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

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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

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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