Sick of Irrelevant YouTube Recommendations? Here’s What You Need to Do

YouTube isn’t completely evil. Yes, there are some undesirable features, such as anonymous YouTube trolls. Then there’s the whole thing with Google sticking its hands into your privacy through tracking. It isn’t all bad.

Just compare the modern-day YouTube interface with the interface from 2005 if you don’t believe me. Many features, though annoying, are good-intentioned, and the YouTube Recommendations feature is one of them.

The problem is that YouTube’s Recommendations become confused over time, and begin showing you irrelevant or useless content. Tired of terrible YouTube Recommendations? Here’s how you fix them, for good!

How to Reset YouTube Recommendations

Nobody knows what exactly goes into the YouTube algorithm for suggesting recommendations. Well, nobody other than the YouTube engineers, of course.

However, it’s safe to say that two things have a very strong impact on what YouTube ends up recommending: search history and watch history. If you reset both, you can pretty much reset your recommendations back to a blank slate.

youtube recommentations data controls

How to Delete Your YouTube Search History

The first thing to do is clear the YouTube search history. Without a search history, the YouTube Recommendation algorithm doesn’t know what you usually watch. Plus, deleting your YouTube search log also erases all of those “guilty pleasure” video searches you never wanted to see the light of day.

To delete your YouTube Search History:

  1. Select your username from the top bar
  2. In the menu that appears, click Your Data In YouTube
  3. Scroll down and select Manage your YouTube Search History
  4. Set the Delete by Date to All Time using the dropdown box
  5. Click Delete

If you want to turn the YouTube Search History option off permanently, first head back to the Your Data In YouTube hub.

Scroll down to YouTube Search History. Underneath the section header is a small toggle with an arrow. Hit the arrow, then switch the YouTube Search History toggle on the next page. Once switched off, YouTube will no longer retain your video searches.

youtube recommentations delete by date

How to Delete Your YouTube Watch History

The second thing you need to do is clear your YouTube Watch History. The YouTube Watch History is the log of every video you’ve seen. Your history doesn’t have a date range cap, either. I just checked my watch history, and it goes all the way back to 2010, containing tens of thousands of videos.

Deleting your YouTube Watch History will help YouTube lose track of your watching habits, a key aspect of resetting the YouTube Recommendation algorithm.

To delete your YouTube Watch History:

  1. Select your username from the top bar
  2. In the menu that appears, click Your Data In YouTube
  3. Scroll down and select Manage your YouTube Watch History
  4. Set the Delete by Date to All Time using the dropdown box
  5. Click Delete

If you want to turn the YouTube Watch History option off permanently, first head back to the Your Data In YouTube hub.

Scroll down to YouTube Watch History. Underneath the section header is a small toggle with an arrow. Hit the arrow, then switch the YouTube Watch History toggle on the next page. Once switched off, YouTube will no longer retain your video searches.

Please note that after deleting your YouTube Search and Watch Histories, you might need to wait a while for the YouTube Recommendations to reset. Sometimes, the recommendations won’t reset, even after you clear everything.

Unfortunately, there are other external factors taken into consideration when formulating YouTube Recommendations. If this happens to your account, there is little else you can do. Google wants you to keep clicking through videos. Even if you turn off recommendations specific to your viewing habits, it will still display the global YouTube recommendations.

How to Remove YouTube Recommendations

Resetting your YouTube Recommendations is one option. But removing YouTube Recommendations entirely is another way to solve the problem. The nuclear option is best if you never want to use YouTube recommended videos—and never want to be bothered by them again.

The quickest and safest way to remove YouTube Recommendations is via a browser extension. YouTube Recommendation blocking browser extensions are available for Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and other popular browsers.

1. Remove YouTube Recommended Videos

Remove YouTube Recommended Videos is available for Google Chrome. Once installed, the extension removes the YouTube recommendations sidebar, up next video, user comments, and video suggestions wall.

The Remove YouTube Recommended Videos extensions turns YouTube into a distraction free video player.

Download: Remove YouTube Recommended Videos for Chrome (Free)

Remove YouTube Recommended Videos will work with most Chromium-based browsers that support extensions.

2. Remove YouTube’s Suggestions

Remove YouTube’s Suggestions is an open-source extension that hides the YouTube suggested videos and recommendations sidebar. You can use the extension options to select which elements you want to remove, and which to keep (if any).

There is also the option to remove the YouTube Comments section, too.

Download: Remove YouTube’s Suggestions for Firefox (Free)

3. ImprovedTube

ImprovedTube for Opera is a slightly different take on removing YouTube Recommendations. Instead of hiding everything, the ImprovedTube helps you hide specific elements of the YouTube page.

For instance, you can hide the header, footer, related videos, comments, and more. In this, you can pick and choose the YouTube features you want.

Download: ImprovedTube for Opera

4. Options

Your penultimate YouTube Recommendation blocking tool is Options. Formerly known as YouTube Options, Options is a premium browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, Opera, and Safari. It blocks a huge range of YouTube elements and features, offering you fine-grain control over the content YouTube shows you.

If you want to block YouTube’s recommended videos and then some, Options is worth a look.

Download: Options for Chrome | Firefox | Opera | Safari (All $1.99 p/m subscription)

5. Quietube

The YouTube Recommendations blocking list terminates with Quietube. Unlike the other options, Quietube is a bookmarklet. You head to the Quietube site, drag the bookmarklet to your browser toolbar, and click it before you watch a YouTube video.

Quietube also works with Viddler and Vimeo, with more to options to come.

Train YouTube to Show Better Recommendations

You don’t have to go nuclear and remove everything from YouTube. There are integrated options to help you bend YouTube’s never-ending stream of recommended videos to your will.

The three-dot icon alongside the video title hides the Not Interested option. Click this button, inform YouTube as to why you are not interested in the suggestion, and it won’t appear again.

Better still, Google announced a change to how viewers control YouTube content.

  • Explore Topics on the Homepage and Up Next: YouTube is making it easier to explore topics and related videos. You’ll see these topics both at the top of your homepage (when you scroll up) and on the Up Next section below the video you’re currently watching.
  • Stop Certain Channels Being Recommended: On the flip side, you can now tell YouTube to stop recommending videos from particular channels. Just tap the three-dot menu next to a video and select “Don’t recommend channel” from the dropdown menu.
  • Discover Why YouTube Is Recommending Videos: YouTube is also explaining why it’s recommending particular content. When YouTube recommends videos based on what other viewers have watched, you’ll see an information box underneath the video.

These changes are currently rolling out across YouTube, so check your account to see if you have the new additional controls. Can’t wait for the update? Here’s how you block a whole YouTube channel from recommendations How to Block Channels in YouTube Recommendations How to Block Channels in YouTube Recommendations Did you know it’s possible to block specific channels and topics from showing up in your YouTube recommendations? Read More right now.

Explore more about: Online Video, Troubleshooting, YouTube.