Understanding the Recents Folder On a Mac

When you click on Recents in the Finder, you get a huge list of all of your files. This is the result of a search, and not a separate location for these files. Recents is useful for quick access to the files you were just working on, but shouldn't be used for deleting or organizing files. You can also search with Recents as a starting point for a more specific search. You can disable Recents in the sideba or create your own version using a Saved Search.

Comments: 18 Responses to “Understanding the Recents Folder On a Mac”

    nick
    10 months ago

    hi Gary, just tried this and opened a coupe files from Finder, however after closing these files I expected to see them listed at the top of the Recents Folder, but I don’t. I’m sure I missed something, but should I not be seeing these files listed at the top? thx

    10 months ago

    Nick: What do you mean by “tried this?” If you mean one of my suggestions for setting up your own Recents-like folder, then it could be how you have it set up. For instance, if you are using Date Created or Date Modified, then simply opening a file won’t change those times.

    nick
    10 months ago

    Should have been more explicit, by tried I meant I turned on the option to view the Recents folder and then opened a few files, however I hadn’t noticed that Finder was not listing them by Last Date Opened, so when I made sure that option was selected, then it listed the most recent opened files correctly. I think this feature is really handy because many times I find myself navigating through folders to look for recent files I worked on. Thanks.

    Jerry
    10 months ago

    I don’t see a recents option in favorites.

    10 months ago

    Jerry: You probably have it turned off. Finder, Preferences, Sidebar.

    Bob J
    9 months ago

    A while back, my recents folder stopped working. Nothing shows up. How can I fix this?

    9 months ago

    Bob: Stopped working… how? What does it do now?

    Jon
    5 months ago

    I was curious, are the RECENT ITEMS list stored somewhere in the Mac, going back years? I know there are these various “Plists” I believe they are called, that log the names and times that various drives have been connected and removed. I just wondered, if there was some SAVED MASTER LIST of every item, opened up on the MAC, going back months, years. Let me know. Thanks

    5 months ago

    Jon: I think it only stores the numbers of items that you have specified. So it wouldn’t have a long list at all. Not sure where it is kept, probably deep in your user Library folder.

    scott silverman
    4 months ago

    where are the actual files that are shown in finder? i don’t want to lose any files.

    4 months ago

    Scott: Select the file, then look at the bottom of the Finder window to see the path. If you don’t see it, choose View, Show Path Bar. Or, you can select a file and use File, Show In Enclosing Folder.

    jerry jaksha
    3 months ago

    So I ignorantly moved everything in the “recents” file to the trash, but did not empty the trash. I moved everything (all14400) files to another folder. But I cannot put these back into the recents folder. Is there any way to do this ?
    If I

    3 months ago

    Jerry: Watch the video again. There is no “Recents Folder.” It is a list of your most recently-access files.

    Dolores Garcia
    2 months ago

    Recents: 1. Had items on desktop, renamed them, dropped them to an ext. drive, then deleted them from desktop. Found them in Recents. If item is deleted from source folder/location, won’t it be deleted from Recents automatically or should I now go back & delete them from Recents. 2. Have found other items that I’ve deleted from source file but they continue to appear in Recents. List is getting long. Is list eating up disc space? Don’t see that re disc space but ???

    2 months ago

    Dolores: Watch the video again carefully. The Recents list is a list of the actual files. If you delete one, it will delete the file. My guess is that the files you are seeing are either in the trash, or it is showing you the files on your external drive. As a rule, just NEVER delete from the Recents list. You can always Control+click on a file in Recents and choose Show In Enclosing Folder to see where it really is located.

    Thomas Irwin
    2 months ago

    Hi Gary, My Recents folder seems only to show a very small subset of the files I work on (docs, images, spreadheets, pdfs etc) but almost none of the files that I do work on. Currently Recents lists a mere 2,105 items whereas I have about 711,000 files on my system. I work mainly in ableton live and none of these show, although I can see logic pro files in recents. Am I misunderstanding what Recents shows or does my system need some first aid?

    2 months ago

    Thomas: Where are those files? Are they in your Home folder or iCloud Drive? Or Elsewhere? Why not just make your own Smart Folder that shows the files from that app?

    Thomas Irwin
    2 months ago

    Thanks Gary, I will check that out. The files I use are almost entirely on iCloud Drive so that I can use them and access them from multiple devices. It’s not a big problem that I can’t see them in recents, just puzzling if I’m supposed to see all of my files.

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