Deleting your history and staying safe online

If you're worried about someone finding out you've been on mygov.scot or another website, there are ways to stop them.

It can sometimes be better to browse in private

If you browse in private then you shouldn't need to worry about someone finding out which websites you've visited. After you close the browser, no history is saved. This can be better if you're worried about someone seeing what you've searched for.

To browse privately, click on 'File' and choose:

Just remember that anything you download and save won't be private. Also, if you don't close your private browser, someone can use the 'back' arrow and be taken back through any websites you've visited.

You can use private browsing on a desktop, tablet or smartphone like an iPhone or Android.

If you haven't used private browsing

You can improve your safety by clearing your history. But you need to be careful because:

  • getting rid of everything will also get rid of stored passwords for online accounts
  • wiping your history could make someone more suspicious

You can just remove what you don't want someone to see. Here's how you can clear something in your history in:

If someone walks in

Click the 'HIDE THIS PAGE NOW' button if you want to quickly get away from a page on this site. It's shown on this page and you can use it whenever you see it. When you press the button it will take you to the mygov.scot homepage.

Remember, using this button won't clear your history. Also, if you're using private browsing, someone might get suspicious if you click this button and you stay in a private browser. It might be better to plan to have another non-private window open if you're using a private browser and close it if someone walks in. Or, think about getting some time alone if you don't think you can do this safely.

If you're worried you won't be able to browse alone, think about using a public computer. Your local library will often have computers for you to use.

Be careful to log out of Gmail or Google accounts

If you don't use private browsing and leave your browser signed into a Google account, like Gmail, Google's autocomplete can show what you've recently searched for when something is typed into Google.

This happens if you've got to a page on mygov.scot by typing a search into Google, like 'reporting a crime'. If someone else types 'r' into Google on the browser you've used, or the beginning of the phrase, like 'rep', Google will show options from recent searches to complete the word.

You can log out of your account to stop this. You can also type the start of the phrase into Google to be offered the option to remove the phrase.

Find my iPhone or apps like it

While these apps can be useful, they can also be used to track where you are. If you leave yourself signed into your 'Find my iPhone' account on a device that someone else can access, or someone else knows your account details, they can use it to check where you are.

Try and sign out whenever you use apps like 'Find my iPhone' on another device, and keep your account details private.