I want to clear the recent items lists on my computer regardless of what piece of software they are from. I know of the following lists so far:

  • Recent Applications, Documents and Servers are all available in the Recent menu in the Apple menu
  • Xcode has a recent projects and recent files menu
  • Safari has something similar as well
  • TextEdit has an Open Recent menu item as well.

How do I clear the items in these menus?


As far as I know, there is no built-in way this can be done, as the recent documents are stored in each application's preference file. However, a little AppleScript and:

tell application "Finder"
    set fls to every file in alias ":Users:ben:Library:Preferences:"
    set AppleScript's text item delimiters to {""}
    repeat with fl in fls
        if name extension of fl is "plist" then
            set fn to name of fl
            set pid to text items 1 thru -7 of fn as text
            if pid = "com.apple.Xcode" then
                    do shell script "defaults delete " & pid & " NSRecentXCFileDocuments"
                    do shell script "defaults delete " & pid & " NSRecentXCProjectDocuments"
                end try
                    do shell script "defaults delete " & pid & " NSRecentDocumentRecords"
                end try
            end if
        end if
    end repeat
end tell
This deals with normal applications and Xcode, but not the Apple menu or other applications which don't follow the pattern.

  • By using Which editor do I type your Code ? Should I Use VI or text editor ? What extension should I give to this code file ? How to execute it ? Thanks for sharing your knowledge with me. Aug 27 '09 at 17:52
  • 1
    Open "Script Editor", paste in the code and click the Run button. It'll take a while, during which time the application will be unresponsive, but don't worry about it. It'll also fill up your log files with annoying messages, but I don't think there's anything I can do about that. Aug 27 '09 at 17:54

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