Removing “Where From” File Properties on Mac

This post is a bit random, but the other day I learned how to update the uneditable file properties on a Mac and wanted to share here so I would remember for later. (This is truly the main reason I blog, haha!) I noticed that when I downloaded a file from GoogleDocs and saved it as a .pdf, the “where from” section in File Properties gave this long, ugly URL:

In order to see this, you would right-click on any file and click “Get Info”

You can edit most of the file properties on a Mac simply by right-clicking the file, going to “Get Info” and then scrolling down to the Name & Extension or Sharing & Permissions sections. You can also open the file in a .pdf viewer (I love PDF Expert) and then going to File > Properties. Even in that interface, however, I didn’t have the option to change or remove the “Where From” section:

file property editing options available in PDF Expert

This obviously isn’t the end of the world, but not exactly ideal either when sharing professional documents with colleagues or institutions. I used trusty ol’ Google to find this article on viewing and removing extended file attributes, which said that I could make this change through my terminal. Perfect! I opened terminal and added the following command:

xattr -d 

Next, I dragged & dropped my file into terminal to add in the file’s specific location on my mac:

drag and drop the file you want to edit into terminal

Once doing so, it completed the following string in terminal:

xattr -d /Users/laurenhanks/Desktop/This\ is\ a\ test.pdf 

I then clicked “enter” and that’s it. Now when I click “Get Info” on my file, this is what I see:

Pretty cool, right?


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