Just about all modern web browsers default to maintaining a history log of your web browsing activity, and Safari for Mac is no different. This article will focus on how to access your Safari history on the Mac, and also how to search Safari browsing history for specific words, terms, and matches.
Accessing and searching through Safari browser history can be helpful for tracking down websites or articles that were previously visited on a particular topic but that you’ve since forgotten, retrieving previously visited websites, looking for a particular match, amongst many other valid uses for individual users, parents, public computers, information security, systems administrators, and much more.
Searching Safari web browsing history on a Mac is easy, here’s how it works:
How to Search Safari History on Mac
- Open the Safari web browser on the Mac if you have not done so already
- Pull down the “History” menu and choose “Show All History”
- You’ll now be presented with all stored Safari History of web browsing activity, with each browsing history session separated by date
- Click into the search box seen in the upper right corner of the History screen
- Type in any word, term, or phrase to search the Safari History for, any matches will be shown on screen
In the example here, we searched for the term “Chromebook” and Safari returned all matches for that term.
Safari History Search will find matches as far back as possible, searching through all Safari history for the current Mac user. Anything matching will be returned as a search result.
Searching browser history can be helpful for many reasons, whether you’re trying to recall something you were looking at some time ago, or you want to find a website or article about a particular topic you know you have visited before. Of course searching through web browser history can also be useful for forensic purposes and data auditing too, for those involved in fields where that can be necessary or relevant.
Safari will store browser history for as long as you have been using Safari, unless it has been cleared specifically. There are multiple options for clearing Safari history, and if you want to completely clear all history in Safari on the Mac that is possible. You can also prevent browser history from being stored in the first place by choosing to use Private Browsing mode in Safari for Mac, which doesn’t store local browsing session data or cookies.
Do keep in mind if you (or the target Mac) run multiple different versions of Safari, like Safari alongside Safari Tech Preview, then you’d need to check history in both Safari browsers, and likewise you’d want to clear history in both of them too if you were wanting to clear our history for whatever reason.
The capability to find and look through past browsing data is not unique to the Mac, you can also search Safari browsing history on the iPhone and iPad too, and virtually every other modern web browser also has the same capability, except for most TOR browsers and privacy centric apps like Firefox Focus.