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On MacOs Monterey 12.5.1, want to clear recents results. In Finder, selecting Recents > Top Menu > Go > Recents Folder > Clear Menu, outcome is that the list of recents only disappears from menu, but does not clear from the Finder's Recents folder results.

How do I clear the Recents in Finder if not the above method?

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  • What is the "Finder's Recents collection" for you?
    – nohillside
    Aug 25, 2022 at 12:57
  • In Finder there is a Recents folder. When selecting that folder, the contents in the right panel are the collection of results. If you're looking for a differently worded description, please explain. Aug 25, 2022 at 13:39
  • The clear function is for the list of recent folders in the Go menu. It is separate from the Recents view in the sidebar. If you clear out the Recents sidebar view, you'll actually be deleting files. Have this 'answer' on me, but in future please try to improve your question if asked. Your question is closed until you do. Aug 25, 2022 at 15:03
  • A screenshot would help a lot here (and way more than just repeating the question) :-)
    – nohillside
    Aug 25, 2022 at 19:15
  • @AndyGriffiths Go ahead with your answer, please.
    – nohillside
    Aug 25, 2022 at 19:15

2 Answers 2

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The Go menu clear function is just for clearing the list of recent folders in the Go menu. It is separate from the Recents view in the sidebar. If you clear out the Recents sidebar view, you'll actually be deleting files.

Also worth checking is the Recent Items under the Apple menu. That does have an option to clear it, at the bottom. However on my machine the contents of that menu don't match what's in the Finder Recents view, so the criteria it uses is unclear.

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  • Is there a functionality to clear the recents (in what I think you call the sidebar), without deleting the files? It is clearly a separate index populated when files are accessed. I'd like to be able to use Recents view and start clean when going between projects. Do not wish to delete any files. I was able to force it by archiving a folder, trashing/emptying the original folder, then extracting the archive. Long-winded way of getting there. Thanks for your tolerance if my jargon is not aligned with this community. Aug 27, 2022 at 15:24
  • In short, no. It's just a finder view across all disks based on last-used time. What might get you what you want is the Recent Items under the Apple menu. That does have an option to clear it, at the bottom. However on my machine the contents of that menu don't match what's in the Finder Recents view, so the criteria it uses is unclear. YMMV. Aug 27, 2022 at 22:14
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Recent files are sorted by date, and clearing the menu item doesn’t remove the smart search from the Finder or back date those files to make them no longer recent.

If you find the smart search to be a waste of space - remove it as follows. No files are moved, changed, or deleted whether you have or remove this item in the Finder (just as no files change when you clear the menu of recent apps and files).

Hold down the Control key and select remove from the Sidebar if you don't want the finder to show a collection of the most recent files visible to your user on the Mac.

Contextual Finder menu for Recents

Just like a library has a catalog of all items, the Mac dates items on the filesystem and sorts them by recency by default.

If you need a different collection of files, you can make your own smart search criteria and add that instead.

Recents is just a smart folder that the system shows you by default and provides a custom icon of an analog clock.

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