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How to remove signs of your internet activity

Worried about someone finding out that you've visited this website or other sites, or that you've Googled certain words?

We've got tips that can help you to remove signs of your internet activity.

How can someone find out about your internet activity?

When you use the internet, you usually leave behind signs of your activity on the computer, mobile phone or other device that you were using.

  • Any websites that you visit – even accidentally – get automatically stored in the history of the internet or web browser that you're using. Anyone with access to the device that you used can check this history.
  • The internet browser will remember usernames, passwords and any other information that you've entered into online forms – which means it might suggest this information to anyone else filling out online forms on the same device in the future (including forms on different sites).
  • The internet browser will remember any words that you Googled or searched for – which means it might suggest these words to anyone making searches on the same device in the future.
  • Websites download small files known as 'cookies' to your device. These files are used by websites to monitor your activity and remember certain information about you. They are often used by advertisers to show you targeted ads that are based on your internet activity.

An internet or web browser is a computer program that helps you to look through the internet. The top three browsers used in the UK are Google Chrome, Safari (Apple) and Microsoft Edge.

A woman sits at a table looking seriously at her laptop.
A picture of a woman holding a mobile phone.

What steps can you take to remove signs of your internet activity?

The three main steps are:

  1. Use the internet in private or incognito mode: before searching for anything on the internet or entering a website address, make sure that you have opened a private/incognito window or tab. If you do this, your internet browser won't record the webpages you visit or remember any log-in details or other information that you enter into online forms. Any cookies downloaded to your device during the browsing session will also be deleted (you just need to make sure that you close the window or tab once you're done).
  2. Delete your internet browser's history: unless you use the internet in private or incognito mode, your browser will automatically keep a record of all of the webpages that you've been on. This is what's known as your browser's 'history'. You can delete rapecrisis.org.uk pages – or any other webpages – from your history.
  3. Delete cookies and other site data from your device, as well as passwords and other sign-in data, and autofill form data.

Feeling unsafe?

If you're in immediate danger, please call 999. Otherwise, you can contact our 24/7 Rape & Sexual Abuse Support Line to chat through your options with one of our specialist operators.

How to use the internet in private or incognito mode

How to delete your internet browser's history

How to delete cookies