Increase your privacy on macOS by excluding specific files or folders from the Recently Used view in the Finder.
The Recently Used folder in the macOS Finder is more powerful than you might think. Basically, it's useful for accessing the files you've been working with recently. But Recents is a smart folder, which means that it is tied into the macOS search engine Spotlight.
An important feature of Spotlight is the ability to prevent searches in certain locations. Read on to find out how you can use it to hide some of your recent files from Finder.
Hide recently used files
The Recent view is a way to find recently used files on your Mac. You can hide files from this view by excluding individual folders from Spotlight searches. The Finder does not display any files directly in this folder or in subfolders.
Just follow these steps:
Open that System settings app – you can do this quickly from the Apple global menu.
Click on that Headlights Symbol.
Go to privacy Tab.
Press the plus (+) Button at the bottom of the window.
Navigate to the folder you want to exclude.
Press the Choose Button at the bottom right.
Once you've added a folder, it should appear in the original list.
You can still add as many folders as you want. Note that the Spotlight indexer runs regularly and it may take some time for your changes to take effect.
How private are my files now?
In short: not very. If someone is using your computer, they can do a similar process to stop certain folders from being hidden. You don't even have to enter a password.
Since Recents is a smart folder, it displays its contents dynamically. The results also include files that you last opened before updating these settings.
But at least the Finder doesn't offer these files every time you open a new window.
Cover up your recent tracks with Spotlight privacy
Although macOS has this setting under. presents privacy, Files that you hide are only private in the broadest sense. You should consider this feature as a defense against shoulder surfing and nothing more. But it can also be useful to keep yourself organized if you use recents a lot and find the number of files overwhelming.
You should also make sure that you can still find important files as you will no longer be able to find them using Search.
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About the author
(49 articles published)
Bobby is a technology enthusiast who has worked as a software developer for nearly two decades. Passionate about games, he works as a review editor at Switch Player Magazine, and delves into all aspects of online publishing and web development.
From Bobby Jack
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