There has been a lot of wingeing over the loss of "All My Files" in favor of "Recents" in High Sierra, and I am beginning to understand why. For one, it seems to be an opaque tool and I have yet to locate any means of adjusting how it behaves or even learn what criteria make files appear there.

One thing I am sure of is that files which I have created in the last 24 hours (specifically, screen shots) do not appear there. These are not esoteric files like .plist files, but .jpg files that I have saved within my Google Drive folder. I have no idea why this file is being excluded from "Recents" but it does infer why screen videocaps created by Monosnap and saving them to some mysterious location with a mysterious name, which would seem to be a perfect opportunity for "Recents" to be useful except that it doesn't seem to work.

Is there any way to adjust how "Recents" works or learn what the criteria are for files to appear there

2 Answers 2


When Recents is active in a Finder window, go to the window's action (gear) pop-up menu, select "Show Search Criteria". The first criterion for Recents requires that the "Last Opened" metadata entry have a value – this is probably why your screen captures are not showing up (if you were to open them in Preview, then they would show up in Recents).

You can edit the search criteria in that window, or perhaps better, copy the search string and create a new smart folder with it, then tweak it until satisfactory.

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    Where can you find a list of the criteria? I see it has things like "kMDItemLastUsedDate", What would one use to find most recently downloaded/created? I tried this: "(kMDItemLastUsedDate = "") && ((kMDItemContentTypeTree = public.content) || (kMDItemContentTypeTree = "com.microsoft.*"cdw) || (kMDItemContentTypeTree = public.archive))" but it doesnt find anything. Commented Aug 28, 2019 at 9:30
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    Try the mdls command in the terminal to find all the attributes on a file. Most of them are documented by Apple: see Constants at the top level and under MDItem – or by other writers (try a web search). Attributes you may find helpful are kMDItemDateAdded or kMDItemFSCreationDate.
    – justinbb
    Commented Nov 7, 2019 at 8:25
  • Does not work for me.
    – Dogweather
    Commented May 20, 2023 at 18:24

Found a solution on a different thread. Just delete this file and relaunch your finder.


It worked for me. (To find the file in the Finder Use the "Go" Menu item with your option key pressed, the go to Library -> Preferences.)

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    This was useful when I had a problem of finder crashing when I clicked on "Recents". Commented May 23, 2019 at 6:29
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    force quitting the finder from activity monitor worked for me
    – penduDev
    Commented Apr 8, 2020 at 13:36
  • Ridiculously low software quality. I can't believe how many 'solutions' are to delete an auto-generated config file and restart.
    – Dogweather
    Commented May 20, 2023 at 18:20

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