You can see the incognito history on your Android phone without any app by typing chrome://chrome/history/ in your website address box. You can also use an extension for your browser to get the web pages you have visited.Can someone see what I do on my phone through WiFi? ›
If someone hacks your Wi-Fi, they can monitor all of your unencrypted traffic. That means they can spy on data sent across your network from all of your devices, including personal information like your name, address, and even financial account details.Who is tracking my internet activity? ›
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can see everything you do online. They can track things like which websites you visit, how long you spend on them, the content you watch, the device you're using, and your geographic location.Can you hide your activity on Google? ›
Manage your Google Account.
At the top, tap Data & privacy. Under "History settings," tap an activity or history setting you want to manage. Turn the activity or history setting on or off.
Search history FAQ. How long does Google retain Google Workspace search history data? By default, Google deletes this data after 18 months. However, your users can change the deletion period to 3, 18, or 36 months, or to never delete data.How do I stop Google from tracking my activity? ›
- On your Android device, open the Chrome app .
- To the right of the address bar, tap More. Settings.
- Tap Privacy and security.
- Tap Do Not Track.
- Turn the setting on or off.
If the internet history was deleted recently, then system restore will recover it. To get system restore up and running you can go to the “start” menu and do a search for system restore which will take you to the feature.How do I recover deleted history on Google? ›
Method 1: Go to the Recycle Bin
Recover deleted Google history: open the Recycle Bin to check whether the deleted history files are stored there temporarily. If YES, select them and choose Restore from the context menu. If NOT, you might have permanently deleted the browsing history.
In technical terms, your deleted browsing history can be recovered by unauthorized parties, even after you cleared them. Why is it so? Let's explore how Windows deletes confidential information and you'll know the answer in a short while. But first, let's have a look at what browsing history actually is.Is Google activity the same as history? ›
Your Search history is saved to your Google Account as part of your Web & App Activity, along with activity from other Google services.How do I access my history? ›
- On your Android phone or tablet, open the Chrome app .
- At the top right, tap More. History. If your address bar is at the bottom, swipe up on the address bar. ...
- To visit a site, tap the entry. To open the site in a new tab, touch and hold the entry. At the top right, tap More.
- For "Delivery method," select Add to Drive.
- Select Create export.
- In the email that arrives, select View in Drive. You'll see a folder with your data organized by product.
- To download your data, at the top of the screen, select Download .
What Incognito mode does. Browsing in Incognito mode means your activity data isn't saved on your device, or to a Google Account you're not signed into. For example, you may use Incognito mode to shop online for a birthday gift for a family member who shares your device.How can I see what my husband is looking at on the internet? ›
- Check the browsing history.
- Find his traces on unpalatable social platforms.
- Sneak-peek into his emails.
- IP address search.
- Monitor money movements.
- Hire a professional.
- Have a conversation.
- Open any browser of your choice.
- Visit the Google Activity page.
- Sign in with their Google credentials.
- Scroll to find the needed date and time.
- View their activity.
Open Google Chrome and go to myactivity.google.com/myactivity. Sign in if necessary. Either scroll down and review the entirety of your history, or use the search box to find what you're looking for.
What is Google Trends? Google Trends is a tool that lets you explore what the world is searching for by entering a keyword or a topic in the Explore bar. It also shows the Daily and Real time search trends.Can someone tell if I looked at their Facebook page? ›
Facebook doesn't let people track who views their profile. Third-party apps also can't provide this functionality. If you come across an app that claims to offer this ability, please report the app.How can I see what my husband is doing in incognito mode? ›
The best way to access their incognito history is by using a parental control app, such as Eyezy, one of the best monitoring solutions on the market. Its Browser History Tracker is there to help you see a list of the sites they visited, with lots of additional data.
If there's something you don't want to keep in your browser history, like shopping for a gift for a relative, an incognito search can keep your activity private. It's also a good idea to use incognito mode when using a public device or a borrowed computer to protect your data.Is private browsing mode really private? ›
Private browsing hides your searches and browsing activity from other people who use your computer, but it doesn't mean your activity can't be tracked. Private browsing does not hide your internet activity from third-parties like the websites you visit, advertisers, ISPs, the government, or hackers.Is it illegal to look at someone's search history without their permission? ›
It is perfectly legal to search anything online in most cases, but if those searches are linked to a crime or potential crime, you could get arrested.How do I stop people from looking at my search history? ›
In Incognito, none of your browsing history, cookies and site data, or information entered in forms are saved on your device. This means your activity doesn't show up in your Chrome browser history, so people who also use your device won't see your activity. To use incognito browsing: Open Chrome.
Doesn't delete all browsing data – Even though incognito mode doesn't save any cookies, login data, and other site information from the computer after the mode, the visited websites might still be monitored and logged when you are online.How do I find my Google search history in settings? ›
- On your Android phone or tablet, open the Google app .
- At the top right, tap your Profile picture or initial. Search history.
- Choose the Search history you want to delete. You can choose: All your Search history: Above your history, tap Delete. Delete all time.
Tap in the top right of Facebook, then tap your name. Tap below your profile picture, then tap Activity Log. Tap Filter at the top of your activity log to review activities like: Things you've posted.
You can see the incognito history on your Android phone without any app by typing chrome://chrome/history/ in your website address box. You can also use an extension for your browser to get the web pages you have visited.Can you track history on Google? ›
Google Maps Timeline is a personal map that helps you remember routes and trips you've taken and places you've been based on your Location History. You can edit your Timeline at any time and delete your Location History in Timeline.Is your search history saved to your Google Account? ›
Since Google automatically tracks your search queries from your browser and its sites and saves them to your Google account, it might be relevant to look at what it saved and have control over it, especially if you use an Android phone.Can you see other peoples activity log? ›
How to see someone's activity log on Facebook? Open Facebook app, and tap the menu icon. Then tap the user name and find Activity Log. You can check each category to review activities.How can I see someone's hidden posts on Facebook? ›
- Open the Facebook app and log in.
- Click on the search box at the top of the page.
- Type in “Posts from [friend's name]” and hit the enter key on your Keyboard.
- The page will load all your friend's posts, including those hidden from their timeline.
- Go to your Google Account.
- On the left, click Data & privacy.
- Under "History settings," click an activity or history you don't want to save.
- Turn "Web & App Activity" off Pause. Got it.