Whether you’re trying to find the perfect birthday gift online for a loved one or searching for the best dermatologist in your area, what you search for on your computer is nobody else’s business. However, our devices are designed to make our searches more efficient, and they do so by using autofill.
Although autofill entries can quicken a search, they could also land you in some awkward situations, especially if you don’t want anyone to see what you’re searching for.
That’s why I’m going to tell you what steps you can take to delete autofill and clear out already-existing autofill on your PC and Windows browsers.
Before we dive into my tips below, I want to first explain the difference between clearing out autofill and deleting autofill.
Clearing out vs. deleting autofill
Clearing out autofill refers to the process of removing the suggestions that appear in a web browser’s address bar or search bar as you type. This may also be referred to as “deleting autocomplete suggestions.”Deleting autofill, on the other hand, refers to the process of removing information that is stored in the browser’s autofill settings, such as names, addresses, and credit card numbers. This information is often used to automatically fill in forms on websites, and removing it will prevent the browser from pre-populating these fields in the future.
Autofill makes our searches more efficient.Getty Images
Google Chrome browser
How to delete autofill in Google Chrome browser
Once you know your Chrome browser is up-to-date, follow these instructions to delete autofill:
Open ChromeIn the top right-hand corner of your screen, click the 3 vertical dots (should be next to your profile picture)Click SettingsIn the left-hand panel, select AutofillA list of items that use Autofill will appear (i.e. Password Manager, Payment Methods, etc.). Click on each one that you don’t want autofill used and toggle everything off
How to clear out existing autofill data in Chrome
Open ChromeIn the top right-hand corner of your screen, click the 3 vertical dots (should be next to your profile picture)Select History, and select History again from the menu that appearsIn the panel on the left, select Clear browsing dataPress the Advanced tabIn the Time range menu, select All time (this step may depend on what version of Chrome you have)Make sure Autofill form data is checked off. Check off any other options you want to be clearedSelect Clear data
How to delete autofill in Microsoft Edge
Open Microsoft EdgeClick the 3 dots in the top right of the screenSelect SettingsThe menu should default to Profiles. If it doesn’t, select this option from the menu on the left.In the Your Profile section, toggle off Passwords, Payment info, and any other options you don’t want auto-filled
How to clear out existing autofill data in Microsoft Edge
Open Microsoft EdgeClick the 3 dots in the top right of the screenSelect SettingsSelect Privacy, search, and servicesUnder Clear Browsing Data, select Choose What to ClearIn the Time Range menu, select All TimeCheck off Autofill Form Data (Includes Forms and Cards). Check off any other option you want to be cleared as wellClick Clear Now
You may not want autofill if you don’t want anyone to see what you’re searching for.Getty Images
How to delete autofill in Firefox
Open FirefoxClick the 3 lines at the top right of the screenSelect SettingsSelect Privacy & SecurityUnder Forms and Autofill, uncheck the options you wish to disable Autofill for
How to clear out existing autofill data in Firefox
Open FirefoxClick the 3 lines at the top right of the screenSelect SettingsSelect Privacy & SecurityUnder Logins and Passwords, uncheck Ask to save logins and passwords for websitesTo clear saved logins and passwords, click Saved LoginsRemove any logins you don’t want to be saved