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View Browsing History on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch from Safari

Feb 27, 2013 – 29 Comments

Safari icon Unlike the desktop browsers, there are no obvious “History” menus in Safari on the iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad to help you navigate through webpages you visited earlier that you may want to access again. But that doesn’t mean there is no browsing history feature, instead it’s just slightly hidden, and accessing the browsing history in Safari is super simple though it may not be immediately evident given how it’s accessed in iOS.

Viewing Browser History in Safari for iOS

There are three important things to remember when using the iOS Safari History feature:

  • Tap and hold on the Back [<] button in Safari to view browser History
  • Tap any link in History to immediately jump back to it
  • Tap and hold the Forward [>] button in Safari to navigate ahead in history, or to go back to where you started

Access Browser history on iPhone

Assuming you have enough browsing history to be able to navigate through it, tapping and holding on the back button will show the History screen like this on an iPhone or iPod touch:

Viewing browser history on iOS Safari

It’s generally easiest to view the Safari History in landscape mode on the smaller screened iPhone and iPod touch displays since you’re able to see more of the page titles and URL’s, though it’s still visible in vertical portrait orientation as well.

On the iPad, the Safari browser History is accessed exactly the same by a tap-and-hold on the Back or Forward buttons, but it’s viewed slightly differently because there is more screen real estate to work with, instead appearing as a hovering pop-up over web pages:

View Browsing History on iPad

Everything from a single browser window will be stored in History unless that window has been closed, but even still some of that information can be recovered if someone was persistent enough.

Showing  Accessing Complete Browser History from Days Past

What if you want to see browsing history from sites you visited yesterday? Or what about two days ago? You can find the complete browsing history in iOS by doing the following:

  • Tap the Bookmark icon (it looks like a little book)
  • Tap “History”
  • Drill down into specific dates, tap on any date folder to see the complete history from that day, or tap on any link to open that web page again

On the iPhone, this is what it looks like:

Access past browser history in iOS

Tapping through on History you will then see the page history for the current day, then individual folders containing history from previous days:

Full browsing history shown on iPhone

Thanks to Anita for suggesting this additional tip in the comments

If you are looking to prevent Safari from keeping track of web browsing history, the easiest way to do that is to simply turn on Private Browsing in iOS, a feature readily available on the iPhone and iPad, which will prevent any history from being stored. It’s quite obvious when it’s turned on because the Safari web browser turns black, signifying Private Browsing is enabled. On the other hand, if you forgot to enable the private browsing feature and now have a bunch of web history you’d rather not be viewed, recovered, or found by others, you can always choose to manually clear out the browser history and caches instead by going to Settings > Safari > Clear History.

Related articles:

  • Delete Specific Pages from Safari History in iOS
  • How to Access  Search Safari History on Mac
  • Clear History, Cache, and Cookies from Safari Browser on iPhone  iPad
  • Clear Recent Web Browsing History in Safari for Mac OS
Posted by: Paul Horowitz in iPad , iPhone , Tips & Tricks


» Comments RSS Feed

  1. Jennifer says:
    February 27, 2013 at 2:59 pm

    It’s also possible to click on the bookmark icon, click back out of the bookmarks, and view all the browsing history available, not just the last few clicks that are easily available. I tend to close my tabs a lot to keep a clean page for the next use, so the page’s tip is of less use to me.


    • Pete says:
      February 27, 2013 at 4:37 pm

      I like this one, excellent idea.


  2. Marcelo Campiglia says:
    February 27, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    By pressing the bookmarks icon there is a History log.


  3. John says:
    February 27, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    Thanks. Great tip!


  4. Anita Howard says:
    February 27, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    I don’t get this. As has been stated, click on the bookmarks, then tap the little clock and see all your history. So what makes any sense in what you said? I’m confused


    • Paul says:
      February 28, 2013 at 11:30 am

      It’s just another way to access the browsing history for the most recent sites visited, but you mention a great tip too so we will add it!


  5. Philip says:
    February 28, 2013 at 4:38 am

    Another cool thing i realised is:

    If you open a new browser page when you already had 8 tabs open you can tap & hold the back button; so to retrieve & not lose the overwritten tab


  6. sault says:
    February 28, 2013 at 7:11 am

    Nice tip.


  7. Nancy Brooks says:
    January 19, 2015 at 9:22 am

    I have a baby-sitter who I think may be watching inappropriate materials. I just don’t know how to check what he is visiting . He is only fourteen years old. I have an iPad. I tried the suggestion about the bookmarks but I didn’t do it right. Can u help me through the process?


    • Ruoh says:
      January 19, 2015 at 9:59 am

      In Safari, tap and hold on the “<" Back button to see if sites come up, it's a button but it looks like an arrow pointing the other direction. If the iPad user is a 14 year old of the male variety, it's practically guaranteed they are doing something inappropriate with the iPad, but they could be clearing the history and cache too.


  8. Nancy Brooks says:
    January 19, 2015 at 9:24 am

    Also, I don’t get a history tab when I hold down on the bookmark tab


  9. MM says:
    March 1, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    Will history that was viewed in private browsing mode show too when pressing this arrow!


