You may not want other people to know that you’ve been searching for information or hep.
When you search the internet on a phone, tablet or computer, you leave a ‘history’ of pages you’ve visited.
It’s impossible to completely avoid being tracked online but if you’re worried about someone knowing which sites you’ve been looking at, there are some things you can do to help cover your tracks.
Delete your browser history
You can delete the history of pages you’ve visited, but if you delete your browsing history, someone else using the same device may notice.
If you share a mobile phone, laptop or computer with someone, they might notice that passwords or web pages have disappeared from their history.
Find out how to delete your browsing history from the most commonly used browsers:
How do I clear my Internet browser history? (opens in a new window)
Private (“incognito”) browsing
When you’re browsing ‘incognito’, it won’t store cookies or record your history on the computer, mobile or tablet. To browse incognito open a new tab and choose ‘new incognito window’
This option is available on the most commonly used web browsers:
How do I turn on private browsing? (opens in a new window)
If an abuser sends you threatening or harassing email messages, they can be saved as evidence of abuse. Any email you have previously sent will be stored in Sent Items. If you started an email but didn’t finish it, it might be in your Drafts folder. If you reply to an email, the original message will probably be in the body of the message – print and delete the email if you don’t want anyone to see your original message.
When you delete an item in any email program (Gmail, Outlook, etc.) it does not really delete the item – it moves the item to a folder called Deleted Items. You have to delete the items in deleted items separately. Right click on items within the Deleted Items folder to delete individual items.
Toolbars such as Google and Yahoo keep a record of the search words you have typed into the search bar. In order to erase the search words typed, you will need to check the instructions for each type of toolbar. For Google you need to click on the Google icon, and choose “Clear Search History”.
Mobile phone location
Many applications and services, especially those associated with social media such as Tiktok, snapchat and facebook, are “location aware” by default, and may share your location when you post, for example, if you “check in” to a physical location, or share a photo with location data embedded in it.
It is particularly important if you are planning on leaving to:
- Check privacy options for all apps and services you use and set to their highest settings
- Disable location data in pictures.
- Disable and uninstall – any apps your abuser can use to listen in on your calls, read your text messages, monitor your internet usage, or track your location, this can include cloud back ups.
You can google how to do this for the each app, website, or system when you’re trying to disable tracking.
You can also reset passwords for all web based services using a random password that cannot easily be guessed. Resetting password can also cause you to log out of any other browsers that are accessing your accounts therefore securing the accounts.
However, it’s also worth remembering that doing any of the above may alert the perpetrator to your plans, so we recommend only doing this once you are ready to leave and ideally in a safe place.
Don’t forget to log out
If you use social media such as Snapchat, Tiktok, Facebook or Twitter, or any other sites that require you to log in with a password, don’t forget to log out of your account when you have finished your browsing session so no one else can log in as you.