With over 200 million Amazon Prime members worldwide and Amazon capturing nearly 40% of all online retail spending in the United States, it‘s safe to say Amazon has become the premier online shopping destination for millions of consumers. As our reliance on Amazon continues to grow year over year, especially accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, our search and browsing histories within Amazon accounts are accumulating more personal data.
While Amazon‘s detailed records of your account activity enable them to provide personalized recommendations and tailored promotions, it also means they are compiling extensive profiles about each customer‘s interests, habits, and even identities. This brings up privacy concerns over how secure this data is and who can access such information on your account.
Fortunately, with just a few simple steps, you can clear your Amazon search history and control how this personal information is saved moving forward. In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll cover everything you need to know about deleting your Amazon search history for greater privacy and security.
What Gets Saved in Your Amazon Search History
When logged into your Amazon account and searching for products, whether you realize it or not, your activity is closely tracked. Any keywords or phrases you search for, specific product pages you view, items added to your Cart or Wish List, and purchases you make are all compiled in your account‘s search history.
Beyond just text-based searches, your history may also include voice command requests through Alexa devices, locations that mobile searches originate from, videos watched, and other activity across Amazon‘s suite of services like Prime Video, Kindle, Audible, and Amazon Music.
According to Amazon, this extensive search history data is leveraged to "provide you with personalized recommendations, improve our selection of products and services, and otherwise enhance your shopping experience." The information collected through your ongoing use of Amazon is analyzed by AI and algorithms to infer your preferences and interests in order to serve you targeted promotions and suggested items that match your habits.
5 Key Reasons to Delete Your Amazon Search History
While you may be fine with Amazon collecting your browsing data for convenience purposes, there are some compelling privacy, security, and personalization factors to consider:
1. Limit Personal Data Collection
Frequent clearing of your search history restricts the amount of personal data Amazon can collect and analyze over time. This preserves privacy and gives you greater control over how extensive their user profiles become.
2. Keep Sensitive Product Searches Private
You likely don‘t want searches related to medical issues, personal relationships, confidential legal or financial matters, and private purchases viewable by others who use your Amazon account. Routine deletion ensures this sensitive information gets regularly removed from your history.
3. Reduce Risk of Account Compromise
If someone else were to gain access to your account, you certainly don‘t want them to have an extensive browsing history at their fingertips revealing your interests, identity, and private purchases. Clearing the search history reduces this risk of exposure through account compromise.
4. Avoid Skewed Recommendations and Ads
Without periodic clearing of your search history, AI algorithms can develop biased profiles about your interests that impact the relevance of recommendations and ads. A clean slate helps personalization start fresh.
5. Limit Data Retention
By law, Amazon should not retain personal data longer than necessary. Frequently deleting your browsing history helps enforce reasonable limits on their data retention in alignment with best privacy practices.
Now that we‘ve covered the types of data saved in your search history and reasons for deleting it, let‘s look at the step-by-step process for how to clear your Amazon search history.
How to Clear Your Amazon Search History in 5 Easy Steps
Clearing your search history only takes about a minute and can be done through any web browser on your computer or mobile device. Here are the key steps involved:
Step 1) Sign in to your Amazon Account
Visit Amazon.com and sign in using your email and password if you aren‘t already logged in. Signing in ensures you are accessing your personal account settings and search history tied to your account.
Step 2) Navigate to Your Account Page
Once logged in, locate your name in the upper right corner of the screen and click on the "Account" link in the dropdown menu that appears. This will open up your account dashboard.
Step 3) Locate "Browsing History"
Scroll all the way to the bottom of your Account page and look for the "View or edit your browsing history" link in smaller italicized text right above the footer. Click this to access your search history.
Step 4) Delete Your Search History
On your Browsing History page, you‘ll see a list of your recent searches and other account activity. You can click "Remove" next to any individual items to selectively delete them.
To clear your entire search history all at once, use the "Manage History" dropdown menu and select "Remove All Items From View".
Step 5) Confirm Deletion
After choosing to delete your search history, Amazon will prompt you to confirm your selection with a final "Remove all" button. Click this last button to complete the process of permanently clearing your search history.
Once you complete these 5 steps, your Amazon search history will be erased. However, any future Amazon browsing will begin rebuilding your search history unless you disable this feature, which leads us to…
How to Disable Future Search History Collection
If you want to stop Amazon from tracking and saving your search history moving forward after clearing it, there is a simple setting for that.
After following the above steps to clear your current history, go back into the "Manage History" dropdown on that page, and switch the "Turn Browsing History On/Off" setting to the Off position.
This will prevent Amazon from compiling any new search, browsing, or purchase activity into your history. You can toggle it back on at any time if you change your mind.
It‘s important to note this setting is specific to the web browser you are accessing Amazon from. You‘ll need to disable search history collection separately on any other devices like mobile or Alexa.
Tips for Managing Your Amazon Search History
- Use Amazon‘s private browsing mode or incognito windows which don‘t save history.
- When not shopping, remain logged out of your Amazon account so any browsing isn‘t tied to your history.
- Periodically clear your search history every 1-3 months depending on usage. Set calendar reminders if helpful.
- Use unique accounts for family members or purposes like gifts to isolate histories.
- Check history settings on Amazon‘s mobile apps and Alexa devices to disable collection.
- Consider broader privacy settings like opting out of personalized recommendations and ads if concerned.
- Monitor your settings every so often in case Amazon changes defaults without notifying users.
As Amazon continues to dominate online retail with over $386 billion in sales annually, it has become increasingly important to understand what personal data is being tracked in your account and how to delete your search history. Clearing your Amazon history regularly is a simple yet powerful way to gain more control over your privacy, security, and personalized shopping experience.
I hope this step-by-step guide has provided everything you need to know to effectively clear and disable your Amazon search history. Just follow the instructions to start maintaining greater privacy. Happy (anonymous) shopping!