How to Find Your Deleted Internet History on a Mac

By Sasha Maggio

With the help of Time Machine, a factory installed application that comes with Mac OS X, find and delete Internet history for better privacy and security.

Time Machine comes installed on all Mac computers as part of its OS X operating system. Using Time Machine along with a backup destination such as an external hard drive, your Mac computer keeps a backup of the files on the computer, including Internet history. You can access the deleted files through Time Machine and permanently delete Internet history for better privacy. If Time Machine is turned off, the computer does not automatically keep a backup and deleted files cannot be recovered.

Creating Backups and Deleting History

Enable Time Machine

Determine the location of the backup for Time Machine. Appropriate destinations include an external hard drive, AirPort Time Capsule or a server on your network. If the drive or location is not already connected to the Mac, do this in advance.

Warning

The backup location must have sufficient space to hold the backup. Many Mac owners opt for a 1TB drive. Older snapshots are deleted when the drive is filled, to make room for newer, more relevant snapshots.

Open Finder on the Mac and click on Applications.

Scroll to Time Machine and open the application to begin. If you are not on the administrator account you will need to unlock Time Machine with the admin name and password.

Time Machine

System admin required to unlock.

Slide the switch to turn on Time Machine. You will be asked to choose a backup location. The first backup generally takes the longest.

Slide the switch to turn on Time Machine

After this, Time Machine can restore your Mac or individual files to a prior state based on date and time, if needed.

Time Machine can be used to locate and restore deleted files or restore the entire Mac to a specific date and time.

Find Deleted History on a Mac

Step 1

To find deleted history on your Mac, locate the Time Machine icon, which resembles a clock, in the top right menu bar. The backup device must be connected to your Mac and turned on to access your backups. Click once on the Time Machine symbol to open the drop-down menu and choose Enter Time Machine. The Mac will connect to your backup location.

Step 2

Browse through the backups and snapshots taken by Time Machine. These snapshots function like Finder on the Mac. You can click within each window to find the one you’re looking for, such as Applications to find Safari for deleted history.

Tick marks along the timeline change color to show available and unavailable snapshots.

Tip

The snapshots have corresponding tick marks along the timeline with colors that indicate which snapshots are available. Pink or red tick marks represent snapshots that can be restored now from the backup. Gray tick marks are snapshots for which no backup is available.

Step 3

Once you’ve found the intended snapshot, click on it to select it and click Restore.

Select the snapshot and restore it.

Tip

  • Delete your Internet history for better security on your Mac. To do so in Safari click Safari in the top menu, then Preferences. Under Privacy, locate Internet Cookies. Click on Details to see information on the Cookies from your Internet history. Clicking Remove All Website Data will delete these Cookies and your Internet History along with them.
  • To turn on Private Browsing on your Mac, click on Safari in the top menu and choose Private Browsing. Turningon Private Browsing prevents Safari from storing data regarding yourInternet searches and history. When turned on, this eliminates the needto delete history.