How to prevent YouTube from tracking your activity

Every time you watch a video, leave a comment or use the like or dislike button on YouTube, Google stores that information. This data is then used to customize your site experience and show targeted ads. If you’d rather not have your activity tracked by YouTube, there are a few steps you can take to stop it.

How does YouTube track your activity?

YouTube uses website cookies and other tracking technologies to collect information about your activity on the site. This includes information such as the videos you watch, the comments you leave, the ads you click, and more. This information helps you customize your experience and show you targeted ads.

You may have noticed that when you watch a video on YouTube, you see related videos afterwards. This is because YouTube uses your activity data to show you content it thinks you might be interested in.

Likewise, if you see an ad on YouTube, it’s because YouTube thinks you’re a good target for that particular product or service. A judgment again based on your activity data.

If you’d rather not have your activity tracked by YouTube, here’s what to do.

How to prevent YouTube from tracking your activity

You can disable YouTube’s activity tracking feature on any device you use to access it. The steps below will show you how.

  1. Open the YouTube app and sign in to your account (if you aren’t already).
  2. Tap your profile picture in the top right corner of the screen.
  3. Select from the menu Your data on YouTube.
  4. Below the YouTube Controls section, tap Manage your YouTube watch history.
  5. Press Service header and tap the Turn off knob.
  6. Confirm that you want to stop saving your YouTube history by tapping Pause.

You can also clear your existing YouTube watch history by tapping Delete old activity after pausing your history. This will delete all the videos you’ve watched from your YouTube history.

These steps apply to the YouTube app on Android and iOS devices. The steps may be slightly different on other devices, but the overall process should be similar. Just look at the corresponding options.

Should you disable YouTube’s activity tracking feature?

Just like clearing your YouTube search history, turning off activity trackers can be beneficial if you’re concerned about your privacy or want to avoid targeted ads. However, it has its drawbacks. Here are some pros and cons to consider before turning off activity tracking:


  • You won’t see as many targeted ads because YouTube doesn’t have any data about your interests.
  • YouTube doesn’t save your activity, so you can watch videos without worrying about your watch history.
  • You can still watch videos and use YouTube normally; you’re just not being followed.


  • YouTube can’t personalize your experience that way because it doesn’t have any data about your activity.
  • You will still see ads. However, you may see more general ads because YouTube doesn’t know what you’re interested in.
  • If you watch a lot of videos on YouTube, it can be annoying to manually clear your history.

Turn off tracking or don’t turn off tracking?

Whether or not you want to disable tracking on YouTube is up to you. If you’re concerned about your privacy, it’s probably a good idea to turn off activity tracking.

However, you can leave tracking enabled if you don’t mind seeing targeted ads or if you want YouTube to customize your experience. Ultimately, it’s your call to do.

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