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

YouTube recommendations are often helpful because they help you find more of what you like among the billions of videos on the service. However, sometimes YouTube’s recommendations can go awry and show you recommendations that you’re not interested in.

If you’re fed up with poor recommendations, we’ll show you how to reset and pause YouTube recommendations, and share tips on how to get better recommendations.

What influences your YouTube recommendations?

Before looking at how to reset or change YouTube recommendations, it’s helpful to know how YouTube actually makes these recommendations. YouTube’s recommended videos page explains that the service uses “more than 80 billion pieces of information we call signals” to determine recommended content.

These include your watch history, search history, and the channels you’ve subscribed to. More general factors, like where you live and time of day, can also affect recommendations.

This illustrates the general principle that YouTube will show you more than anything YouTube thinks you’ll like. YouTube’s goal is to keep you watching videos for as long as possible to continue making money from ads. Assuming you’re signed in to your Google account (which the steps below discuss), it will do this using the information it has about you. But even if you’re not signed in, YouTube still uses cookies to track what you like.

Remember that there are different levels of recommended videos. The YouTube home page is a mix of what it thinks you’re enjoying, but you’ll also see suggested videos on the right side of the player when you open the video. These are related to what you’re watching, so if you have a mix of music, another video full of music in that genre would probably be the first recommendation.


How to reset YouTube recommendations

If you want to completely remove your YouTube recommendations, then removing the information YouTube has about your interests will serve this purpose. By resetting both your search history and your YouTube watch history, you can effectively revert your YouTube preferences to an empty blocker. This will allow you to re-teach YouTube what interests you.

Without any history, YouTube’s recommendation algorithm won’t know what you’ve watched in the past. As a side bonus, clearing your YouTube log also removes all “sinful” video searches that you don’t want to be made public.

Here’s how to clear your YouTube history:

  1. Click your username in the top right of any YouTube page.
  2. In the menu that appears, click Your data on YouTube.
  3. Scroll down to find YouTube search history and click on the field labeled Manage Your YouTube Search History.
  4. Click Delete next to the search bar, followed by Delete every timeto delete all search history associated with your account.
  5. Confirm operation.

Remember that doing this will delete both YouTube watch and search history. Google’s activity page now puts these in the same list, and there’s no way to delete just your search history or just your watch history. As a result, click Manage your YouTube Watch History Below Watch history on YouTube in the above steps will take you to the same menu.

Plus, you don’t have to delete your entire history. The Delete today This option is useful if, for example, a child watched a series of videos that were of no interest to you while they were logged into your YouTube account. For more control, select Custom range and specify the exact time period you want to clear the history.

Google offers an option to delete your history automatically if you want to clear your recommendations often. To access it, click Auto-delete above YouTube History Page. There, you can choose to automatically delete any history older than three, 18, or 36 months.

Please note that after clearing your YouTube history, you may still need to wait a while for YouTube recommendations to reset. Sometimes they won’t reset even after you erase everything, but this is rarely the case.

How to stop YouTube suggestions

Clearing your YouTube history will set your recommendations to default. But over time, YouTube will re-learn your preferences, which can lead to the same problem you had initially. If you want to permanently prevent YouTube from using the content you watch to provide recommendations, you can turn off your watch and search history.

To do this, click your profile icon in the top right of YouTube and select Your data on YouTube Again. Scroll down Watch history on YouTube and click on the field labeled Above. There you can choose Turn off option for YouTube History (then confirm) to block YouTube from saving any history to your account.

For something less drastic, you can opt out instead Include YouTube videos that you watch or Include your searches on YouTube box on this page. These will prevent your viewing or search history from being used to influence recommendations.

Remember that YouTube still recommends videos when you do this; it just doesn’t use your previous behavior to make personalized recommendations. Instead, you’ll see recommendations based on your current videos, location, trends, and the like.

How to turn off YouTube recommendation notifications on mobile devices

While we’ve focused on changing the videos that YouTube recommends for you, there’s another way to explain “turn off suggested videos” on YouTube.

