Turn off personalized recommendations in YouTube
If you are a regular YouTube viewer, chances are that you have noticed some changes in the website in recent years. Like most other popular portals, YouTube has started to show personalized recommendations based on your viewing history and other factors. While this might sound appealing to many, these recommendations can also turn out to be rather annoying. If you are among those who want to turn off personalized recommendations on the video streaming website, this article is for you.
What are Personalized recommendations on YouTube?
Personalized recommendations on YouTube are based on the videos you watch and your channel activity. They’ll help you discover new content from your favorite creators, keep track of videos from channels you’ve subscribed to, and find other videos that may be interesting based on what you’ve been watching.
YouTube uses machine learning (a type of artificial intelligence) to recognize items of interest in your personalized recommendations. There are two types of content that YouTube recommends:
Recommended Videos: These are videos that have been recommended for your viewing because they are similar to a video that you recently watched or liked. The video that served as the basis for the recommendation may appear at the top, along with up to five additional videos that were recommended based on the same content.
Recommended Channels: These are a collection of channels that YouTube has determined to be relevant/interesting to you based on your viewing history. You can also access Recommended Channels from the Home tab in My Subscriptions or they will pop up generally in your searches too.
How to turn off Personalized Recommendations on YouTube?
Google wants to help you find more content in YouTube related to your interests, so it uses your search history and viewing activity to build a profile of you as a viewer. If you start getting recommendations for things that have nothing to do with what you’ve searched for or watched in the past, you can turn this feature off.
- Turn off Recommended Videos Notification on YouTube
When you finish watching a video on YouTube, the service might recommend you something else to watch. Trouble is, this can get annoying with time.
Now, with a few minimal steps, you can turn off the recommended video notifications on YouTube for good. Here’s how to do it:
- Go to YouTube – App or Desktop and click on your account picture in the top right corner of the screen. That should open a list of options for you.
- Click on ‘Settings’ at the lower end of the screen. You should see an option that says ‘Notifications’ near the bottom of the drop-down menu that appears. Click that.
- Out of most of the options available – Subscriptions, recommended videos, product updates, you can choose what all notification categories you need to turn off.
- Clearing your YouTube History – Search and Watch Activity
- The first step remains the same. Go to YouTube – App or Desktop and click on your account picture in the top right corner of the screen. Out of the list of options that have opened up, select ‘Your Data in YouTube’. A new webpage would open.
- Scroll down to find the ‘YouTube Watch History’ or ‘YouTube Search History’ and click on the ‘Manage your YouTube Watch History’ tab or the subsequent tab under the ‘YouTube Search History’ header. Both of them would lead you to the same page – ‘YouTube History’.
- You can find a ‘Delete button’ under the ‘Search your Activity’ tab on the ‘YouTube History’ Page.
- Now, you can select the ‘All Time’ date range to delete both your search history as well as your watch history and press ‘Confirm’.
If you are not comfortable deleting your entire activity history on YouTube, you can also choose specific timeline durations for the time period you want to delete your history, but this would defeat the main purpose of getting rid of ‘YouTube Recommendations’.
- Turn off your YouTube History – Search and Watch History
Following the above-mentioned steps will help you get respite for a few days until YouTube learns about you again with your recent activity on the platform. But there is one solution to this as well. YouTube provides an option to completely turn off the activity tracking of a user on the platform. Here are the steps to turn it off:
- On YouTube – App or Desktop, go to the ‘Your Data in YouTube’ page using the steps mentioned in the previous sections.
- Scroll down to the ‘YouTube Watch History’ or ‘YouTube Search History’ tab and click on the ‘On’ button.
- These steps will take you to YouTube’s ‘Activity Control’ Page.
- Now, you need to click on the ‘Turn Off’ button and confirm the same activity on the page that appears next.
Here on this page, YouTube also provides you with an option to turn off one of the Activity trackers – Either the ‘Search History’ or the ‘Watch History’ tracker.
- Optimizing YouTube Recommendations
For those of us who do not entirely want to remove our existing Watch or Search History, but surely want better recommendations from YouTube, here are a few options for you:
- On your Home Page on YouTube, for the videos you would not like to be a part of your recommendations, you can simply click on the three-dots under your video and select ‘Not interested’. YouTube will automatically stop recommending similar videos to you.
- Continuing the previous step, you can also choose the ‘Don’t recommend Channel’ option. Videos from the channel will stop appearing on your home.
- If there are some videos you want to watch on YouTube but don’t want similar category ones to appear in your recommendations, you can make it a habit to watch these videos in your browser’s Private or Incognito mode.
And that’s it. Your personalized recommendations should now no longer be enabled or would be highly optimized for you on YouTube. If you have any comments or questions, feel free to let us know in the comments section below and we will get back to you as soon as possible.