You may want to clear Safari browsing history and website data if you do not wish anybody else to see what you were surfing. In several instances, clearing this data helps fix loading issues with certain websites. But if you see that the option “Clear History and Website Data” is grayed out in Safari on your iPhone, then here are a few quick solutions to this problem.
Before You Begin: Please know that this button will be gray if there is no browsing history or web data. After you visit any site, it will become blue and usable. But even if you regularly use Safari and still find the delete history option untappable, look at these solutions.
- Disable Screen Time Restrictions
- Restart or Force Restart iPhone
- Other Workarounds to Fix Clear History Option Grayed Out in Safari
- Reset All Settings
1. Disable Screen Time Restrictions
If you have used Screen Time to enable limited web access, the option for ‘Clear History and Website Data’ will be grayed out. Here’s how to disable it.
- Open the Settings app and tap on Screen Time. Enter its passcode, if asked.
- Tap on Content & Privacy Restrictions.
- You may turn off the toggle for Content & Privacy Restrictions to disable this option entirely.
- Or tap on Content Restriction.
- Tap on Web Content and choose Unrestricted Access.
Now, go back to the first Settings app screen, tap on Safari, and you will find that ‘Clear History and Website Data’ is no longer grayed out. It will be blue, and you can tap on it.
2. Restart Your iPhone
The above solution fixes this issue in almost all cases. But in the rare situation, if you followed the above steps and still the clear history button is grayed out (or if you did not have Screen Time enabled in the first place), restarting your iPhone or iPad will undoubtedly help.
Use the physical buttons on your device to turn it off. You can also do the same via the Settings app → General → Shut Down. After a minute, use the buttons or plug the iPhone into charging to turn it on.
Note: If a simple restart fails, please consider force restarting the device.
3. Other Workarounds to Fix Safari’s Clear History Option Grayed Out Issue
Apart from the above two sure-shot fixes, some additional tips have worked for a small subset of iPhone users. Let us briefly talk about them. After you follow these, see if you can clear history or not. Once you are done, you can re-enable these options.
- Turn Off Safari iCloud Sync: Open the Settings app → your name from the top → iCloud → switch off the toggle for Safari.
- Clear Safari Reading List: We have covered how to do this here.
- Block Cookies: Inside the Settings app, tap on Safari and turn on the toggle for Block All Cookies.
Note: Many websites will not work correctly when this is enabled. So make sure to turn it off when done.
- Delete Website Data from Advanced Pane: You can also choose to delete website history by launching the Settings app → Safari → Advanced → Website Data → Remove All Website Data. (Or, tap on Edit and delete the data for the desired website.)
4. Reset iPhone All Settings
This will erase all the settings you have altered or added. This includes Wi-Fi networks, Bluetooth devices, Keyboard settings, VPN configurations, etc. However, personal stuff like applications, music, images, videos, etc., will remain as it is.
Open the Settings app → General → Reset → Reset All Settings → enter your iPhone passcode if asked and confirm.
After the process completes, you will be able to clear out the Safari history and web data.
These are effective ways to get rid of Safari history and data successfully. I believe one of the solutions worked for you. Just in case you are interested, you may also use some other third-party browser of choice. Or, now with iOS 14, you can even change the default browser on iPhone and iPad!