I am trying to remove some files out of the 'recents' view of the files iOS app without actually deleting the file.

My 'recents' list is currently too long, for this view to be of any help for me at this point. Ideally, I can curate individual items that aren't relevant and keep the rest of the list, but if needed - can I just purge all recents and start cleanly?

  • No - you can't edit or suppress one item - just open new files and the one that's current will be less recent.
  • Yes - You can wipe all the items and start fresh.

Open the Files app. Go to Browse tab. You'll get a list of the Locations you've authorized Files to access: iCloud, Google, etc. Your Recents tab displays recently viewed files from any authorized drive - not just iCloud.

Tap the three dots "..." in the upper right hand corner of the screen and select "Edit" from the popup menu that will appear. To clear the Recents view for any drive turn access off by tapping the Green Button. This clears the Recents view. You can then turn access back on by tapping the button again. A little kluggy but it works.


No. "Recents" is just all your files sorted by most recently used. So if you have a file in Files.app, it will appear there.


Natively: iPad OS and iOS does not allow you to remove/hide files from the “Recents” section in the native file app.

1st work around (any file)

For when you are trying to prevent files from showing up in the recents section.

  1. Create a folder in the “On my [device here]“ tab
  2. Move all the files that you want to remove from “Recents” into the folder you’ve created.
  3. Long press the folder, and select compress.

This will create a duplicate of the original folder with all the files that you’ve placed inside as a .zip file.

  1. Delete the original folder that was not compressed

This will not immediately delete the folder and will instead be moved into “Recently Deleted” in case you want to recover your file. (This also removes the folder and its contents from the recents section, so technically you could view the files from “recently deleted” without anything appearing into Recents even after you restore it after viewing the contents).

  1. Tap on the compressed file and it will export a duplicate of the original compressed folder. None of the files inside the exported folder will be listed in the “Recents” section until viewed again.
  2. After viewing the contents, assuming no files were added or modified (if files were added, start from step 1), delete the uncompressed folder, and uncompress the zip file. Rinse and repeat as needed.

2nd work around (images, GIF’s, videos only):

This work around is for images, GIF’s, and videos specifically.

  1. Separate all the files into a folder as you would in work around 1.
  2. Select all the sorted images
  3. Tap “share” and press “Save Image(s)”
  4. Delete the folder containing all the images/videos

Again this will not immediately delete the files/folder and you can recover them if you so please.

  1. Open the native Photos app
  2. Select all the images that you would like to hide
  3. Press Share, and tap the “Hide” option
  4. Go into the “Albums” section and go into the “Hidden” album.

This will remove all the images from being viewable in the photos app or any other application. Unless unhidden, all images will be restricted to just the “Hidden” album.


Yes !this works for me.... Start composing a new email. Doesn’t matter to whom. In the body of the email click to display a menu bar. Select “insert photo” and/or “insert file” and the recents list will display. Long press any file to display actions menu, and select delete. Gone!


AFAIK this is still not possible. To remove the recent files just use the menu item at the end of the list.

  • Which menu item do you refer to? This question is asking about Files.app on iOS, are you perhaps answering about macOS? – grg Mar 25 '19 at 19:23
  • At the bottom of the recent files is an item called "Clear History" or "Clear Recents". – Frank Blome Mar 26 '19 at 12:18
  • Please could you add a screenshot to your answer so we can see what you’re seeing? I can’t find any such option in the Recents tab, or any app’s UIDocumentPickerViewController. – grg Mar 26 '19 at 12:28
  • Sorry, I slipped to macOS in my stressed brain. In iOS there is no clear history or recent. The only think you can do is a long press to activate the context menu and select "Delete". – Frank Blome Mar 26 '19 at 12:46

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