The disappointment of watching a great TikTok on your For You page just to accidentally reload the selection and lose it forever is so common—so visceral—that the experience has become a bit of a meme. But you don’t have to suffer this tragedy: you can find recently watched videos right in the app.
Unfortunately, the feature that will save you is not a “recently viewed” page or browsing history-style list, but a search function somewhat buried within TikTok’s settings. It’s time you learned how to find it.
How to search for a recently watched video on TikTok
Because resurfacing recently watched videos is tied up with search, you’ll need to know enough about the clip you lost to type it into the search bar. And if you can’t recall anything, well, you’re probably not missing much.
First, tap the search icon (a magnifying glass) in the top right corner of your screen. Then type out the relevant keywords and hit Search. Next, touch the filters icon (two lines with circles on them) to the right of the search bar, turn on the Watched videos toggle switch right at the top, and hit Apply. This will change your search results to focus on videos you watched in the last seven days.
For example, I searched “find recent video” in an effort to find the video from content strategist and TikTok tips-giver @lateilla that initially clued me into the fact that this was even possible and got me digging deeper into the app’s search function. The December 21 clip wasn’t in my unfiltered results, but it showed up fairly quickly when I set the filter.
One thing I noticed is that there were definitely videos I had not watched among my filtered results. They were, however, TikToks that had appeared in recent searches and auto-played as thumbnails as I looked through the results, so it’s possible the app counts those as “watched” as well.
Other TikTok search tips
The main search results page, whether you filter it or not, is stuffed with content. You can use these tabs and suggestions to further refine your search or just get lost in the TikTok abyss and hope your algorithm doesn’t take a devastating hit. I, for one, will probably spend the next week telling TikTok I’m not interested in those videos where people pour milk all over the counter while “making coffee” because I searched “coffee TikTok” while working on this story. (To do so, tap the share button on any video (a curved arrow) and select Not interested.)
Across the top of the results page, you’ll see built-in filters that will display only top posts, users, videos, sounds, accounts that are currently live, and hashtags related to your search. Scroll down a little and you’ll also find suggestions for what other people searched for.
Within the less-obvious filters menu where you found the “watched videos” toggle switch, there are also options to further focus your search on videos you’ve liked, dig up only those posted within a specific time frame, and sort by either relevant videos or ones with the most likes. This is also where TikTok gives you the option to provide feedback on any problems you may have had with their search function. Maybe if enough of us use that form to request an easy-to-use list of our recently watched videos, TikTok will make it happen. We can dream.