How to protect or delete search history with Google’s new iOS tools

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Google's new
Google's new "quick delete" wipes your last 15 minutes of searches.
Photo: Google

Google rolled out a couple of new search-related security tools Thursday for its main iOS app. With them, you can add security to saved search histories and quickly delete recent searches. We’ll show you how to use them, below.

The search giant announced the new functionality in a blog post.

My Activity: How to protect your search history

The new feature protects the record of what you search for by restricting access to the place where your search history is stored. It’s called My Activity in Google’s iOS app. It’s part of the Web & App Activity section.

When you enable the setting, anyone trying to access past search data will need additional information, such as an account password or two-factor authentication. That’s especially helpful if you share your device with others.

  1. Open Google’s app on your Apple device.
  2. Click on your profile picture in the upper right corner of the Home screen.
  3. Select Search history.
  4. Click on the Manage My Activity verification link.
  5. Select the Require extra verification radio button.
  6. There are other ways to limit saved searches, too. You can go to Saving to Web & App Activity and then click Turn off to pause all history-saving. Or, you can select Auto-delete and choose a time limit for search history to be saved (auto-delete after 3 months, 18 months or 36 months).

Quick Delete

Another new tool is called “quick delete.” It lets users get rid of the last 15 minutes of their search history by tapping on a dedicated button in the Account Menu. The feature, announced at Google I/O back in May, is available now on iOS. Android will get it later this year.

  1. Open Google’s app on your Apple device.
  2. Click on your profile picture at upper right.
  3. Under Search history in the list, click on the sub-item Delete last 15 min.
  4. You will have the option to Undo the deletion. Otherwise, that’s it.