If you turn off your YouTube watch history, expect a surprise: a blank homepage.
The change is part of a new viewer experience YouTube announced on Tuesday. The idea is “to make it more clear which YouTube features rely on watch history to provide video recommendations, and make it more streamlined for those of you who prefer to search rather than browse recommendations.”
YouTube has an incentive to serve up recommended videos and keep you watching. And for most of us, those recommendations are helpful and can lead us to new creators. But perhaps you go on a hate-watch tear, need to watch dull clips for work, or watch videos you don’t want attached to your Google account. That’s where this can come in handy.
“We know some prefer to clear and turn off your YouTube watch history,” YouTube admits.
Those who turn off watch history will be met with a relatively blank homepage when they load up YouTube. The feature is being rolled out slowly over the next few months, so it may or may not have made its way to your account.
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You can turn your search history on or off whenever you’d like. Go to “Activity controls” within your Google account and select “Turn off” under YouTube History to have the site stop tracking the videos you watch or where you left off on a particular clip. There’s also an auto-delete option here to wipe your YouTube history ever three, 18, or 36 months.
From that setting, you can also go in and delete specific videos. For instance, if you went through a brief mac-and-cheese cooking video phase and now can’t get rid of them in your recommendations, delete the older videos from your history to hopefully get them out of your recommendations as well.
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