How do I clear the Sidebar SEARCH FOR histories?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by FormerWindozer, Sep 5, 2008.

  1. FormerWindozer macrumors newbie

    Sep 5, 2008
    At the advice of my son, I've purchased an iMac (Mac OS X, Version 10.5.4, 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM), and I like it despite the steep learning curve. If I were using a Windoze os, I'd be able to clear the cache for computer file searches, and the History would be cleared without losing the files that were searched for. I'm trying to learn how to do the same (i.e., clear the cache of searched files) for searches I've done on my iMac

    I open finder and on the left side of the window, I see the headings:

    "DEVICES" (with xx's iMac, Macintosh HD, and iDisk listed below the heading),

    "PLACES" (with Desktop, Applications, Documents, and bp listed below the heading), and

    "SEARCH FOR" (with Today, Yesterday, Past Week, All Images, All Movies, All Documents under the heading).

    I know that this area on the left side of Finder window is referred to as the "Sidebar". When I click on Today, Yesterday, Past Week, All Images, All Movies, All Documents, I see hundreds of documents from numerous searches. What I want to do is clear the contents of each of the categories, so that I can start searches with less clutter, etc.

    How do I clear the search results (i.e., the listed files, images, movies and/or documents) from each of the categories listed under the "SEARCH FOR" heading?

    Just to be clear, I want to be able to click on the Today, Yesterday, Past Week, All Images, All Movies, All Documents categories under "SEARCH FOR" heading and have absolutely no files show up.

    Also to be clear, I've searched this site for an answer to this question, but the response was not an answer. The response was merely the suggestion that the categories be removed from the Sidebar area, reprinted here:

    "Ah, out! These are not history items. These are Smart Folders showing actual content of your hard drive, used Today, Yesterday and so on. DON'T delete them or you will run into serious trouble. To remove the Smart Folders from the sidebar, just drag them off the sidebar and they will vanish in a puff of smoke. /Rupert"

    I've found that removing the categories does not clear them of the search histories. I can remove them, and then put them back on, but the same hundreds of files are also put back on. The problem with Rupert's suggestion is that I don't want to get rid of the categories, I want to get rid of the contents of the categories.

    Sorry about the long-winded question, but it's better to throw out information you don't need than to wonder about information you don't have.

  2. swiftaw macrumors 603


    Jan 31, 2005
    Omaha, NE, USA
    Those are predefined searches, they cannot be changed.

    However, suppose you want to find all the images used today, you can select the Today search, then type image into the search box, leaving you with just the images from today.
  3. FormerWindozer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 5, 2008
    How do I clear the Sidebar SEARCH FOR histories?


    This is EXACTLY what I DIDN'T want to happen.

    "swiftaw" DID NOT tell me how to clear the search history.

    NEITHER did "swiftaw" tell me whether the search histories can be cleared at all!

    I spent a considerable time preparing an inquiry that I thought was clear. I don't care one iota (in fact, I could not care less than I do now) whether the searches are predefined, predestined or preeminent. I want to know whether they can be CLEARED.

    Even if I were to reset the parameters to "Today", "Yesterday" or "Infinity and Beyond", putting it back will bring back the same files and documents.

    PLEASE: Is there one Mac user out there that can tell me WHETHER OR NOT the Search categories can be cleared of their histories? And if it is possible, HOW IS IT DONE?

    Sorry about the rant, but suggestions on other alternatives DON'T respond to what it took me a long, long time to type....and types so as to avoid someone giving non-responsive suggestions.
  4. swiftaw macrumors 603


    Jan 31, 2005
    Omaha, NE, USA
    Which part of "Those are predefined searches, they cannot be changed." wasn't clear?

    Just in case it was too vague, let me add:

    What you want cannot be done!!

    What I did was provide an alternative solution. Next time I'll keep my advice to myself and leave your threads alone.
  5. sharky05 macrumors regular

    Dec 9, 2007
    as a side note, thanks swiftaw for the search tip - it didn't occur to me you could just type "image" or "folder" to select the filetype you wanted to filter!
  6. FormerWindozer thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 5, 2008
    How to clear search history in sidebar?

