Clearing private data

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This article describes a feature available in Firefox 3.0, Clear Private Data, which allows you to delete all or part of your saved history.

This feature was updated in Firefox 3.5, and is now called Clear Recent History. In addition to being able to clear all or part of your saved history items, you can specify how much of your history is cleared (e.g. the last hour). To learn about this feature, see Delete browsing, search and download history on Firefox.


Firefox uses private data such as user names, history, and cookies, to enhance your experience on the internet.

Sometimes you may not want other users of your computer to see or access this information. You can clear your private data to prevent others from seeing or accessing it. This can be done manually, or you can set up Firefox to clear parts of your private data automatically.

What is private data?

  • Browsing History: contains a log of web locations you have previously visited.
  • Download History: keeps a list of files you've downloaded.
  • Saved Form and Search History: contains a list of phrases you have entered in text fields, such as web searches, and name and address fields.
  • Cache: stores temporary files, such as web pages and other online media, that you have downloaded from the Internet.
  • Cookies: stores files created by web sites, that store information on your computer, such as your preferences when visiting that site. (When a web site has a "remember this" checkbox, they are using a cookie.)
  • Offline Website Data: information web sites have stored on your computer for use without an internet connection.
  • Saved Passwords: contains a list of usernames and passwords you have opted to have Firefox remember.
  • Authenticated Sessions: keeps you logged into secure web sites that you have already used the password manager to log in to.

Clearing your private data

  1. At the top of the Firefox windowOn the menu bar, click on the Tools menu, and select Clear Private Data....



  2. The Clear Private Data window will open, allowing you to select which private data you want to clear.



  3. Check mark the data you want to clear, then click on Clear Private Data Now, to clear the data. That's it! To close the Clear Private Data window without clearing any private data, click on Cancel, .
Note: If you still see items in the Location bar after clearing private data, those items are Bookmarks in Firefox and not part of your browsing history. This is part of the Firefox Awesome Bar feature. If you don't want bookmarks to appear in the Location bar, see Cannot clear Location bar history.

Configuring private data removal

  1. In the Menu bar at the top of the screen, click Firefox and then select Preferences or Settings, depending on your macOS version.Click the menu button Fx89menuButton and select Settings.
  2. Select the Privacy panel. You can see three areas related to your privacy: History, Cookies and Private Data.
  3. In the Private Data section, the following options are available:


    • Always clear my private data when I close Firefox: You can choose to have Firefox clear your private data whenever it is closed. To configure what data is cleared, click Settings....
    • Ask me before clearing private data: With this option selected, Firefox asks you before automatically clearing the specified private data.
      • To immediately clear all private data that you have specified to be removed, click Clear Now....

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