How to erase FaceTime history on Mac

FaceTime, the Mac’s built-in video and audio calling tool, is a great way to keep in touch with friends, family members, and colleagues who also have Apple devices. One of its key benefits is the way it syncs across all your devices and allows you to pick up a call started on, say, your Mac on another device like an iPhone.

However, that also means that any call you make on an iPhone or iPad is also logged on your Mac and recent calls are stored in your FaceTime history. If you use FaceTime a lot, that history soon builds up and takes up space on your Mac. It can also represent a privacy threat, particularly if some of the calls are confidential business calls. So, here is how to erase FaceTime history on your Mac.

Tip:

Sometimes, important meta-data is stored in an app cache. If you’d like to wipe out all recent details about your apps (including FaceTime), you need a cache cleaner app. CleanMyMac X by MacPaw is the tool that deletes 99% of caches and system junk on macOS so you may try that one. It’s available for a free download here. It will also clear browser history and downloads.

These are FaceTime caches we are talking about that are contained in Library:

Facetime caches

These caches are problematic to remove on your own (you may delete something important). So here’s me deleting FaceTime caches in CleanMyMac X:

How to clean FaceTime cache in CleanMyMac

How to clear FaceTime history on your Mac

FaceTime is a built-in app and is installed with macOS, so there are a limited number of ways you can cut down the amount of disk space it uses. For example, you can’t delete the app itself. However, you can remove the log of calls that FaceTime keeps and syncs with all your devices. There are several different ways to do that, and we’ll describe them below.

How to view recent calls

If you have FaceTime in the Dock, and it will be there unless you have removed it, right-click or Control-click on it. You will see a list of contacts at the top of the contextual menu, those are the recent calls.

If you don’t have FaceTime in the Dock, launch it from your Applications folder or Spotlight and you will see recent calls listed on the left of the window.

How to delete FaceTime calls on your Mac

How to remove recents in FaceTime
  1. Launch FaceTime.
  2. To remove one recent call, click on it to select it.
  3. Right-click on it or Control-click on it and choose Remove from Recents List.
  4. To remove all FaceTime history, right-click on any call and choose Remove all Recents.
  5. Alternatively, click on the FaceTime menu and choose Remove all Recents.

Once you’ve removed recent calls on your Mac, they will be removed from any other devices on which you use FaceTime the next time it syncs. However, the next time you make a call, that call will be added to a new list of recent calls. There’s no way to stop FaceTime logging and displaying recent calls. So if you want to keep that private, you will need to remove the call from the list as soon as it’s finished.

How to switch off FaceTime on your Mac

Although you can’t uninstall FaceTime from your Mac, you can switch it off and prevent your Mac from making or receiving calls.

  1. Launch FaceTime.
  2. Click on the FaceTime menu and choose Preferences.
  3. Choose Settings.
  4. Uncheck Enable this account
  5. If you want to use FaceTime to make outgoing calls but not be interrupted by others calling you, just uncheck the boxes under ‘You can be reached for FaceTime at’ and leave it enabled.

There is one other way to turn off FaceTime, that doesn’t involve a trip to Preferences: click on the FaceTime menu and choose Turn Off FaceTime. I’m not sure why that option is there and in Preferences. But it’s handy to have if you decide you don’t want to be disturbed by incoming calls. You can also press Command-K at any time and it will turn off. You won’t have to log in again when you switch it back on.

Bonus Tip

How to sign out of FaceTime on your Mac? Follow steps 1-3 in How to switch off FaceTime but at step 4, instead of unchecking Enable this account, click Sign Out. That will sign you out of your iCloud account for use with FaceTime. The next time you want to use it, you will have to sign in again.

Now, clear recent browsing details (we’ll use CleanMyMac X)

You’ve cleared the data from FaceTime itself, that’s good. But now you may want to clear your browsing history to maintain anonymity about your calls, visited pages, and everything that preceded you making the calls. In other words, we’ll erase the browser part.

We’ll use the app mentioned above, CleanMyMac X, because it cleans much more items than the regular “Erase history” in your browser. As you can see from the screenshot, it also cleans:

  • Search queries
  • Autofill values
  • Tabs, cookies, and much more
How to clear browser cache in CleanMyMac
  1. Download the free version of CleanMyMac X (it’s notarized by Apple)
    and install CleanMyMac X if it’s not already installed on your Mac.
  2. Choose the Privacy module in the sidebar.
  3. Press Scan.

If you’re prompted to quit any open browsers, make sure any work you’re doing is saved then press Quit. Click one the browser whose data you want to clear and hit Remove. Repeat for other browsers you use.

CleanMyMac X can also help you clear the Recent Items list in the Finder, delete the list of wifi networks that your Mac has stored, and even revoke application permissions for things like access to your startup disk, camera, or microphone, or linking to data in built-in apps like Calendar and Contacts. You’ll find the options in the Privacy section.

Apple won’t let you remove FaceTime completely from your Mac. However, you can delete the list of recent calls. And that will remove it from all the devices with which your Mac syncs. If you reason for deleting recent calls is to maintain privacy, CleanMyMac X can help by making it easy to remove other traces of activity one your Mac like browser history and cache files.

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