  7. sharky05 macrumors regular

    Dec 9, 2007
    I'd calm down before the mods arrive. It's a common habit of people on macrumors to give extra ideas as an aside to answering peoples questions. Macs are, after all, largely used by creative people!
  8. zippyfly macrumors regular

    Mar 22, 2008

    Not necessarily rushing to the defense of swiftaw but I don't understand why a fellow Mac user's helpful comments get lambasted by FormerWindozer.

    Also, FW's question doesn't make sense.

    Why would it be possible to clear the listing of the pre-defined searches? If you wanted the TODAY list to be empty then you'd have to not edit anything "today" which is impossible.

    And even if you cleared the "history" of those searches, when you click on them again the SAME LIST will be re-generated...

    Are you asking whether or not FILES THAT WERE DELETED still are referenced in those searches? If that is the case then it's a different matter. I haven't done any experimentation to test that but my comment still stands that what FW asked DOES NOT MAKE SENSE.
  9. johto macrumors 6502


    Jan 15, 2008
    Yeah. Sorry original poster, but you just made my day. I laughed while drinking my (non caffeine) morning coffee.
    Your question doesnt make absolutely no sense!

    The whole point of those "purple" colored search items is, that they are DYNAMIC. Sheesh, if you have open / edited a file TODAY, then the search for "TODAY" files will show it in its results! Thats how its SUPPOSED TO WORK!


    You said: "Just to be clear, I want to be able to click on the Today, Yesterday, Past Week, All Images, All Movies, All Documents categories under "SEARCH FOR" heading and have absolutely no files show up."

    Just answer me this question: What purpose would those search then have if they did not show any results ? You must be definitely missing some VERY basic operational guidelines if you are confused about these dynamic searches.

    You can do normal "fresh" NON DYNAMIC / predefined search by with cmd+f when in finder.
  10. shwc macrumors regular

    Jul 2, 2005
    I think this might answer the op's question/problem.

    As I understand the problem, the thread starter does not wish a dynamic search directory of their days activity to be so easily viewable to prying eyes.

    Drag the offending predefined searches off of the sidebar. The predefined search will go "poof" in a puff of smoke and bother you no more.
  11. johto macrumors 6502


    Jan 15, 2008
    Or better yet, dont let others to use your own account. Make seperate accounts. This "poof" thingy was already suggested without help. I think there is something fundamental OP is not understanding :)
  12. ScottATL999 macrumors newbie

    Sep 18, 2008
    Why is everyone having a problem understanding the man's question? I too would like to erase the history which shows up under the sidebar's "today", "yesterday", etc without erasing the files/programs from my hard drive to keep prying eyes that also have access to my mac from seeing where Ive been. Surely there has to be a way to make this happen and none of your responses erase teh history as they pop right back up when you click on it once again! If mac will not allow it is there software that will?
  13. johto macrumors 6502


    Jan 15, 2008
    Oh please, if you are watching gay ass monkey midget porn, make your own private account. OS X is UNIX and its know to be a MULTIuser operative system. There is no reason multiple people should use one same users account! There are many nice features just for this fact in mind.
  14. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    Just uncheck these:


    It won't show it in Finder anymore, but it doesn't delete the history.
  15. Ferry24 macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2010
    How to clear the Sidebar SEARCH FOR histories

    There is an ease way to solve this problem.
    Open "Today" in sidebar - click Info
    Then open "Today" folder using the path (shown in info where):
    To view the contents of the, right click and click on "Show Package Contents" to see the content, then open the other folders.
    Now you can delete the files of the "Today" folder but before is useful to empty the Trash. After deleting you MUST PUT BACK these files from "Trash" to recovery the deleted files (open Trash, then click "Put Back) because the files are real deleted from original location.
  16. Air User macrumors newbie

    Oct 26, 2010
    I know this thread is quite old but maybe this will still be of some help.

