Unsplash/ christianw

Shopping on the Internet in the beautiful anonymity of your home or in your favorite local cafe has long been an easy way of buying what you need. Doing this on Amazon is pretty standard, and the massive online retailer now successfully sells not only books and music, but also clothes, electrical household goods, food, and much more. 

If you’re a regular Amazon user, then you may not know that the company has a myriad of ways in which it tracks what you buy and search and may know more about you than you think. When you shop with the billion dollar giant, they automatically create a public profile for you, whether you want it or not. So what can people see? Any public wish lists, ratings, comments, and any biographical information you have listed. What isn’t visible is your browsing history or what you’ve bought. 

Also, if you belong to Amazon Prime and have shared your password, then anyone using your account can see your browsing history. You may also share a laptop or computer at home, which means that anyone using it can see what you’ve been looking at and possibly buying. If you want to stay private and have your business stay your business, then follow these simple steps to delete your Amazon order history and hide your browsing activity:

Amazon browsing history

Every time you look for something on the site, it tracks you.  You’ll receive recommended products that are the same or similar, based on your past searches, or searches made by family members that you share a computer with. You may be okay with this. But say, you do share a device, do you want those you share it with to know what you’ve been searching? Maybe it’s Christmas, do you really want that family member to know in advance what’s going under the tree?

When you browse, you could do so in a private browser window. Then, no one will know what you’ve looked at and your searches won’t be saved. However, if you’re keen to scrub out all your Amazon browsing history:

  • Log into your account
  • At the top left of your screen, click “Browsing History.”
  • Delete specific items from your history by clicking “remove from view” underneath the relevant item 
  • If you want to clear your entire history, then visit “Manage History” and click “Remove all items from view.”
  • There’s also an option to “Turn Browsing History on/off.” If you choose the “off” position, then Amazon will stop collecting data from your browsing activity. 

Delete your Amazon shows and movies and history

If you subscribe to Amazon Prime and you’re kind and generous enough to share your password so your loved ones can stream videos, think about you want them to know that you’ve just binge-watched Marvelous Mrs. Maisel or had a retro comedy night watching all the reruns of Cheers for the 5th time in your life. You’re in luck; there is a way you can hide your Amazon viewing history from others:

  • Log onto your Amazon Account and go to your Amazon Viewing History
  • You should be able to see everything you’ve viewed in date order. If you want to remove one or two items, then go to each one and click the “remove this from watched videos” link.
  • You can also click the “don’t use for recommendations” box. If you do this, Amazon will keep the video in your browsing history, but it won’t use it to recommend you other titles like it. 

Hide your orders by archiving them

The bad news is that you can’t permanently delete your Amazon orders.  Even if you deactivate your account, they’ll still keep a record of everything you’ve ever bought! The good news is that you can hide purchases from your history by archiving items you don’t want others to see. You can archive up to 100 items:

  • Log into your account and click “Orders” in the top right of the homepage
  • You’ll go to a page with a date by date list of all your past orders. 
  • On the left of each order, you can see a list of actions you can choose. Click on “Archive Order” next to the item you want to hide. Simple!
  • A pop-up should appear asking you to confirm the action. Click on the yellow “Archive Order” button and the item will be removed from your list of orders. 

You’ll still be able to see these items if you go to your Account Page where archived orders are kept under “Ordering and Shopping Preferences.”

Have an account for the household

If you’re a Prime Member, you can create a free household account. This means you can create up to 10 users under one household account. It means everyone in the household can have their own purchase and browsing history, recommendations, and lists. If you’re an adult, you can access other adults’ profiles, but teens and children can’t. If you like this idea, your account can have up to two adults, four teens (13-17) and four kids (under 12s).

Whatever your reasons why you want to maintain a little bit of privacy on one of the world’s largest online retailers, the above options should make things a little easier for you.