Chrome history

You can protect your privacy and cover your tracks by clearing your browsing data in Chrome for Android

Android Central University: ChromeWe've all been here: A friend asks to borrow your phone (or just steals it), and you start to sweat, fully aware of what's lurking there in your browser history.

What if they see that you're secretly addicted to looking up random cat facts? What if they discover whatever other guilty pleasure you may have? Don't worry. With just a simple preventative measure, we can keep all those things secret. With Chrome on Android, we can clear our browsing data, or the browsing history.

Here's how:

Step 1: Open the overflow menu

Chrome Overflow

At the top of the screen when you open Chrome, you'll see three dots stacked on top of each other in the upper right-hand corner. That's called the "overflow menu." Select those dots.

Step 2: Select "History"

Chrome History

Doing so will bring up a new menu. Scroll down until you see "History" and press on that.

Step 3: Clear browsing data

Chrome Clear Browsing Data

From there, you'll see sites you've accessed recently. You can press on the X next to any of the sites that show up here to delete individual sites from your history. To erase your entire history, look at the bottom of your screen and press "Clear browsing data..."

Note that, whether you clear your entire history or you just clear one or two sites on your Android device, the same sites will be cleared from your Chrome history on your desktop by default.

Step 4: Specify what you want to clear

Chrome Clear Browsing Data Options

When you press "Clear browsing data," you'll get some options. You can just clear the sites from your browsing history. You can also clear your cache, which clears out temporary files that the browser thinks it could use again. Cookies are used by sites to track browsing sessions, and you can choose to clear those as well. Clearing passwords will make it so you'll have to log in to sites again. Clearing autofill data makes it so you won't have the benefit of having certain things fill in automatically (like your name when filling out forms), although you can build that data up again. Select "Clear" once you've decided what you want to have cleared.

Another screen with more options will pop up after you select "Clear," but the selected items will have already been cleared by this point.

Cool! Now nobody else has to know about those guilty pleasures. (And it's worth noting that if you're syncing Chrome data with your Google account, you can clear all this stuff from your desktop browser, too!)