8/20/219:00 am Why Is Relocated Items On My Mac Desktop? After updating macOS you may find a folder on your Desktop named "Relocated Items." Learn what it is, why it is there, and whether you can delete it. Short answer: yes, delete it. Video Transcript: Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. Today let me explain why there maybe a Relocated Items folder on your Desktop after updating macOS. MacMost is brought to you thanks to a great group of more than 1000 supporters. Go to MacMost.com/patreon. There you can read more about the Patreon Campaign. Join us and get exclusive content and course discounts. So after a macOS update you may find this folder here on your Desktop. It's called Relocated Items. A very common question is what is it and can I delete it. The short answer is Yes, you can delete it. The first thing I want you to notice is that this isn't a folder on your Desktop. This is an alias. Notice the little arrow here at the bottom left hand corner of the folder telling you that the folder really isn't located there. It's somewhere else. If we were to Control Click on it and Show Original we would see that it's actually located in your Shared folder. So your User Shared Folder. So if you were to delete this alias the Relocated Items folder doesn't go anywhere. So if you're afraid of deleting something that you may need, you're not actually deleting it by getting it off your Desktop. So the quick and easy thing to do is just remove it. Put if into the Trash and forget about it. Chances are you probably never look in the Shared folder so having these things in there won't bother you. Let me tell you the files in there are tiny. They are not going to take up any space on your drive. What actually is inside here. Well, what you see may vary but most likely it looks just like what I've got. You've got a folder here and you have a pdf called What are relocated items. Let's take a look at that pdf. It explains what these are but it's using a lot of technical jargon. Basically what it says is these are configuration files. These are files that are part of your system that are different than what's being installed during the update. So the old copies being saved. Now why are they different? It says here these are modified or customized by you or another user. Now if you haven't modified any configuration files, and chances are you haven't, and there's nobody else using your Mac that would do that and it wasn't you. It also says by another app. Now if you've installed an app that has for some reason modified your system configuration file it's probably best to have the update replaced those. If the app you're using needs to change the configuration file again it should be smart enough to do so. But, more likely what this actually means is that a configuration file in your old version of macOS is different than in the new version that you installed. It wasn't you or an app that changed it. It's simply different now from the old version to the new version. But the system update, for some reason, isn't smart enough to know that. It just sees that it's different and it thinks, well maybe you changed it. I probably shouldn't delete this so I'm going to Save a copy of it just in case. So it's just the difference between an old configuration file and a new one included with the update. It isn't anything you did or an app you installed did. It's basically the macOS update being a little persnickety, and making sure there's a copy of this changed file. So what is this file? Well, let's look under Configuration here and you could see there's a folder called Private, a file called Etc., and then one called Group System Default. So this isn't something you would normally modify or an app would normally modify. There's just a slight difference between the old group system default and the new one. So the old one has been saved. But you don't need the old one. Notice that the file size is minuscule. In fact the pdf telling you about this is many times bigger than the actual file that's being saved. So the simple thing to do is just drag this to the Trash and forget about it. But if you really want you can go in the Finder to the computer level to the hard drive, Users, Shared and you could find that folder and maybe any previous ones that you haven't dealt with there and you can delete them. They really don't take up any space so you don't even need to worry about them. Apple has a support document about this online and it has a really long URL so it's just much easier to type Apple relocated items into Goggle. It's the first hit. Then you come to this simple explanation there. But there's really is no extra information here that isn't in the pdf. Hope you found this useful. Thanks for watching. Related Video Tutorials: No related posts. Comments: 7 Responses to “Why Is Relocated Items On My Mac Desktop?” lauren eisen 2 years ago thank you for this, i always have these files and never knew if i could delete them or not or what they even contained. very helpful and brief tutorial which is always appreciated! James F. George 2 years ago This was very helpful and added to my knowledge base. Thanks so much. Mick 2 years ago Thanks Gary. That's that mystery solved :-) Wouter Palm 2 years ago You should not only delete the file on the desktop but also the original file. Wich you can find with "show original file". Jasper 2 years ago I’ve often found that these files prevent Trash from emptying. I get an alert message about the path being too long. Sure enough, when I look in the folder there is a very long series of nested folders (a bin folder, I think). I assume that something I’m doing is creating this poor configuration. Any idea what this might be? Gary Rosenzweig 2 years ago Jasper: I've never gotten a message about the path being too long. What is the exact error message? jasper 2 years ago Thanks Gary—this last happened last about a month ago but I think that that the error message was something like "macOS can't empty the trash because the [Relocated Items] path is too long". When you drill down into the folder structure it seemed to go on for ever (duplicates of bin & private folders, maybe?). I could only empty the bin with rm -R in Terminal. This happened on about 3 successive updates but I updated a couple of days ago and my Shared Relocated Items deleted with no problem. Comments Closed.