How to Use a Clear History (Privacy Cleaning) App

The best and easiest way to eliminate the traces of your activities from devices is to use tools specifically built for this purpose. Clear History apps (sometimes called privacy cleaning, eraser, washing or scrubbing apps) are tools that eliminate all of this trace information left behind on your device, helping keep your privacy intact. Many of these apps do the job at a single click. There are dozens of such apps to choose from for all devices, some of which are free.

Jump to the Recommended Apps

If you don’t think you need a tool to eliminate trace data, think again! Perform the checks described in the other pages of this Clearing History section to see what trace information may be on your device for others to discover.

Ask yourself, if someone used those simple techniques what would they find? With many free apps available for just about every device on the market there really is no excuse for not using a privacy cleaning app.

Whichever app you choose, free or premium, make sure that it is adequately supported and frequently updated. After installing the app, spend a minute to set it up, selecting the sources of history records you would like it to cleanse including from Windows, your web browser and other apps. Good choices are the apps you use most frequently for your sensitive activities and might include your video player and image viewer apps.

Perform an occasional privacy “audit” on your device (including those steps found in the links above) to see if any new sources of trace data are showing up. If so, update your settings accordingly. You can clean up after each sensitive session on your device or, if you like, schedule regular cleanings or have the app clean up automatically at every start-up and/or shut down.

Recommended Clear History (Privacy Cleaning) Apps

The easiest way to clear unwanted trace data from your devices is to use a specially-designed app. Most privacy cleaning apps provide lots of choice about what you can cleanse from your device. I recommended the following apps.

CCleaner ¢  is the industry-leading (meaning over 1 billion downloads!) free tool with a premium counterpart. CCleaner allows you to quickly and easily clear history records from Windows and web browsers as well as popular Internet and multimedia apps. It also includes drive wiping capabilities (free space or total drive wiping of 1, 3, 7 or 35 passes) but no file shredding features.

CCleaner Free


BleachBit (free) is a powerful yet simple app, appealing to novices and advanced users alike. BleachBit enables you to delete unwanted trace data from the sources you would expect and from a wide range of apps. It is also available as a portable distribution, meaning a version you can run from a USB memory stick. It’s the history clearing app that Bruce Schneier uses. Enough said.

BleachBitFigure: Selecting options in BleachBit for cleaning sources of trace data

Privacy Eraser Free (see detailed review) and its premium counterpart Privacy Eraser Pro are some of the best privacy protection apps around. Each has a clean and intuitive interface and has features to remove the trace data left behind by your web browser, operating system and hundreds of apps by virtue of dozens of plugins available. Privacy Eraser also allows you to build and add your own custom items for cleaning, if needed.

Go to Privacy Eraser Review >>

As a bonus, it has built-in file shredding and free space drive wiping capabilities, and other handy tools. It also comes in a portable version that you can run from a USB memory stick.

Privacy Eraser FreeFigure: Privacy Eraser makes it easy to get rid of trace data on your device