How to Clear the History Within the Ubuntu Dash

Use the Security & Privacy tool to tweak Dash settings

What to Know

  • Go to Settings for Ubuntu Launcher and select Security & Privacy > Clear usage data. Choose a timeframe for the history to clear.
  • Turn off history: Go to Security & Privacy > Files & Applications. Toggle Record file and application usage to Off.
  • Note: The Ubuntu Dash was deprecated in 2016. Modern releases, including the current Long Term Support version, don't use Unity.

The Dash in the Ubuntu Unity desktop shows your recently used applications and files. We show you how to clear the history and restrict the types of information displayed on the Dash.

How to Clear the Recent Usage From the Ubuntu Dash

  1. Click the settings icon on the Ubuntu Launcher. Select Security & Privacy.

  2. To clear the recent usage from the Dash, click the Clear usage data button on the Files & Applications tab.

    Ubuntu Dash Files & Applications screen with Clear Usage Data highlighted
  3. The list of potential options includes:

    • In the past hour
    • In the past day
    • In the past week
    • Between two dates
    • From all time

    Choose one of the options and click OK. A message appear asking whether you are sure. Choose OK to clear the history or Cancel to leave it as it is.

    Clear Usage Data options in Ubuntu Dash

Change the Recent History Settings

If you don't want to see any recent history, follow these steps. move the slider next to Record file and application usage option to the Off position.

  1. Click the settings icon on the Ubuntu Launcher. Select Security & Privacy > Files & Applications.

    Ubuntu Security & Privacy settings with Files & Applications highlighted
  2. Move the slider next to Record file and application usage option to the Off position.

    Changing the recent history settings in Ubuntu Dash
  3. Optionally, uncheck the categories you don’t want to see. You can choose to show or not show any of the following categories:

    • Chat logs
    • Documents
    • Music
    • Pictures
    • Presentations
    • Spreadsheets
    • Videos

How to Exclude Certain Applications From the Recent History

Follow these steps to exclude certain applications from the history.

  1. Select + at the bottom of the Files & Applications tab.

    The Ubuntu Dash Files & Applications screen with the plus sign highlighted
  2. Two options appear:

    • Add Folder
    • Add Application

    When you click the Add Application option, a list of applications displays. To exclude any of them from recent history, choose an application and choose OK.

    List of applications in Ubuntu Dash with OK highlighted

Remove applications from the exclusion list by clicking the item in the list on the Files & Applications tab and pressing the minus sign (-). 

How to Exclude Certain Folders From the Recent History

Follow these steps to exclude certain folders from recent history.

  1. Select + at the bottom of the Files & Applications tab, then choose Add Folder.

    Ubuntu Dash folder list with OK highlighted
  2. Select a folder and press the OK button to hide that folder and its contents from the Dash.

  3. Remove the folders from the exclusion list by selecting the item in the list on the Files & Applications tab and choosing the minus icon. 

How to Toggle the Online Results

Your online search history is hidden from the Dash by default. To turn on the online results, follow these steps.

  1. Choose the ​Search tab within the Security & Privacy screen.

  2. Move the slider into the ON position to turn on online results in the dash or move it to OFF to hide online results.

    Toggle to turn online search results on and off

How to Stop Ubuntu from Sending Data to Canonical

By default, Ubuntu sends certain types of information back to Canonical. You can read more about this practice in the Privacy Policy.

Two types of information are sent to Canonical:

  • Error reports
  • Usage data

The error reports are useful for the Ubuntu developers to help them fix bugs. The usage data is potentially used for working out how to tweak memory usage, work on new features, and provide better hardware support.

Follow these steps to turn off one or both of these settings.

  1. Select the Diagnostics tab in Security & Privacy.

  2. Uncheck the boxes next to the information you do not want to be sent to Canonical.

    The Diagnostics tab in Diagnostics tab in Ubuntu Security & Privacy
  3. You can also see error reports that you have sent previously by clicking the Show Previous Reports link on the Diagnostics tab.

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