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How to delete downloads on your Mac to free up space and help your computer run more efficiently

  • The simplest way to delete downloads on your Mac is through the Downloads folder in your Finder.
  • Downloads can fill your Mac’s memory, and it’s easy to forget about the documents and media that fill your download folder.
  • You can also clear your download history from Internet browsers such as Safari and Google Chrome when those queues fill up, though this won’t delete the files themselves.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

All files and applications you download onto your Mac go to your Downloads folder unless you specifically choose a different destination, which in some cases isn’t even an option.

Even if you use these files and save an edited version of them in a different folder, they can sometimes leave a copy in your Downloads folder — which takes up memory and can slow down performance.

If you’ve downloaded an application, it has likely left a .dmg behind in your downloads that is rendered worthless once you install the program.

Browsers also keep track of all the items you download, so it may be a good idea to clear those as well. Here’s how to clear downloads from your Mac and your browsers.

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How to delete downloads on your Mac

1. Open the “Finder” app from your dock.

2. Click on “Downloads” in the left hand-side menu of the Finder box. It should have an icon with a dark gray circle and an arrow in it.

Select “Downloads” from the left hand-side menu.

3. Select the files you want to delete by clicking on them. If you want to delete all downloads, simply press “shift” on your keyboard while clicking the first and then last download in the list. You can also hold “Command” + “A” to select all.

4. Right click on the file(s), and then click “Move to trash” from the pop-up menu. You can also click “File” and then “Move to Trash” in the top menu bar, or open the gray gear icon at the top of the Finder window and select “Move to Trash.”

Make sure to move the downloads to the Trash.

5. Once the files are in your Trash, simply right click on the “Trash” icon in your dock and select “Empty Trash” from the pop-up menu. It should look like a white trash can.

6. Your Downloads folder and your trash should now be empty.

Your Downloads folder should now be empty.

How to delete your download history from Safari

1. Open Safari by clicking the “Safari” icon in your dock or by holding “Command” and the spacebar on your keyboard and searching for the app.

2. Click on “Safari” in the top menu bar.

3. Click on “Clear History…” from the dropdown menu.

4. In the pop-up window, click the selection box next to “Clear” and select the amount of history you’d like to delete. Select “Clear all history” if you want to delete everything.

5. Click “Clear History.”

6. Your download history is now deleted, with the rest of your browsing data — however this will not delete items you’ve downloaded.

Select “all history” from the drop-down list.

How to delete download history from Google Chrome

1. Open Google Chrome by clicking the “Chrome” icon in your dock or by holding “Command” and the spacebar on your keyboard and searching for the app.

2. Click on “Chrome” in the top menu bar.

3. Select “Clear Browsing Data” from the dropdown menu. A new page should open with a pop-up window saying “Clear browsing data” at the top.

4. Click the “Advanced” tab of the box. Check the box next to each item you’d like to delete by clicking on the box. When an item is selected there should be a blue check mark in the box. Doing this allows you to customize what data stays on your computer, such as passwords and sign-in data, and what gets deleted.

5. You can also choose the time period of data you want to clear. To clear all download data, change the time range to “All Time” by clicking the box next to “Time Range” at the top of the pop-up window and selecting it from the dropdown menu.

6. Click on “Clear data” in the bottom right-hand corner.

Select “All time” from the drop-down list.

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