I often recommend Firefox over Google Chrome when it comes to user privacy, but despite the legitimate concerns over how much data Google collects on its users, the company has become pretty good about giving us control over how that data is handled—including letting us set timers to automatically delete some of that data.
This is one instance where Chrome has the edge over Firefox. Chrome has the option to auto-delete your browsing data when you log off your computer, and Google has recently made it much easier for us to automatically delete other types of collected information as well, such as the location data on our devices or our YouTube watch and search history.
Strangely, for all its privacy-minded features, Firefox can’t auto-delete your just your browsing history by default. Instead, users will have to turn to third-party browser add-ons in order to set automatic deletion timers on their browsing history, such as History Cleaner.
We first caught wind of this free, open-source Firefox extension courtesy of gHacks, and after checking it out for myself, I’m happy to say it’s super simple to us; all you have to do is install it, set the timer, then the add-on takes care of the rest. I should also note that History Cleaner only deletes the browsing history and leaves your cookies and other data intact, which is nice since you won’t have to continually log back into every website you use after each deletion period.
How to install and set up History Cleaner on Firefox
- Install History Cleaner from the Firefox Add-on store by clicking “Add to Firefox.”
- After History Cleaner is installed, type “about:addons” into the Firefox URL bar and hit Enter. This will take you to the Firefox addons settings page.
- Click on “History Cleaner.”
- Click the “Options” tab.
- Type in the number of days you want to keep your browsing history. For example, if you want your Firefox history to be deleted every 5 days, set the value to 5. (Note that setting the timer to 0 will turn off auto-deletion.)
- After you’ve set the timer, save and close the settings, and you’re all set— you don’t have to do anything more. The add-on will wipe your web history clean automatically every five days (or however long you set the timer to).