Back to basics – let us learn how to clear browsing history in popular browsers like Chrome, Firefox, Microsoft Edge and Safari. Browser caching, though meant for speed up your browsing experience, can result in blocking the access to the website in many ways. On Chrome, you can see different errors like err_connection_closed or err_connection_reset mostly caused by the corrupted history files. Other browser also show similar errors in such case. Like restarting solves most of the computer problems, deleting history solves most of the browser related issues.
Related: 10 shortcut tips for quick browsing.
How to Clear Browsing History?
- What is browsing history and cache?
- Delete history in Chrome
- Clear history in Edge
- Remove single and complete history in Firefox
- Delete history in Safari Mac
- Cleanup history in Safari iOS (iPhone and iPad)
- Warning before clearing browser history and cache
1. What is Browsing History?
Speed is an important factor when using Internet. Especially, long loading webpages will consume higher mobile data which in turns lead to higher cost for the user. So, when you open a website, your browser will start caching the source files. These source files include fonts, scripts, stylesheets, images and other temporary files.
When a website is opened in a browser, the source web server sends the content to browser with the cache expiry duration for each file type. Let’s say, the web server sends a response with 10 days expiry for all PNG image files. The browser will cache all PNG image files for next 10 days till the time of cache expiry. When you access the site within 10 days, all PNG images will be loaded from the browser’s cache instead of using from server.
1.1. What are the Files Cached by a Browser?
Below are some of the information a browser will store in a cache or temporary storage. Remember, this will change based on your browser and settings.
- Image files like PNG, JPEG and GIF
- Cookies and site data
- History of browsing, that is remembering all the accessed webpages.
- Remembering all the downloaded files
- Filled form data and password
When some of the cached data is corrupted or outdated then it will prevent in accessing the website. Thus deleting the browsing history and cached files will help to reload the fresh content from the server. Though this will lead long page loading time, it will resolve your browsing problems.
2. Clear Browsing History in Google Chrome
There are three ways to access the clear browser data dialog box in Chrome:
- Go to the URL “chrome://settings/clearBrowserData”.
- Use the shortcut keys “Command + Shift + Delete” in Mac and “Control + Shift + Delete” in Windows to open the clear browser data dialog box.
- Go to “Settings (three dots on top right corner) > More Tools > Clear Browsing Data…”.
You will see a dialog box like below with many options. Go to basic or advanced tab and choose the time range as “All time” from the dropdown.
Click on the “Clear Data” button to permanently delete all browsing history and other selected data.
3. Clear History in Microsoft Edge
Edge is the default browser on Windows 10, hence most of the organizations are forced to use Edge instead of Chrome or Firefox. Go to “Settings and more (three dots on top right corner of the browser) > Settings” and then click on “Choose what to clear” button under “Clear browsing data” section.
Check the options you need to delete from Edge and click on “Clear” button.
4. Clear Browsing History in Firefox
On Firefox, you can delete history of single site and delete complete history like other browsers.
4.1. Delete Single Site from Firefox History
Open Firefox New Tab page. You will see the list of recently accessed sites under “Top Sites” section. Navigate your mouse over and click on the three dots button and click on “Delete from History” option.
Click “Confirm” on the next dialog box to delete the selected site from the history.
4.2. Delete Complete History and Cache in Firefox
Go to “History > Clear Recent History..” menu or press “Command + Shift + Delete” in Mac and “Control + Shift + Delete” in Windows. Choose the required options and select “Everything” fro the “time range to clear” dropdown.
Click on the “Clear Now” button to delete all the selected historical items permanently.
5. Clear Browsing History in Safari Mac
Apple works differently than other companies and Safari is one of the best example for that. Even some people does not recognize Safari as a browser due to the reason it can’t be used on other platforms like Windows. on Mac, you need to delete the history files and then empty the cache to completely clear historical data from Safari.
5.1. Clear Browsing History in Safari Mac
Go to “History > Clear History…” menu. Choose “all history” option from the “Clear’ dropdown and click on “Clear History” button.
5.2. Empty Cache in Safari Mac
Delete cache under the menu “Develop > Empty Caches”. By default the “Develop” menu is disabled in Safari, you should enable it from the settings. Learn more on Safari developer options.
6. Clear Browsing History in Safari iOS
On your iPhone or iPad, tap on the “Settings” app and go to “Safari” option. Scroll down and click on “Clear History and Website Data” to delete all browsing history. Also tap on the “Advanced > Website Data” and remove all website data.
7. Warning Before Clearing History and Cookies
Remember clearing browser data will cause the following impacts:
- You will be logged out of any sessions, so remember to logout of all sites properly before clearing browser history.
- The webpages will load slow for the next time when you open.
- The history and cache will again start accumulating which can’t be disabled on most of the browsers. Because, that’s how browsers can speedup the Internet connection. You can disable the caching and history in Edge by switching on the option “Always clear this when i close the browser”.
- Ensure you are not deleting the “Passwords” from the options. This will remove all the saved passwords and you may not be able to login again unless you wrote down the password.
- The deletion is a permanent removal of files from your browser, this action can’t be reversed.