How to clear your downloads folder

Updated: 07/06/2021 by Computer Hope
Downloading from Internet to computer

When you download a file from the Internet, it is saved in your operating system's downloads folder. Additionally, there is a record of it in your Internet browser. When a file is in the downloads folder, it can take up unnecessary storage space. Also, as it shows the files you've downloaded, it could be a security or privacy risk. To clear your downloads folder or download history, click a link in the list below and follow the instructions.

Windows logo

Windows Vista, 7, 8, and 10

To clear the files in the Downloads folder in Windows, follow the steps below.

  1. Press the Windows key on your keyboard, type Downloads, and press Enter.
  2. In the window that opens, highlight all the downloaded files using your mouse or press Ctrl+A. If you do not want to delete all files only select the downloaded file you want to delete.
  1. Press Delete to send the files to the Recycle Bin.
  2. To permanently delete the files, right-click the Recycle Bin icon on your desktop and select Empty Recycle Bin in the drop-down menu that appears.
Tip

If there isn't a Recycle Bin icon on your desktop, you can restore it. For help with getting the Recycle Bin back, see: Missing Windows desktop Recycle Bin icon.

Finder icon in macOS.

macOS and Safari

To clear the files in the Downloads folder on your Mac computer, follow the steps below.

Note

As it's built in to macOS, these steps are the same for those using the Safari browser.

  1. Select Finder from the Dock at the bottom of your desktop.

Finder icon in the Dock.

  1. In the window that opens, select Downloads from the list on the left side of the screen.

Choose downloads

  1. Right-click each entry and select Move to Trash in the drop-down menu.

Move to Trash selector.

Tip

You may also clear download history entries by highlighting them and pressing Delete.

Chrome logo

Google Chrome

To clear the files in the Downloads folder for Google Chrome, follow these steps.

  1. Open the Google Chrome browser.
  2. Click the Customize and control Google Chrome Chrome browser settings button in the upper-right corner of the screen.
  3. Select Downloads from the drop-down menu that appears.
  4. In the new window that opens, click Google Chrome remove x next to each entry you want to remove.
  5. To clear all entries, click the More actions Google Chrome more actions icon icon in the upper-right corner of the screen and select Clear all.

Clear all selector in Chrome.

Tip

In Chrome, press Ctrl+J (Windows) or Command+Shift+J (macOS) to view a list of your downloaded files.

Tip

If you're using Microsoft Windows, you can also see our Windows steps for deleting downloads using Windows.

Firefox logo

Mozilla Firefox

To clear the files in the Downloads folder for Firefox, follow these steps.

  1. Open the Mozilla Firefox browser.
  2. Click the Library Firefox Library icon icon near the upper-right corner of the screen.
  3. Select Downloads in the menu that appears.

Downloads selector in Fire fox.

  1. At the bottom of the expanded menu, click Show All Downloads.

Show All Downloads button in Firefox.

  1. You may delete each file individually using the Delete key. To remove them all at once, right-click in the downloads section and select Clear Downloads in the drop-down menu.

Clearing downloads folder in Firefox.

Tip

In Firefox, press Ctrl+J (Windows) or Command+J (macOS) to view a list of your downloaded files.

Tip

If you're using Microsoft Windows, you can also see our Windows steps for deleting downloads using Windows.

Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge

To clear the files in the Downloads folder for Microsoft Edge, follow these steps.

  1. Open the Microsoft Edge browser.
  2. Click the Settings and more icon Microsoft Edge More menu in the upper-right corner of the browser window.
  3. In the drop-down menu, select Downloads.
  4. You can remove files individually by clicking the X icon in Edge icon, or delete all files by clicking Clear all.

Clearing downloads folder in Edge.

Tip

In Edge, press Ctrl+J to view a list of your downloads.

Tip

If you're using Microsoft Windows, you can also see our Windows steps for deleting downloads using Windows.

Microsoft Edge Legacy logo

Microsoft Edge Legacy

To clear the files in the Downloads folder for Microsoft Edge Legacy, follow these steps.

  1. Open the Microsoft Edge browser.
  2. In the upper-right corner, select the Hub Edge hub button button.
  3. Click the icon that looks like a down arrow.
  4. You can delete each file individually by clicking Microsoft Edge remove x next to the file entry, or click Clear all to delete all files.
Tip

In Edge Legacy, press Ctrl+J to view a list of your downloads.

Tip

If you're using Microsoft Windows, you can also see our Windows steps for deleting downloads using Windows.

Internet Explorer logo

Microsoft Internet Explorer

To clear the files in the Downloads folder for Internet Explorer, follow these steps.

  1. Open the Internet Explorer browser.
  2. Click the Gear IE tools icon icon in the upper-right side of the window.
  3. Click View downloads in the drop-down menu that appears.
  4. You may delete each file individually by clicking the X next to the file entry, or click Clear list to delete all files.

Clearing downloads in Internet Explorer.

Tip

In Internet Explorer, press Ctrl+J to open your Downloads folder.

Tip

If you're using Microsoft Windows, you can also see our Windows steps for deleting downloads using Windows.

Opera browser logo

Opera

To clear the files in the Downloads folder for Opera, follow these steps.

  1. Open the Opera browser.
  2. Click Menu button in Opera. in the upper-left corner of the window.
  3. In the drop-down menu that appears, select Downloads.
  4. In the tab that opens, you may delete each entry individually by clicking the Opera kebab icon icon on the right side and selecting Remove in the menu. To delete all files, click the Clear downloads button button in the upper-right corner.
Tip

In Opera, press Ctrl+J (Windows) or Command+J (macOS) to view a list of your downloaded files.

Tip

If you're using Microsoft Windows, you can also see our Windows steps for deleting downloads using Windows.