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Tech Tip: How to Make YouTube Stop Watching What You Watch

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You can stop YouTube from logging the clips you have previously viewed by going to the History page in your account settings and selecting “Pause watch history.” Credit The New York Times

Q. Why does YouTube keep track of the videos I play on the site and how do I turn off the “Watch History” function?

A. When you are logged in to your Google Account, YouTube keeps a running list of everything you watch on the site for a few reasons. For one, YouTube uses your viewing history to suggest other videos it thinks you may like, similar to the way Netflix makes recommendations for its members.

Having a list of previously watched clips on hand also makes it easy for you to find a video again if you forgot what it was called — and even if you want to view it on a different device. When you are not signed in to a Google Account, YouTube may still keep track of the clips you watched on a specific computer or device.

If you would rather not have YouTube keeping track of your activity, you can “pause” your Watch History. When you hit the pause button, videos you view will not be saved to the Watch History list or factored into recommendations for other clips to see. (You can reverse the decision later.)

To get to your list from a desktop browser, click the History button at the bottom of any video’s page on the site — or click the three-lined Menu icon in the upper-left corner of a YouTube page — and choose History. (On the YouTube mobile app, tap the Account icon on the right side of the screen and then select History.)

Next, click the Pause Watch History button. If you would also like to wipe out the collected list of clips, click the Clear All Watch History button next to it. If you do not want to clear all videos from the list — but want to remove some of them — click the “X” on the right side of the screen next to a listed clip.

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NYT > Technology

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