Find out where a file was downloaded from

Oct 12, 2010 - 12 Comments

find out where download came from

You can quickly find out where any file was downloaded from by using the Mac Finder’s Get Info command.

  • Select the file in question within the Finder
  • Now go to Get Info on the file (File -> Get Info or Command+i)
  • From the Get Info window, click on ‘More Info’ to see where you downloaded the file under “Where from:”

You may notice two URL’s listed as the ‘where from’ source, this is because the file was linked by one URL and downloaded from another. In the example screenshot, the file was linked to from a rcrdlbl.com URL (a music site) but the file itself was stored on Amazon’s S3 service, so both links are listed.

This is a really handy trick if you can’t recall where you downloaded certain files from, it’s made even better by the fact that you can select the URL’s from the window and visit them again.

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X

12 Comments

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  1. Chan says:

    ha! rcrdlbl is a great site, handy tip too

  2. Jim Wickman says:

    I tried to follow this tip. Got nowhere — ‘More info’ didn’t say a thing about where the file was downloaded from.

    Disappointing — wish you’d check your tips better.

    • MacManish says:

      I would suggest looking at a few other file types, particularly commonly downloaded package types.

      I just double-checked Paul’s tip and it works on files I have recently downloaded in the following formats:

      avi, mov, rar, tar, gz, zip, dmg, mp3, m4a, m4r

      This may be a 10.6 Snow Leopard only tip however, and it does not appear to work on app or sql files.

      – Manish

  3. Aj says:

    Does not work. I’m running 10.6 and have tried this on a variety of downloaded files with no luck. Is the OP using some kind of plugin or hidden setting?

    • Paul says:

      Definitely no plugin, be sure to check under “More info”

      I just verified it again with a JPG that I dragged out of Safari to the desktop. Perhaps it is only Safari that encodes the info?

  4. Aj says:

    OK I just tested downloading with Safari, Chrome and Firefox. Both Safari and Chrome add the “Where from” field, but Firefox doesn’t. So this tip only works if you’re not using Firefox.

  5. zombie says:

    not sure why others are having problems, everything in my downloads folder shows the source like this

  6. SPM says:

    Commandline equivalent:

    > mdls filename

  7. wanchai says:

    is there a solution that works with firefox? or any other way of finding out where a file was downloaded from. i have a lovely low res jpeg which i saved late one night a couple of months ago and want to find the artist. name is blurred, file name searched in no good as the filename is too generic.

    Any help suggestions appreciated

  8. Justin says:

    @wanchai:

    Maybe try Tineye.com to trace the image.

    If you’re comfortable digging into javascript source files, it’s possible to modify Firefox’s Download Statusbar extension to add the WhereFrom data: http://hmmaha.wordpress.com/2009/01/09/add-where-from-to-firefox-downloads-mac-os-x/

  9. […] you didn’t download a file through Safari you can often find out where a file was downloaded from within the Mac OS X Finder as […]

  10. […] you know you downloaded a file but you can’t quite pinpoint where you got it from and the “Get Info” trick didn’t work. Or maybe you are trying to track down a file that has been placed on a system […]

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