Taming All My Files

If you find the Ally My Files view in the Finder to be useless, you may want to consider getting rid of it, or perhaps taming it by using the Arrange By options in the Finder. You can set the Finder so new windows show the Documents folder or somewhere else by default. You can also use Arrange By Last Opened Date to make the All My Files list something that is actually useful.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Taming All My Files.

When you create a new Finder window do you get something like this? Just a mess of different files here, just a ton of stuff, not really very useful, you can't really find what you need, and you immediately have to go somewhere else to get going. Like maybe switch to your Documents folder.

Well, this area is called All My Files and basically it shows a huge listing of all the stuff throughout your Documents folder, no matter what folder it's in. It includes stuff on Desktop, iCloud Drive, everything! It can be a real mess if you've got a lot of files and you do a lot of work on your Mac.

Now you can turn this off and decide you don't want to see this. Instead say you want to see your Documents folder. So you can go to Finder Preferences and under General switch from New Finder Window Show to say Documents or your User folder. That, for a lot of people, will solve the problem. Then you don't have to see this anymore.

You don't even have to, if you don't use All My Files, you don't even have to see it here listed under Favorites. You can go to Finder Preferences and under Sidebar get rid of All My Files so it doesn't even appear there. You can really get rid of it and pretend it doesn't exist.

Or you can get a little more use out of it by making a few changes. For instance instead of icon view if you go to List View and then you sort by Date Last Opened by clicking on it here and having the latest files that have been opened at the top, then it's already more useful because the stuff that you really want is going to be here at the top. It was sorting it that way here by icon as well but it's not as useful as List View. If you do Column View you're going to get an alphabetical list. It's not nearly as useful.

But, there are some other options here. You can go to View Arranged By and if switch to any of these date options here like Date Last Opened it's going to put things in these little tiers here with today being at the top and then yesterday, last week, previous thirty days, and then going back months. It's really easy to see what files you've recently been using.

This even persists if you go to icon view. You get this very nice view now with things broken up like this. So you can see all the stuff you've been working on today. The next one would usually be things that you were working on yesterday and so forth. This will stay List View, even stay in Column View here. Much more useful and it will remember this.

So say if I like this Icon View arranged by Last Opened and I close the Finder window. When I create a New Finder Window it remembers those settings and it comes back just like that. You can already see this is a lot more useful to have All My Files look like this. I almost even tend to what to try and use it this way although my main way of working is just to have Documents set as my default Finder window.

So give these options a try and see if you can customize All My Files to be something more useful for you. If not, just get rid of it.

Comments: 5 Responses to “Taming All My Files”

    Helen Russell
    2 years ago

    Thank you for another great video. My Finder window is so much more useful now.
    Happy New Year!

    2 years ago

    Hey Gary,

    this is great, many thanks !

    Kind Regards

    2 years ago

    As usual you helped solve another issue for me. Thanks Gary!

    2 years ago

    Thanks! I needed that—lots

    2 years ago

    Thank you! That really does make All My Files useful!

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