    Deselecting the boxes for the items under SEARCH FOR in Finder Preferences (in System Preferences) as posted by alphaod will only clear those items that are deselected until the user reboots their Mac.

    There is an explanation on how to "clear the results" as the original inquirer, FormerWindozer, requested but there are caveats.

    It is true as mentioned that the content list (or files) that show up in the time-sensitive (clock face) "Today", "Yesterday", "Past Week" SEARCH FOR sidebar items because those files were opened up, viewed, etc at some point between the past week and the current day. BUT! Those files would ALSO still need to exist in the computer as well! So, if one of those files is deleted after being viewed within the time span(s) mentioned above then it will no longer show up under any of those time-sensitive clock face SEARCH FOR lists. Obviously each file still in the computer will eventually drop off the appropriate time-sensitive location as long as it is not reopened. There is a way to make certain files prematurely disappear from the time-sensitive lists without deleting them but I will explain that in a bit as the solution also applies to files in the purple "All Images", "All Movies" and "All Documents" folders too!

    Before I get to this explanation let me mention something about the files listed in those purple "ALL (etc)" folders.

    The content lists (of user files) in the purple folders are automatically generated by the Mac OS without user intervention. If a file is created within or brought into the Mac by a user, it will appear in the appropriate purple folder based upon its file type as recognized by the Mac OS. Close inspection will also reveal some non-user generated files in these folders that are support items for some applications (ie: some clipart pics for Word in the purple "All Images" folder). A Mac OS search function is always running in the background looking for items to bring to these lists. It is called Spotlight, you see it as the field with the magnifying glass in the upper right corner of a Finder window (and others). There is only one "user friendly" way (besides deleting) to make Spotlight blind to certain files which one may deem sensitive: gather them up and put them in an appropriately named "designated" folder. Open System Preferences, click on the Spotlight icon (magnifying glass), and click on the Privacy tab. The window that morphs up is where one drags and drops folders containing sensitive documents that will become blind to Spotlight (the folder isn't actually moved from its original location, this action is simply "symbolic" and defines what files shouldn't be indexed by Spotlight). Once done, any user file within will no longer show in any of the SEARCH FOR list items. Be careful though as this will not keep prying eyes from finding/looking in the "designated" folder (at its original location) that these documents are in. You can only secure them from prying eyes within that "designated" folder by password protecting your User profile and allowing other users as "Guests" access only to non-sensitive areas. Hope this helps!
  17. JakeFantastic macrumors newbie

    Dec 17, 2010
    Removing "Private" history from Dynamic Searches

    Allow me to jump in and help OP although I'm sure he's long gone. My reply might be helpful to others.

    OP did, as he stated, "spend considerable time preparing an inquiry" ... but he danced around the real issue. So let me state it directly (using some guesswork).

    OP bought a Mac.
    His wife and kid will all use the same Mac.
    Like many of us, OP has a stash of porn on his computer.
    He doesn't want his wife and kid happening upon the porn. He'd like to keep it as invisible as possible. It won't be the end of life if it's found. It's innocuous porn (nothing illegal). He just wants to spare himself embarrassment.
    His question is, "How do I keep my "private" files from appearing in the Dynamic Search results?"
    BTW, now you all might understand the poor man's frustration. His new Mac is depriving him of his favorite hobby and he's getting very "touchy" so to speak.

    All of the responses to OP were correct. They just don't help with his problem. Here's why the proposed "alternative" solutions don't help him:

    Deselecting the Dynamic Searches from the sidebar.
    This works for the moment.
    But if his wife hops on the computer she may turn the Dynamic Searches back on because she's searching for that recipe for Coconut Macaroons she was looking at last week.
    Suddenly she's blasted with her husband's art collection instead of the tasty cookies she had hoped for.

