List Your Mac’s Entire Download History At Once [OS X Tips]

List Your Mac’s Entire Download History At Once [OS X Tips]

Ever need to find a download from a while back, but can’t seem to figure out where it went? You’re sure you’re downloaded it, of course. Heck, I’m sure you downloaded it. But where is it?

Or what if you just want to track down a specific file you downloaded just before your Mac developed some issues? Or you need to make sure that nothing personal has been downloaded on a work Mac? The following Terminal command should help.

Launch Terminal, located in the Utilities folder, which is itself in the Applications folder. Copy and paste the following command into one line in Terminal:

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

You’re basically asking your Mac to list all the stuff that’s been marked in the database in something called the Quarantine Manager, which keeps track of almost everything you’ve ever downloaded on your Mac. It’s how your Mac knows to give you the warning dialog the first time you open a newly downloaded app, for one thing.

If you want a more sorted list, add | sort to the end, like this:

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

That should give you a more coherent list of files marked as downloads.

Now, if you’re trying to maintain your own privacy, here’s the command to delete this list:

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

Of course, if your company has some kind of rule against this sort of thing, we’re totally not responsible.

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About the author

Rob LeFebvreRob LeFebvre is an Anchorage, Alaska-based writer and editor who has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, Creative Screenwriting, Shelf-Awareness, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef, and send him a cookie once in a while; he'll really appreciate it.

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