How to Clear Your Pocket Backlog and Start Fresh

I expect that many users of Pocket and similar read-it-later apps have difficulty staying on top of the ever-growing list of content waiting to be consumed.  Either the queue fills faster than you can keep up with, or you miss clearing it out one day and before you know it, you’ve got 14,000 articles waiting to be read. (If Pocket users on Android want to find out how many articles are waiting to be read, you can download the DashClock Extension for Pocket app, add the widget to your home screen, and then sign-in in the app’s settings.  If you didn’t feel overwhelmed by your Pocket backlog before, perhaps you do now.)


​If you want to ​start fresh, you can clear out all of your old articles and tags, leaving you with the same account and a blank slate.  Before deleting everything though. you may want to save a list of all the articles in your account in case you want to begin re-adding these articles to your account later, or just want a record of their existence.  To do that, follow my Pocket Export guide.


When you’re satisfied with your Exported list, and are positive you want to delete all of your data (Maybe take a few hours to make sure this is a step you really want to take), go back to Options, and select the Privacy option above Export.
Within the Privacy options, click Clear My Online Data.  This page will warn you that what you’re doing cannot be undone, and ask you to check the box ensuring that you want to do this.  This will delete all of your articles and tags.  If you’re sure you want to do this, check the box, and click Delete My Data.
Clear Online Data
Now your Pocket account is a blank slate, and this time, I’m sure you’ll manage to stay on top of the articles flooding in.  Or you’ll be back in a few months to try this process again.  I’ll be here for you.

How to Back Up Your Data in Pocket

Pocket2While the odds of losing the data you have stored in Pocket or similar web services is relatively low, it never hurts to have a backup just in case something bad happens.  Someone could get into your account and delete it all, and without a backup, all your years of read and unread content could be unrecoverable.

Pocket doesn’t have a true back up function, but there is a way to at least keep track of the article names, links, and read or unread status through the Export feature.  Here’s how:

From your Pocket List, click your name in the upper right-hand corner, and click Options.  From there, go to the bottom and click Export.

Export Export HTML

This will export an HTML file listing all of the articles in your account, sorted into My List and Archive.  Your tags will not be included, and articles you’ve Favorited will be within My List or Archive, without any indication that they were Favorited.

Put this file in Dropbox or Google Drive or Crashplan or an external hard drive.  Anywhere this file will stay safe if you ever need it.  Don’t forget the 3-2-1 Backup Rule.

It’s not a perfect solution, and there’s no way to import this file back into Pocket, other than manually re-saving each article, but given the choice between this and losing years of reading, this is a start.