    Setting up accounts for all users in the house
    Again, great suggestion. But imagine this scenario (as I'm sure OP did):
    OP's wife is out of the house.
    OP gets busy at the computer making use of his porn stash.
    He gets done. Cleans up. Everything is copacetic.
    He sits back down at the computer and starts working on a spreadsheet.
    Wife comes home, "Honey, can you get the groceries out of the car."
    He leaves the house only to return to find his wife sitting at the computer on his account checking the weekend weather forecast on the internet.
    OP drops the groceries and starts screaming "Why are you on my account?!?! Why aren't you using your own account!?!?"
    Wife doesn't get it. She just wanted to check the weather. What's the big deal? What's he been up to?
    See. OP's problem is that he now has to be perpetually vigilant to make sure no one accesses the computer via his account.

    There were a few other "alternative" solutions that were complex and require a lot of work.
    OP keeps the stash of porn for relaxation and comfort ... he doesn't want a lot of work.​

    So here's a solution for OP:

    • Go to google and search: Altomac Hide Folders
    • Go to the Altomac site and download the freeware.
    • Once you've downloaded the program, bury it in some obscure place in your files (or in with all your Applications).
    • Now hide your Porn Folder.
    • And make sure you re-hide it after each use.

    Whenever the folder is hidden, any of the contents of the folder will not be visible in the sidebar when you do a Dynamic Search.
    Of course, if someone wants to find the hidden folders, it's possible.
    But OP can now rest easy that the contents won't be happened upon casually.

    Hope this helps. Enjoy! :)
  18. 2097, Dec 29, 2010
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2010

    2097 macrumors newbie

    Dec 24, 2010
    JakeFantastic; hilarious post:D PRICELESS!

    Hide Folders is useless. What it does it put a "dot" in front of the file to hide it. Common Unix/Linux hiding practice.

    Example: .name.avi

    What happens if the wife stubbles across the "Hide Folders" application. She will understand that the husband is hiding something and open it. See the porno in there.

    From reading the OP's post. It sounds like a "woman" so I really don't know where you guy's got the assumption that she was a "male". The OP's post is way too thorough for it to be a male. Son's don't push fathers to buy things; they push their "mothers".

    Now to my answer.

    Grab your personal files that you don't wan't anyone to see and put them in the main /Library or /System folder.

    Go deeper into the /Library folder. Example: /Library/ColorSync/Profiles/Displays

    Dynamic search doesn't search in the "system" folders.

    Another great thing is to make a password protected DMG file in Disk Utility and put the files in there.
  19. hextazy, Mar 29, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011

    hextazy macrumors newbie

    Aug 3, 2010
    ok, so what's the big deal if this guy watches porn? ...any kind of porn... don't make such a fuzz about it, that's so childish! I bet you all watch porn, you just don't want to admit it and make this poster look like a pervert. BTW I came across this post for exactly the same reason, I noticed that my Mac keeps track of every file I open... this can be useful at some cases, just like the History function on most browsers I just wish there was a way to "flush" history... ¿is this so hard to understand? I love porn, I just want to keep it to myself without the need of deep configurations and creating a whole alter ego/new user account ... Although I have to say that the posters behavior/response towards swiftaw was totally overreacted and not cool.

    BTW, I found "Hider" App (Developed by MacPaw) to do the job. It hides the folders with adult content from showing up. I can also choose to password protect the lock/unlock function. It avoids anyone from bumping into my stuff by accident... and that is exactly what I needed.

    I hope this helps as I am sure there are many other man and women who want to keep certain things private :cool:!

  20. rose1 macrumors newbie

    Sep 6, 2011
    This seems to work, but I've only done it on a limited basis, so test it out first:

    Drag the files in question from the "Today", "Yesterday", et al sidebar to the Trash. It disappears from the sidebar. Then, drag the item from the Trash back to its original home on the desktop (pr0n folder, whatever). The file doesn't seem to re-appear on the sidebar, and is safe from deletion.
  21. Gregg2 macrumors 603

    May 22, 2008
    Milwaukee, WI
    Hey, thanks for reviving this hilarious thread that originated in 2008. I needed a good laugh. :D

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