Google now auto-deletes users’ search history after 18 months, but only for new accounts. Here’s how to change the setting for existing accounts

Technology

Google says it will now automatically delete users’ search and location data after 18 months as part of a new privacy push. Previosly, the search comapny kept the information indefinitely.

But there is a catch: the change only applies to new Google accounts.

Existing accounts (and there are over a billion of them) will still have to manually set their own auto-delete option. You can choose from 3 months or 18 months before your search and location data self-destructs.

On YouTube, history will be set to automatically delete after 3 years by default. Google says this ensures relevant video recommendations.

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Here’s how to change how long Google keeps your personal search and location data before permanently deleting it from their servers:

1. Make sure you’re logged into your Google account, then go to myactivity.google.com

2. If you’re on a mobile device, tap the Menu button in the upper left-hand corner of the screen to reveal more options. (If you’re on a desktop computer just skip this step)

3. Tap Activity controls.

4. Next, you’ll see the Auto-delete option. Tap to see your options.

5. Now, choose your preferred Auto-delete time frame, then hit Next.

6. On the next screen, hit Confirm to verify your selection.

NOW: Listen to the Rich on Tech podcast, where I talk about the tech news I think you should know about and answer the questions you send me!

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