How to Manage Your Browsing History in Safari

Revisit websites or remove them from your Safari search history

Apple's Safari web browser keeps a log of your search history and the websites that you've visited. Learn how to browse privately and manage your browsing history in Safari.

Instructions in this article apply to Safari for Macs running OS X Yosemite (10.10) or later and Apple mobile devices running iOS 8 and later.

How to Manage Safari History on macOS

Safari has long been the standard web browser for macOS. Here's how to manage Safari's history on a Mac:

  1. Select History in the menu bar located at the top of the screen.

    History Menu in Safari
  2. You'll see a drop-down menu with titles of web pages you have visited recently. Select any of the websites to load the respective page, or select one of the previous days at the bottom of the menu to see more options.

    History item in Safari
  3. To clear your Safari browsing history, cookies, and other site-specific data that's been stored locally, choose Clear History at the bottom of the History drop-down menu.

    If you wish to keep website data (like saved passwords and other autofill information), go to History > Show History, press Cmd+A to select everything, and then press Delete to remove your browser history while retaining website data.

    Clear History in Safari
  4. Select the period you want to clear from the drop-down menu. Options include The last hour, Today, Today and yesterday, and All history.

    This process will essentially restore the default Safari settings.

    Clear History options in Safari
  5. Select Clear History to delete the list of sites.

If you sync your Safari data with any Apple mobile devices via iCloud, the history on those devices is cleared as well.

Clear History button in Safari

How to Use Private Browsing in Safari

To prevent websites from ever appearing in the browser history, use Private Browsing. To open a private window, go to File > New Private Window, or use the keyboard shortcut Shift+Command+N.

When you close the private window, Safari won't remember your search history, the web pages you visited, or any autofill information. The only distinguishing feature of the new window is that the address bar is tinted dark gray. The browsing history for all tabs in this window will remain private.

In Safari for Windows, select the settings gear and choose Private Browsing from the drop-down menu.

New Private Window in Safari

How to Manage History in Safari on iOS Devices

The Safari app is part of the iOS operating system used in Apple's iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. To manage the Safari browsing history on an iOS device:

  1. Tap the Safari app to open it.

  2. Tap the Bookmarks icon at the bottom of the screen. It resembles an open book.

  3. Tap the History icon at the top of the screen that opens. It resembles a clock face.

    History on an iPhone
  4. Scroll through the screen for a website to open. Tap an entry to open the page in Safari.

  5. To clear the browsing history, tap Clear at the bottom of the History screen. Choose from four options: The last hour, Today, Today and yesterday, and All time.

    Clearing your Safari history also removes cookies and other browsing data. If your iOS device is signed into your iCloud account, the browsing history will be removed from other devices that are signed in.

  6. Tap Done to exit the screen and return to the browser page.

If you only want to remove individual sites from your Safari history, swipe left on the entry with your finger, then tap Delete.

Clearing history in Safari

How to Use Private Browsing in Safari on iOS Devices

You can also use Private Browsing on iOS to prevent your Safari search history and web data from being saved:

  1. Open Safari, then press and hold the tabs icon (the two overlapping boxes) at the bottom of the screen.

  2. Tap New Private Tab.

  3. If you want to go back to regular browsing, tap the tabs icon, then tap Private to turn off private browsing.

    Screenshots of opening a new Private Tab in Safari on iOS.