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Your Mac Remembers Everything You Download. Here’s How to Clear Download History.

2017 August 11
by RSS Feed

Your Mac has a history of everything you’ve ever downloaded, but it’s possible to clear it out. Viewing your Mac download history requires using the Terminal, so it’s unlikely most users would know how to do this. Here’s how to view and clear it.

Viewing Mac Download History

Here is a command that you can simply copy and paste into your Terminal to view your Mac download history:

sqlite3 ~/Library/Preferences/* 'select LSQuarantineDataURLString from LSQuarantineEvent'

This isn’t just Safari downloads. Any app that lets you download files will show up here. This can include torrents, cat photos, porn—anything. This happens because your Mac has used a Quarantine Manager since OS X Snow Leopard. It means that your Mac checks each download for safety issues, so you don’t unknowingly download a virus (although it could still happen.)

Viewing the download history in Terminal.

Clear Mac Download History

Here’s how to delete the history. Again, this is command you can copy and paste into your Terminal:

sqlite3 ~/Library/Preferences/* 'delete from LSQuarantineEvent'

However, your Mac will continue to keep a history, so you’ll need to run these commands every now and then if you want to clear it out.

What it looks like in Automator.

Automated Cleaning

As power users, we all like to automate things, so in order to have your Mac automatically clear its history, we can create a Calendar Alarm using Automator. In the sidebar, you can search for “Run AppleScript” and drag it into the work area.

do shell script "sqlite3 ~/Library/Preferences/* 'delete from LSQuarantineEvent'"

Copy and paste the above command into the window. Basically, you’ll just be replacing the default text that says (* Your script goes here *).

Setting up an event in Calendar.

When you save the file, it will automatically create a separate Automator calendar in the Calendar app. This will of course be in the On My Mac section, and not an iCloud calendar. Saving the file will have it run immediately, and only once. But you can edit the event in Calendar to have it run on a specific schedule. I have mine run every Saturday at 11PM.

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