How to get iOS’ handy Recents feature on your Mac

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Clock recent items
This clock illustrates the time component of 'recent' items.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

One of the handiest features on iOS 11’s Files app is the Recents view. This view — available in the Files app itself, and in any other app that uses the Files picker to locate documents — shows all the files you have created or opened in the last few days.

Did you ever wish you could do the same on your Mac? Well, you can. Today we’re going to see how to add a folder to your Dock that shows recent iCloud Drive files.

Maximize your Mac’s file system with Smart Folders

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Smart Folders are my jam. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
Smart Folders are my jam. Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

A longtime Cult of Mac reader wrote in with a question about some odd-looking folders she sees on her Mac.

“The ‘All Pictures’ folder has a sprocket looking icon,” she writes. “Same with All PDF documents and Recently Changed documents.

Are these files located elsewhere and if I deleted a file from one of the above folders does it remove it from all my files? Don’t understand the purpose of these.”

Excellent question, for sure. Let’s take a look at what these folders are, and how to use them to their full potential.