How to Clear and Manage “Recent Places” In OS X

Whenever you save files to a specific location on your Mac, OS X will save this location in a “Recent Places” listing which will be available the next time you save another file. This feature allows quick access to the folders you commonly use and hence saves a lot of your precious work time.

By default, the recent places list will show you the past five most recently accessed folders. Now, while this may be convenient for some, it can become annoying, especially if you would just like to clear an item or the entire list. Unfortunately, the only way to do so via the OS X interface is to save items in at least five new locations, thus forcing the one you want to remove from the list.


This isn’t quite the best approach out there, and if you prefer to use another method, then you can use Terminal to remove the saved recent place entries from your OS X account. To do this:

1. Open Terminal on your OS X System.


2. Enter the following command to remove all the saved recent places:

defaults delete -g NSNavRecentPlaces


With this command, the Recent Places drop-down menu in the saved windows will be emptied and will then begin to populate with new folders as you save files to them.

Another tip for you is that you can also adjust the number of recent items that the system stores. By default the number of items is five, but you can adjust this to a value of your liking with the following command:

defaults write -g NSNavRecentPlacesLimit -int NUM


Here, simply replace NUM will the number of entries you want. Entering Zero will disable the recent places list. Additionally, you can run the following command to remove the limit:

defaults delete -g NSNavRecentPlacesLimit


Did this work for you? Be sure to tell us in the comments below!

Shujaa Imran
Shujaa Imran

Shujaa Imran is MakeTechEasier's resident Mac tutorial writer. He's currently training to follow his other passion become a commercial pilot. You can check his content out on Youtube

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