How To Delete your Viewing History in VLC

Posted by Jamie on November 21, 2018

One of the most common questions we get about VLC is how to delete the viewing history. Now we don’t judge, and we know that privacy is a growing concern. So we’ve put together a quick guide that will help you delete your VLC viewing history – and make sure it stays deleted.

For those unfamiliar, VLC is an amazing piece of software that works on Windows, Mac, Android and iOS. It’s simply the best, most robust video app out there right now. It’s completely (always) free, and has frequent updates pushed to keep it stable. It is light, plays all kinds of video and audio formats, and offers some pretty powerful tools for creating your own videos.

It’s the default media player on all of our devices – it’s just that good. Sometimes you want to make sure the history is cleared from VLC. Here’s how to do that.

Delete your VLC viewing history in Windows

If you open VLC and select “Media” and “Open recent media,” you will see a list of all the things you have been watching. VLC will list the last ten things you opened with the app – which sometimes you don’t want to happen. So let’s both delete everything currently in the list, as well as turn off the viewing history so you don’t ever have to worry about deleting them again.

  1. Open VLC and navigate to “Media.”
  2. Select “Open recent media.”
  3. Select “Clear” to clear the current list.
  4. Select “Tools and Preferences.”
  5. Find “Save recently played items” and uncheck the box.
  6. Select “Save.”

Now when you go back to the Media menu, you should see “Open recent media” grayed out.

For the truly privacy conscious Windows user, it doesn’t stop there. If you right-click the VLC icon on your Taskbar, you will still see a couple of watched videos listed there, too. Here’s how to get rid of those:

  1. Right-click an empty space on your desktop and select “Personalize.”
  2. Select “Start” and find “Show recently opened items in Jump Lists on Start or the taskbar.”
  3. Toggle it to “Off” and close the window.How to delete your viewing history in VLC3

Be aware that if you use the jump list in other apps, they will no longer work as this is a universal setting.

Delete your VLC viewing history on a Mac

The Mac version of VLC is almost identical to the Windows one so the process is quite similar.

  1. Open VLC and click “File.”
  2. Scroll down to “Open Recent.”
  3. Select “Clear Menu” to clear the current list.

If you want to make absolutely sure the files are cleared, you can also navigate to the VLC folder in /Library/Preferences, and delete the saved files from there.

To keep the OS X version of VLC from saving your viewing history in the future, follow these steps:

  1. Click “VLC” in the menu bar, then “Preferences…”
  2. Click “Show All” in the lower left-hand corner.
  3. Click “Interface” in the left-hand column, then “macosx.”
  4. Finally, scroll down and deselect “Keep Recent Items.”

Delete your VLC viewing history on Android

Deleting your VLC viewing history on Android is a snap.

  1. Open VLC on your Android device.
  2. Select the three line Menu icon in the top left.
  3. Select “Settings” and “Advanced.”
  4. Select “Clear search history” and then click “Okay.”

Delete your VLC viewing history on iPhone

Unfortunately, you cannot delete your VLC viewing history from your iPhone. However, you can take steps to keep it from being revealed.

  1. Open VLC on your iPhone.
  2. Click the VLC cone in the top left.
  3. Click “Settings,” then toggle the “Passcode Lock” option.

Now, whenever VLC is opened, the user will have to enter the passcode you set before using the app.

While we were playing around with VLC, we also learned a couple of other neat tricks. Did you know you can set a video as your desktop wallpaper? Or that you can play internet radio streams through VLC? Neither did we, but here’s how.

Play a video as desktop wallpaper in VLC

If you have a computer with decent specs, you can use a video as your desktop wallpaper. We use Windows 10, but we’re sure it will be possible in earlier versions.

  1. Open VLC and navigate to “Tools and Preferences.”
  2. Select “Video” and select “Direct X (DirectDraw)” as the video output.
  3. Restart VLC with a video you want as your backdrop.
  4. Select “Video” and “Set as Wallpaper.” The video will now play on your desktop background.

Be aware, though, that the moving image can be quite distracting if you’re trying to study or work!

Play internet radio in VLC

Another neat trick we had no idea existed is the ability to play internet radio in VLC. We still have an old version of Winamp for our internet radio player, so it’s nice to know another app can take over its duties when it stops working.

  1. Open VLC and select “View” and “Playlist.”
  2. Select from the new left menu under “Internet.”
  3. Let VLC perform a search, and go from there.
  4. Double-click a stream in the center window to listen.

Icecast Radio Directory has the most streams right now – there are literally hundreds of them.

Those last two tips are a little off piste for a tutorial about deleting viewing history in VLC, but they are so cool we couldn’t help ourselves. Got any other neat VLC tips or questions? Share them below if you do!

5 thoughts on “How To Delete your Viewing History in VLC”

Scott Baker says:
VLC: Preferences -> Show all -> Interfaces -> Main interfaces -> macosx -> Behaviour -> Uncheck Keep Recent Items checkbox
Seamus says:
I’m having trouble with my VLC. There’s no link in the media tab that says “Open recent media”. I have the latest version, and I am fairly tech savvy, especially with Windows platforms. I have Gremlins. That is a high probability….
Scott says:
Hi Jamie,

Thanks for your clear instructions on clearing the cache (it did take me a bit to find the clear history search check box because I needed to scroll down). However, this is not fixing my problem. The stream that I’m trying to watch is rtsp://IP address/overflow. It used to be rtsp://IP address/Overflow. VLC won’t let go of the upper case O. When I type in the address with the lower case o VLC automatically puts the upper case back in when I press enter. Somewhere VLC has the old one cached and I can’t figure out how to clear it. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Dustin says:
Hi, i think that the steps outlined for Mac users are incorrect… there is no “media menu” option in VLC on a Mac. There is also no option to uncheck the box “save recently played items” as the box does not exist in the preferences menu.
There is the option to delete the history under File>Open Recent>Clear Menu so that’s doable but to reiterate: there is no option in the preferences menu to toggle “save recently played items” on or off.
What can I do? I would like VLC to not keep a list of my viewing history that pops up when i right click on the VLC icon in the dock
Max says:
Unfortunately, this is the case for the Mac. So your only option is to delete VLC and use another media player, or continue to have it store a history of videos played. It is a disappointing oversite from VLC while other companies are doing everything they can to provide users with privacy.
Ronald says:
Hi Jaime, Thank you for this information. I already clear the history in vlc when I right click on taskbar. However, the problem is when I search VLC on Cortana, it still shows the history. Anyway to fix that?

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