How to extract OS X download history via Terminal

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Have you ever wanted to go back and check your Mac’s entire download history in one fell swoop? With this handy Terminal command your download history is only a few steps away.

One of our readers tipped this to me via Twitter. It’s essentially an SQL command that you run via Terminal. It goes into the database and extracts the full contents of your download history logs as found in the LSQuarantineEvent. It doesn’t matter where, or how you downloaded these files, in most cases the download should be logged.

One exception that I’ve noted is with Mac App Store apps. Items downloaded from the Mac App Store are not logged here. Take a look at our video inside for a glance into how it works…

Step 1: Open Terminal

Step 2: Copy and paste the following command into your Terminal window:

sqlite3 ~/Library/Preferences/* 'select LSQuarantineDataURLString from LSQuarantineEvent'

Step 3: Press Return on your keyboard and a full list of all of the files logged within LSQuarantineEvent will be printed to the Terminal screen. You can then copy and paste the entire Terminal window, or individual file locations.

In my particular case, my download history was pretty shallow because I just reinstalled OS X. How far back does your download history go?