How to Clear Downloads on Mac

Alicia Santos

Mac, Tutorials

Are you running out of storage space on your Mac? One easy way to free up some space is by clearing your downloads folder.

Over time, this folder can become cluttered with files you no longer need, taking up valuable disk space. In this tutorial, we will guide you through the process of clearing downloads on your Mac.

Step 1: Open the Downloads Folder

To begin, locate and open the Downloads folder on your Mac. You can do this by clicking on the Finder icon in your dock and selecting “Downloads” from the sidebar.

Step 2: Sort Files by Date

Now that you have the Downloads folder open, it’s time to sort the files by date. This will help you identify and remove the oldest files first, as they are likely to be the ones you no longer need.

  • Click on the “Date Modified” column header at the top of the Downloads window to sort the files in ascending order.
  • Click again to sort them in descending order (newest files first).

Step 3: Review and Delete Files

Take some time to review each file in your Downloads folder. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Delete duplicate files: If you notice multiple copies of the same file, keep one and delete the rest to save space.
  • Delete unnecessary installers: If you have already installed an application or software update, you can safely delete its installer file from your Downloads folder.
  • Delete large files: Files that take up a significant amount of space but are no longer needed should be deleted to free up storage.

Step 4: Empty Trash

After you have identified and deleted the files you no longer need, don’t forget to empty your Trash. This step is essential to permanently remove the files from your disk and reclaim the storage space they were occupying.

  • Right-click on the Trash icon in your dock.
  • Select “Empty Trash” from the context menu that appears.

Step 5: Automate Downloads Folder Cleanup (Optional)

If you find yourself constantly forgetting to clear your Downloads folder, you can set up an automation to do it for you regularly. Follow these steps:

  • Open the Automator app on your Mac.
  • Create a new document by selecting “Application” as the document type.
  • In the Actions Library, search for and drag “Get Specified Finder Items” into the workflow area.
  • Add your Downloads folder by clicking on the “+” button and selecting it from the list.
  • In the Actions Library, search for and drag “Move Finder Items to Trash” into the workflow area below “Get Specified Finder Items.

  • Note: You can customize this automation further based on your preferences.
  • Select File > Save in Automator’s menu bar.
  • Name your workflow and choose a location to save it. We recommend saving it in your Applications folder for easy access.

Now, whenever you want to clear your Downloads folder, simply double-click on the workflow you created in Automator. It will automatically move all the files from your Downloads folder to the Trash.


Clearing your Downloads folder is an effective way to reclaim storage space on your Mac. By following the steps outlined in this tutorial, you can easily identify and delete unnecessary files, ultimately improving your Mac’s performance and freeing up disk space.

Remember, regular maintenance is key to keeping your Mac running smoothly. So, make it a habit to clear your Downloads folder periodically or set up an automation to do it for you!

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