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How do I switch off YouTube recommendations?

Switch off YouTube recommendations
It's time to clear out the cringe...

If you’re a frequent user of YouTube, you’ll know the problem well: one accidental click on, say, a fridge unboxing video will generate tens of other recommendations of a similar ilk. So how do you switch off YouTube recommendations?

With great difficulty, it turns out. In fact, it seems you can never truly get rid of YouTube recommendations – just mitigate the annoyance. Here are a few options to help you out. They all involve the desktop browser version of the site, rather than the apps.

Switch off YouTube recommendations: History

If you’ve accidentally clicked out a “flat earther” vlog or a Jacob Rees-Mogg remix, you’ll want to get rid of the associated recommendations as quickly as humanly possible.

The best way to do this is delete the specific video from your viewing history. To expunge the record and save your blushes, go to the desktop YouTube homepage and select History from the left-hand menu.

Switch off YouTube recommendations

This will bring up a list of all of the videos you’ve ever watched. To bin a particular one, click on the X in the top-right corner of the listing.

Switch off YouTube recommendations

You’ll notice another menu on the right of the page…

Switch off YouTube recommendations

Remember that YouTube also uses your search history and even comments to generate recommendations so it’s worth working your way through the lists and removing certain search items…

Switch off YouTube recommendations

Switch off YouTube recommendations: Thumbnails

If you’re after a less dramatic option, you can remove specific recommended videos from your YouTube homepage. To do so, find the thumbnail and click the three vertical dots next to the title. The following options will appear…

Switch off YouTube recommendations

When you click “Not interested”, the thumbnail will be greyed out and you’ll never see that video in your recommendations again.

Switch off YouTube recommendations

It’s a useful tool if you just want to do a bit of spring cleaning, as opposed to…

Switch off YouTube recommendations: The nuclear option

If you’re after a more dramatic option, a “burn it all” approach might be up your street. It consists of completely deleting your YouTube viewing history, and then pausing it, meaning that the site no longer has any idea what you do and don’t like.

To push the red button, go back to the History page and select the “CLEAR ALL WATCH HISTORY” option from the bottom of each section in the right-hand menu.

Switch off YouTube recommendations

You’ll get the usual warning imploring you to reconsider, but press “CLEAR WATCH HISTORY” to finish the process.

Now repeat the process for your search history by clicking the radio button next to it.

Once that’s done, you can return to the History page and click “Pause” on each of the options. This means that you’ll no longer generate a history and, therefore, tailored recommendations.

And that’s it – the closest you’ll come to switching off YouTube recommendations altogether. Hopefully, YouTube will add a simple on/off switch soon, but I wouldn’t hold your breath…

READ NEXT: Is it legal to download YouTube videos?

About the author

Max Figgett

Max has written for numerous websites and magazines over the years. Whether it’s about ancient hardware or software secrets, no Big Tech Question is too obscure for him to tackle.

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