In the YouTube mobile apps for Android and iPhone, there is an option for YouTube to send you notifications of all kinds of information. This includes videos that YouTube recommends to you. If you want to cut down on annoying pings, here’s an easy way to turn it off.

To turn off suggested video notifications in the YouTube mobile app, open the app and select Home at the bottom. Tap your profile picture in the top right, then select Setting in the list of options. Choose Notify to see a list of pings YouTube can send you, then turn off the slider Recommended Videos to prevent these from appearing.

Keep in mind that this will only turn off suggestion notifications on your phone; it won’t turn off YouTube suggestions.

How to Get Better YouTube Recommendations

To avoid getting bad recommendations on YouTube in the future, you can apply some tips.

First, if you see a recommendation you don’t like, you can let YouTube know that you’re not interested. Just click the three-dot menu on the video and press Do not care to tell YouTube that you’re not interested in the topic. You can also click Don’t recommend the channel if you want to avoid all suggestions from that uploader.

Next, keep in mind that you have options if you watch a few videos that aren’t your usual preferences. Above YouTube History previously mentioned page you can click X next to any video to remove it from your history. In the YouTube search bar, click Eraser next to an entry to delete it. These make it easy to delete videos manually without having to delete months of history.

If you don’t want the specific videos you’re watching to affect your recommendations, use a private browsing window to browse YouTube without signing in to your account. The YouTube app for TVs, game consoles, etc. has a similar guest mode.

And while this may sound obvious, you should keep your YouTube account to yourself. Letting others watch YouTube with your account sends mixed signals about what you like, leading to inconsistent recommendations. Ask anyone else currently using your account to use theirs instead. On non-web platforms, such as the YouTube smart TV app, it’s easy to sign in to a separate account to avoid this issue.

Finally, keep watching the videos that interest you on YouTube. The more information you provide to a service about what you like, the better recommendations it can make.

How to completely remove YouTube recommendations

If resetting YouTube recommendations wasn’t enough for you, you can go one step further. Why not remove YouTube recommendations entirely? This nuclear option is best if you never want to watch or use YouTube-recommended videos. Just be aware that this can make the service a lot less helpful.

The fastest and safest way to remove YouTube recommendations is through a browser extension, meaning there is no easy way to remove YouTube recommendations on other platforms like the device app cell phone or TV. The YouTube suggestion blocker browser extension is available for Chrome, Firefox, Opera and other popular browsers, and includes the following extensions.

1. Unlock

Unhook is available for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge. Once installed, this extension will remove the YouTube suggestions sidebar, next video, and video suggestions that appear after the video is completed. It even hides everything on the YouTube homepage by default.

By opening the widget’s menu, you can toggle the extension’s options to show some of these elements or hide others like comments and video info. Unhook is easy to use, works well, and is an effective way to reduce distractions on YouTube.

2. Remove YouTube Suggestions

This is an open source Firefox extension that, by default, hides the YouTube homepage, end-of-video recommendations, and recommendations sidebar. You can use the extended options to select the elements you want to remove and keep (if any).

In addition to the above, you can hide video comments, info tags, etc. Unlike Unhook, this extension does not disable autoplay.

3. ImprovedTube

YouTube Enhancement is a slightly different approach to removing YouTube recommendations. Instead of hiding everything, YouTube enhancements help you hide specific elements of your YouTube page. For example, you can hide the footer, related videos, comments, live chat and more.

However, improving YouTube goes much further. Besides changing the interface, it also adds tons of useful options like setting default playback speed, handy shortcuts, volume normalization, etc. If you are a YouTube fan, it helps. The site is more customizable.

Train YouTube to show better recommendations

Now you know how to control the recommendations you see on YouTube. Whether you want to reset YouTube recommendations and start fresh, turn off recommendations based on your preferences, or hide suggested videos entirely, you have options. You can tailor YouTube’s incoming video series to better suit what you want when you exit the service.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of other great ways to harness more of the power of YouTube.


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