View and Delete Your Download History In Terminal 2


View and Delete Your Download History In Terminal


When your download any file off the web your Mac runs it through a built in malware checker to ensure it doesn’t contain anything that may harm your system This is a good way of ensuring your Mac has a small amount of protection. However, your Mac records every single file you download, and the source. I believe this is a bit of a privacy risk. This post is going to show you how to access this list, and how to delete it.

Your Download History

Your download history is located in a database within the Quarantine Events file. Although it doesn’t usually contain the file name of the file you have downloaded, it does contain the source. To view it open Terminal located in your Applications > Utilities folder.

Copy and paste the following into Terminal.

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

When you hit return the sqlite3 command will run a sql database query on the file and it list the files your have download and the sources. It quite an interesting read as you do end up downloading more files than you realise.

Deleting Your Past

If you want to delete this history you have to perform a delete command. In Terminal again copy and paste the following.

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

When you hit return the history will be deleted.


I don’t really like these types of activity being recorded and tracked, however the way to delete it is not too difficult. I believe this is only recored if you use Safari, however I have not checked if using a different browser makes any difference. If you have any comments on this command, please leave a one using the form below. Macgasm has a expanded article on this post regarding automatically deleting your history.

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