How to Delete Downloads on Mac

Deleting downloads on Mac can be a pain because It involves two separate things: cleaning up your Downloads folder and then removing the downloads history from your browser. So, in short, you'll need to: find your Downloads folder, remove your downloads, clear your downloads history in your browser, and (finally) empty your Trash

How to delete downloads on Mac via Finder 

Finder is the first place you should look for downloads in on your Mac. If you have a mountain of download files stored, it’d be smart to sort your items and see which of them are the heaviest.

  1. Open Finder.
  2. Press Cmd+Shift+G.
  3. Type in: ~/
  4. Open Downloads folder.
  5. Righ-click anywhere in the window and select Use Groups.
  6. Delete downloads on Mac
  7. Finder will then gather your downloads in groups such as Applications, PDF documents, Images, and others, so you can quickly look through them and delete files you don’t need.

Then you can sort downloads by size: right-click in Finder, click Group By pop-up menu and choose Size.

Sort downloads by size

How to delete downloads from software (e.g. Skype) which are hard to find

It can be a challenge to find the files you downloaded from different apps, such as Skype, on your Mac. By default, all the items you want to save go into the Downloads folder. But, if you have changed these settings, your files would be stored elsewhere. So, how to find those downloads on your Mac. 

If you search for Skype downloads, here’s how to locate them: 

  1. Open Skype. 
  2. Go to the Skype menu and choose Preferences. 
  3. Select Messaging from the list on the left.
Locate and delete Skype downloads

In the end, there’s “When I receive a file” setting. It’s set to Downloads, which means all files you download from Skype automatically go into this folder. Open it to locate the files Skype saved and delete them. You can change directory to save your Skype files elsewhere. 

The pretty similar route applies to all other apps you save files from. For example, to find out the Slack downloads location, I opened the app and then navigated to its Preferences.

Locate and delete Slack downloads

To make it easier to find files you saved, choose one download location for all your apps. You will eliminate clutter in lots of folders and will be able to delete many files at once. 

Once you’re done deleting your downloads, it’s time to clear the downloads history from the browser you use. Select the section below based on the browser you use.

The easy solution to delete downloads and download history on Mac

However, if you’re looking for a solution that makes clearing out your downloads (and your downloads history) simple, check out a cleaning utility like CleanMyMac X. It helps you clean up your Downloads folder and clears your download history with just a few clicks.

To reclaiming space by cleaning out the Downloads folder in a few minutes, just:

  1. Download CleanMyMac X.
  2. Click Large & Old Files.
  3. Scan your Mac and then select whatever you wish to remove.
  4. Click Remove.
Delete large and old files on Mac

And you’re done. As you can see, it’s incredibly easy to remove your downloads on Mac with CleanMyMac X. And as for cleaning your downloads history:

  1. Launch CleanMyMac X.
  2. Click Privacy, in the left menu.
  3. Select your browser and checkmark the "Downloads History" box.
  4. Click Remove.
How to clear downloads on Mac

And voila — Your downloads and downloads history are clean. Not to mention, CleanMyMac X is an amazing, all-around tool for your Mac. It helps you clean up gigabytes of junk and makes the hardest of Mac OS X tasks incredibly simple.

But, if you’d still like to clean up your downloads and download history manually, just follow the steps below.

How to clear downloads history in Chrome

To clear downloads history in Google Chrome browser manually:

  1. Launch the Chrome browser.
  2. Type chrome://history/ in the search field and press Enter.
  3. Select Clear browsing data.
  4. Select the time range and check the "Download history" box.
  5. Click Clear data.
How to delete downloads history in Chrome

How to clean downloads history in Safari

To clean downloads history in Safari browser:

  1. Launch the Safari browser.
  2. Click View in the menu bar and select Show Downloads.
  3. Delete downloads in Safari
  4. Safari will show you all the files you downloaded. Press Clear to remove downloads history.

Clear downloads in Safari

You can alternatively press the arrow down button (↓) to see and clear downloads. 


Clearing your Mac of downloads once in a while helps to save some space. If you are up to a full spring cleaning of your MacBook, CleanMyMac X has another useful feature - Space Lens. It analyzes your storage and shows precisely how much space each folder takes. If your Mac is short on space, Space Lens can help you to locate the heaviest folder and remove it. 

How to remove downloads history in Firefox

To remove downloads history in Firefox directly:

  1. Launch the Firefox browser.
  2. Click History, in the menu bar.
  3. Select Clear Recent History.
  4. Select the time range.
  5. Check the “Browsing & Download History” box.
  6. Click Clear Now.

Now, your Mac is probably clean of old downloads that used to take space. Keeping your digital space tidy and organized will help you locate files faster and avoid clutter in your folders.

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Your Mac. As good as new.