Delete your most recent Google searches to forget what you just saw

Erase those 15 minutes from existence.
Person looking at phone in disbelief
Wait... that's what it means!? Polina Zimmerman / Pexels

We usually search online for things we want to know more about, but we often also search for things we know absolutely nothing about. Sometimes, the results of those queries are not as wholesome as we’d like them to be. 

Fortunately, Google allows users to delete the last 15 minutes of their search history with just one tap. Whether you live in fear of someone snooping around your devices or just saw something you’d like to forget, this option will erase all traces of any fleeting lack of judgment, while retaining the benefits of keeping a search history.

Although the big G announced this feature in May 2021 and made it available to iOS users only two months later, Android users were left without. Their devices were supposed to get it in December, but Google has only now started to roll it out to phones and tablets in its ecosystem. 

How to delete the last 15 minutes of your Google search history

Once this feature hits your device, wiping the last 15 minutes of search history is easy: open the Google app, tap your avatar (top right corner of your screen), and under Search history, you’ll see Delete last 15 minutes. On iOS, things are similar: tap your profile picture, go to Search history, and tap Delete last 15 minutes

[Related: Delete your search history and become a digital ghost]

There will be no confirmation prompt or anything after that. As soon as you tap the option, you’ll get a notification on the bottom of your screen saying the changes will soon be reflected in your account. When we tried it, the changes were immediate. 

How to manage your Google search history

No matter the make of your device or the operating system it’s running, this is only one of the many options you have when it comes to deleting snippets of your search history. 

In the Google app on Android and iOS, tap Search history to find the Auto-delete shortcut right at the top. By default, this option allows you to schedule a full wipe every 18 months, but you can tap it to select every three months or three years or turn it off completely. Keep in mind that this includes app activity as well, which means you’ll also lose the record of every place you’ve searched on Google Maps and the apps you’ve looked at on Google Play, for example. 

Back in the Search history menu, right above the list of sites in your search history, you’ll see a Delete button with a drop-down menu. Tap it to send a specific chunk of your queries into oblivion. You can choose Delete today, Delete all time, or Delete custom range, which lets you set a time frame going from one day up to 100 years (if you want to delete anything before January 1, 1922, you’re out of luck). 

[Related: Your Google search history needs its own password]

You’ll see these same options if you try to manage your Google search history on the web—to find them, click the cog icon to the left of your account avatar on any search results page. 

But you won’t find the option to delete the last 15 minutes online, as this is currently a mobile-only feature. Google has not revealed any plans to make this function available elsewhere, but since there’s only one history log per account, deleting the last 15 minutes of your search history on your phone will trash any queries you made within that time frame on any other device logged into the same account.