  10. MM says:
    March 1, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    Sorry. That was suppose to be a question mark. Also, if my ipad shows my email acct and texts from my iPhone is there a way to view private browsing history from the iPhone, on the iPad?


    • priv says:
      March 1, 2015 at 3:16 pm

      No, the whole point of Private Browsing is that there is no history maintained or stored, thus there is no way to view the private browsing history.


  11. MM says:
    March 1, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    But the private browsing info is stored some where out there….. Where?


    • priv says:
      March 1, 2015 at 3:43 pm

      No, private browsing data is not stored anywhere that an average user is going to access under any reasonable circumstance. That is why it’s called Private Browsing, so no caches are kept locally.


  12. Joann says:
    April 14, 2015 at 2:35 pm

    On our iphone, it’s easy to go to settings>Safari>Advanced>Website Data and find websites that have been visited on the iphone but how do I find the date & time they were visited? Or is it even possible? I have perused 100 forums & can’t find the answer.


    • zm says:
      June 6, 2015 at 2:27 pm

      Same question here. Did you find the answer?


  13. Lesley says:
    April 25, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    I have two iPhones with same Apple ID same iCloud and I want it that way my safaris are synced — if I have one iPhone can I check the history of the other iPhone from the one I’m using?


  14. Beth says:
    June 8, 2015 at 11:41 am

    If my ipad shows my email acct and texts from my iPhone what is the way to view browsing history from the iPhone, on the iPad? I know it is possible because a friend does it but she doesn’t know how to set it up like that


  15. Ami says:
    September 23, 2015 at 9:36 am

    I don’t get any tabs when bookmark icon is tapped. Only bookmarks.. Is this article outdated or my iPad safari out dated?


  16. rebecca says:
    October 25, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    Hi, looking at the history, is there any way of checking the exact time that the browsing happened? I can see that you can check the day, but there doesn’t seem to be a time shown anywhere. Thanks.


  17. SSmom says:
    November 7, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    My son has an older iPod but has the ios6 software – is there a way to see an exhaustive web history from more than 10 days ago? I went to settings and advanced history but it doesn’t show dates. I would also like to see what was viewed prior to the 10 days ago time frame – for some reason, nothing is before 10/28 but he has had his iPod much longer than that. I am trying to determine when he began viewing certain sites. thanks for any help.


  18. Frances says:
    January 2, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    I hate the idea someone going into my business!


  19. K says:
    June 4, 2016 at 6:59 am

    Is the history that is showed really what that person has searched or can it be spam or something


  20. Beth says:
    August 3, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    Is there a way to check the history from an iPhone on a iPad?


    • OInt says:
      August 4, 2016 at 9:25 am

      Yes, as the article says you can check the history from an iPhone or iPad by pressing and holding the “Back” button in Safari. That will show you the history on that device. http://osxdaily.com/2013/02/27/browsing-history-iphone-ipad/


  21. mat says:
    October 4, 2016 at 4:29 am

    How can i figure out which device was used to visit a site from the safari history page ?


  22. Jeff says:
    November 2, 2016 at 11:39 am

    Does anyone know how long safari history is stored for on an iOS 9 iPhone? There appears to be approximately a one month limit but I am uncertain.


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View or delete search history

If you’re trying to find a particular video you have searched for in the past, search history may help. Your YouTube search history lets you view your previous search queries on YouTube. Your YouTube and Google search history also influence the recommendations that you see on your Home.

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Note: You can access your search history within the YouTube app via the instructions below. Your search history is also saved in your Google Account if Videos you search for on YouTube is turned on. To view and control your saved activity, visit My Activity .

You’re in control — you can clear your entire search history, remove individual search entries from search suggestions, or pause your search history.

  • Search entries you delete will no longer influence your recommendations.
  • After clearing your search history, your past searches will no longer show as suggestions in the search box.
  • Search queries you enter while your search history is paused will not be saved in your search history. 

Keep in mind that any searches you make while logged in to your account will appear in your account’s search history across devices.

Note: To view or delete what you’ve previously watched on YouTube, check out your watch history .

    Follow the instructions below for the YouTube app or mobile site.

    YouTube app

    Pause search history

    To pause search history for your account, go to your account icon  > Settings > “Privacy” and toggle Pause search history.

    Delete individual searches

    1. Tap the search icon .

    2. Swipe left on search entry you’d like to delete.
    3. Tap Delete.

    Clear search history

    To clear search history for your account, go to your account icon  > Settings > “Privacy” and tap Clear search history.

    Mobile site

     Pause search history

    To pause search history for your account, go to Account > History > Search history and tap Pause

    Delete individual searches

    You can delete individual search entries from your search history when you’re signed in with your account by following these steps:

    1. Go to Account > History > Search history
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    To clear search history for your account, go to  Account > History > Search history and tap Clear all.

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    Note: Not all search history features are available in signed-out mode. Please sign in to your account to access all of search history.

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