How to Delete Document History on a Mac

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Mac computers are known for their ease of use. This reputation holds true when it comes to deleting document history on a Mac. Deleting document history is especially common when you want to cover your trail on a public or workplace computer. Even at home, you may want to remove direct links to recently opened documents on your Mac to protect privacy. If you do not clear your document history, anyone can open the history bar under the Apple icon in the toolbar and browse your recently opened files.

Deleting Document History

Step 1

Click on the Apple icon in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. Scroll down to the "Recent Items" tab. Hold the mouse arrow over the tab and a list of the most recent applications and documents you have opened will appear.

Step 2

Scroll the mouse arrow down the list to the bottom of the pop-up tab. You should see an option that says "Clear Menu" at the very bottom of the tab. Click on the "Clear Menu" button. This will automatically delete your document history.

Step 3

Check to make sure your history is cleared. Click on the Apple icon again and scroll down to the "Recent Items" tab once more. Hold the mouse arrow over the tab and a pop-up list appears. The list of recently used applications and documents should now be empty.

Step 4

Make sure to delete the downloaded document history as well. A download history pop-up box appears every time you download a document from the Internet using a Mac computer. This box shows all the most recent documents you have downloaded. Click on the "Clear List" tab in the bottom left-hand corner of the box to delete your document download history.


Always double-check after deleting to make sure the history has actually been cleared. You can also clear your Internet browsing history by clicking on the"Tools" tab and selecting "Clear Recent History" from the list of options.


Make backups of all your important files. You should store crucial documents in a safe file on your hard disk as well as a USB external storage device or a secure online document-storage website. This will help you avoid accidentally deleting an important document.