If you’re a Google Chrome user, you’re probably quite familiar with the Auto-fill feature - and it certainly comes in handy in a pinch! Having your personal details, as well as your card and bank information, automatically filled out for you can save time when visiting new sites, but there might come a time when you need to update these details.
And what if you’d rather Google didn’t know so much about you? Well, clearing your Auto-fill in Chrome is a simple process, and we’ll show you how in this guide!
What is Auto-fill?
As you might expect, "Auto-fill” is pretty self-explanatory. The feature fills out forms automatically with your information, meaning you won’t need to constantly type out your address, payment details, or even passwords.
The first time you fill in a new form in Chrome, you’ll be asked if you’d like the browser to retain that information - for Auto-fill purposes! Generally, most folks use this feature to save time when shopping or completing forms, and Auto-fill comes in especially handy for mobile and tablet users who have to contend with smaller interfaces and less intuitive keyboards.
Is Auto-fill safe?
No, and there are varying degrees of risk that come with using the feature. First, any mistakes you make when filling out a form will be saved and reapplied to other forms in the future. Likewise, Auto-fill can sometimes confuse forms, insisting that what you’re filling out is a physical address when it’s actually an email address.
If you plan on using Auto-fill, it’s a good idea to clear out the information in your log every so often, plucking out addresses you don’t use and outdated details. This way, Auto-fill won’t be able to populate forms with incorrect information.
How to clear Auto-fill on Chrome
Clearing Auto-fill data
Because Google saves your Auto-fill information to the Cloud, it’ll also be accessible via your mobile and tablet - unless you follow the steps below to remove it. If you wipe your browsing history and passwords on one device, they’ll also be removed from any others connected to that Google account.
Smartphones and tablets
Oh, and don’t worry if you’re using a mobile - the steps should be almost exactly the same, accounting for a few minor differences.
- In a Chrome tab, click on the three dots you see in the upper-right corner.
- Click "Settings”, and then "Privacy and security” from the menu on the left.
- Select "Clear browsing data”, and then "All time” from the drop-down menu in the pop-up window.
- Hit "Clear data” and you’re done!
If you’d rather not deal with Auto-fill at all, simply follow along with these steps:
- Open up a Chrome tab and hit the three dots in the upper-right corner.
- From here, click "Settings” and select "Auto-fill” from the menu on the left.
- You’ll have three options to choose from: Passwords, Payment methods, Addresses and more, and so simply select whichever you’d like to disable Auto-fill for.
- Then, adjust the toggles as necessary.
Changing and updating Auto-fill data
If you’ve moved house, received a new debit or credit card, or want to prune the data held by Google, we’ve got you covered. Here’s how to do it:
- From your Chrome browser, select the three dots in the upper-right corner.
- Hit "Settings,” select "Auto-fill” from the left-hand side menu.
- You can add a new card by selecting "Payment methods”, then "Add”.
- You can also remove an existing card by clicking the three dots next to it, then "Remove”.
- To add a new physical address, return to the "Auto-fill” menu and select "Addresses and more”, then "Add”.
- Again, you can remove a stored address by selecting the three dots beside it and clicking "Remove”.
Auto-fill can be a convenient time-saver when filling out long, laborious forms, or make online shopping that much quicker, but too many addresses and details and cards can become confusing. Luckily, it’s pretty simple to wipe your Auto-fill data and start from scratch, or disable the feature entirely.
If security is your concern, however, we’d recommend checking out a password manager. These handy little apps are much more reliable than Auto-fill, and can hold more than just your passwords, keeping your payment details and addresses safe. Plus, they’re compatible with just about any device.
Interested? Then check out our best password managers guide for a list of the best services!