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Protect your personal data by blocking YouTube activity tracking

Stop YouTube tracking your activity on iPhone, iPad, and Mac

When you browse the internet, watch videos, like someone's posts, or do other things, your data is collected by the platform you visit. YouTube is the same. When you watch videos, the streaming platform collects and analyzes data.

Protect your personal data by blocking YouTube activity tracking

Depending on the interaction with the videos, you get recommended similar videos to try and keep you on the platform as long as possible. That's because the more videos you watch, the more money YouTube generates.

Let's say you watch a video about 'How to fix Apple Pay not working?'. The next time you visit your YouTube home page, you might see various videos about Apple Pay. This can be a good thing if you enjoy getting video suggestions on the topics you like.

YouTube also collects your data in other ways. Read this guide to learn more about how YouTube tracks your activity and how to stop it.

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Table of Contents:

Stop tracking watch history on iPhone and iPad

You can quickly turn off activity tracking in YouTube settings.

To stop tracking history on iPhone and iPad, follow the steps below:

1. Open the YouTube app.
2. At the top right corner of your screen, tap on the profile icon.

Tap on profile icon

3. Select the "Your data in YouTube" option.

Select Your data in YouTube

4. If you have more than one, select your account.
5. Under "YouTube controls", in the "YouTube Watch History" section, tap on "Manage your YouTube Watch History".

Manage your YouTube Watch History

6. Go to "Controls" and tap on "Turn Off".

Turn off watch history

7. Confirm the action by tapping "Pause".
8. To delete your watch history, tap "Delete old activity".

Delete old activity

9. When done, tap on "OK".

Now, when you watch a video, you won't be able to track it down. If you want to turn the feature back on, follow the same steps.

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Stop tracking watch history on Mac

The process is similar to disabling the watch history tracking on iPhone and iPad. The only difference is you'll be using YouTube in a browser.

To stop tracking history on Mac, follow the steps below:

1. Open your browser and go to YouTube.
2. At the window's top right corner, tap on your profile icon.
3. From the menu, click on "Your data in YouTube".

Click on Your data in YouTube

4. Under "YouTube controls", in the "YouTube Watch History" section, click on "Manage your YouTube Watch History".

Manage your YouTube Watch History

5. From the left sidebar, select "Controls", and under "YouTube History", click on "Turn Off".

Turn off watch history

6. Select "Pause" and tap on "Delete old activity" to remove your watch history.

Delete old activity

7. Finally, click on "Got It".

Follow the same steps to turn on the watch history tracking again.

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Turn off personalized ads on iPhone and iPad

Disabling personalized ads will stop Google from using the info or activity saved to your account to show ads. They will be based on general factors. This means most ads you'll see will be irrelevant to your interests, not only on YouTube but throughout the whole Google platform.

To stop personalized ads on iPhone and iPad, follow the steps below:

1. Open the YouTube app.
2. At the top right corner of your screen, tap on the profile icon.

Tap on prifile icom

3. Select the "Your data in YouTube" option.

Select Your data in YouTube

4. Select your account.
5. Under "YouTube controls", in the "YouTube Watch History" section, tap on "Manage your YouTube Watch History".

Manage your YouTube Watch History

6. Select "Controls" and under "My Ad Centre", tap on "Go to My Ad Centre".

Go to My Ad Centre

7. Next to "Personalized ads", tap on "On" and select "Turn off".

Tap on Personalized ads

Turn off Personalized ads

8. Then, tap on "Got it".

Follow the same steps if you decide you want to see personalized ads again.

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Turn off personalized ads on Mac

Editing the YouTube ads section in a browser is almost the same as in the app version. Disabling them will also affect the whole Google platform, not only YouTube.

To stop personalized ads on Mac, follow the steps below:

1. Open your browser and go to YouTube.
2. At the top right corner of the window, tap on your profile icon.
3. Click on "Your data in YouTube".

Click on Your data in YouTube

4. Under "YouTube controls", in the "YouTube Watch History" section, click on "Manage your YouTube Watch History".

Manage your YouTube Watch History

5. From the left sidebar, select "Controls", and under "My Ad Centre", click on "Go to My Ad Centre".

Go to My Ad Centre

6. Next to "Personalized ads", select "On" and click on "Turn off".

Click on ON

Turn off personalised ads

8. Finally, click on "Got it".

Follow the same steps if you decide to turn on the personalized ads again.

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Enable incognito mode on iPhone and iPad

Another way to stop YouTube from tracking your activity is to use the Incognito Mode. That way, your watch history will not be saved, and your algorithm won't be affected.

To turn on incognito mode on iOS and iPadOS, follow the steps below:

1. Open the YouTube app on your device.
2. At the top right corner of the screen, tap on your profile icon.

Tap on profile icon

3. Select the "Turn on incognito" option and tap on "Got It".

Turn on incognito

To turn off the incognito mode, tap on the Incognito Mode icon at the top right corner and select "Turn off Incognito".

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Use incognito mode on Mac

The only way to browse YouTube in private on a browser is to open the browser window in Incognito Mode. The YouTube Incognito Mode is only available on the app version.

Using the Incognito Mode in a browser will make your whole search history, not only YouTube, private. Depending on the browser, turning on private browsing will be different. I'll give instructions on how to do that in the Safari browser.

To turn on incognito mode on Mac in Safari, follow the steps below:

1. Open the Safari window.
2. From the top menu bar, click "File" and select "New Private Window".

Open New Private Window

Now, you'll be able to browse the internet in Incognito Mode.

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below!

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About the author:

Karolina Peistariene

Author of how-to guides for Mac users. Responsible for collecting, analyzing, and presenting problem-solving solution articles related to macOS issues. Years of macOS experience combined with solid research and analyzing skills help Karolina provide readers with working and helpful solutions as well as introduce various features Mac has to offer. Contact Karolina Peistariene.

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