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How to find the download link of a file on macOS

When you download a file, your browser saves the activity in its downloads manager. If you were to visit the download manager in a browser, you could probably find the download link of the file. If the file is no longer listed there, there’s one other trick you can use to find the download link of a file, one that won’t ever expire.

Download link of file

This works if you’ve still got the file on your drive. If you’ve uploaded the file to a cloud drive, and you decide to download it from there, this trick will not work. You must have the original file on your local drive.

Navigate to the file, and right-click it. From the context menu, select ‘Get Info’. The Get Info window reveals all sorts of information about the file, and not just the information that’s part of its metadata.

If you expand the ‘More Info’ option, you will see the direct link to where the file originated from. It will be listed in the ‘Where’ field. All files that were downloaded will have this information. This is why if you downloaded a file from a cloud drive, this trick won’t work. That file will instead link to the cloud drive it came from.

The ‘Where’ field will be absent for files that were created on your system. In the previous screenshot, you can see three different Get Info windows. Two are for files that originated from the internet while the third (last/right most) one is for a screenshot captured on the Mac.

This information can’t be removed. It’s not part of the file’s metadata so if you were to move the file to a different OS, it won’t be there. It’s also why uploading it elsewhere and then downloading it overwrites the information. It can’t really be preserved beyond the device you have it on.

As for the link, it’s going to be correct but that doesn’t mean the file will always be available there. You can select and copy it, and paste it into your browser. The result will likely be the file downloading again (or a newer version of it), but if the link is dead or the file has been removed and replaced with something else, there’s nothing that can be done about it.

You also cannot edit this information. The link is there to stay though, if you open the file, and create and save an exact copy of it in an app on your desktop, you will have the file without its download information.

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