What Are Relocated Items on macOS Catalina & Can I Delete Them?

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If you have updated to MacOS 10.15 Catalina or later from an older version of Mac OS, you may find a new folder on your desktop called “Relocated Items”. The Moved Items folder can be confusing and look scary, especially if you don’t expect to see it. But don’t worry – the folder is a completely normal part of the MacOS upgrade process. Read on to learn what the Relocated Items folder on the Mac desktop or in the Shared or User folder is and what you can do with it.

What is the “Moved Items” folder in macOS?

While it’s not completely clear (Apple doesn’t make it great to make it clear), the Moved Items folder is basically a home for anything that the macOS system software update process didn’t like. During the system update process, your Mac checks files and data to make sure everything is in the correct location, is not corrupted in any way, and that it is valid and authorized. Any file that does not pass these checks will be placed in the Relocated Items folder.

It’s also worth remembering that the folder you can see on your desktop is actually not a folder at all. Rather, it is a shortcut (or alias) to a folder in “/ Users / Shared / Relocated Items”.

So you can safely delete the Relocated Items folder from the Mac desktop as the original files are actually stored in / Users / Shared / Relocated Items /

Here’s what Apple has to say about the Relocated Items folder.

“When you upgrade your Mac to macOS Catalina, all your files and data are carefully checked to make sure they are valid and authorized, undamaged, and in the correct locations. Some of your files could not be moved to their new location and have been placed in a Moved Items folder. You can find the Moved Items folder in the Shared folder in the Users folder. “

Can I delete everything in “Moved Items” in MacOS?

That is a lot up for you, and it would be wise to manually examine the files in the Relocated Items directory to make sure you don’t need or don’t want them.

When you open the shortcut – or the original folder – you will see some files and a PDF document. That PDF is automatically generated during the macOS Catalina upgrade process and contains information about each file.

Make sure to check that none of the files are important to you before deleting them.

You will likely see files and data related to apps that are not compatible with macOS 10.15 Catalina or later. Unfortunately, you need the developers of those apps to release updates for them and if the apps are old that may be unlikely.

Our suggestion would be to simply remove the shortcut from your desktop and leave the Moved Items folder. Especially if it doesn’t work up too much space. But if you really want to get rid of it, that’s easy enough to do. Simply go to “/ Users / Shared” and drag the Relocated Items folder to the trash.

Help, macOS won’t let me delete everything in “Moved Items”

Sometimes you may not be able to move this folder – or its contents – to the trash. Error messages suggesting that the folder “cannot be changed or deleted” can be bypassed, but it will take some work. We need to disable System Integrity Protection (SIP), restart and delete the folder, then re-enable SIP.

  1. Restart your Mac and hold down Command + R keys to enter recovery mode.
  2. Click on “Go” in the toolbar and then click on “Utilities”.
  3. Click on “Terminal”.
  4. With Terminal open, type “csrutil disable” without the quotes and hit RETURN.Type csrutil disable in Terminal
  5. Restart your Mac and delete the folder. You shouldn’t have any problems this time.

Now you need to re-enable SIP so that the Mac is protected as intended.

  1. Restart your Mac and hold down Command + R keys to enter recovery mode.
  2. Click on “Go” in the toolbar and then click on “Utilities”.
  3. Click on “Terminal”.
  4. With Terminal open, type “csrutil enable” without the quotes and hit RETURN.Type csrutil enable in Terminal
  5. Restart your Mac and you’re done!

If SIP was already turned off, you probably didn’t have to, but generally only the most advanced Mac users without SIP turned on.

You can also easily check whether SIP is enabled or not.

Did you know that while in Terminal you can do a lot of fun things? You can run your own web server and even adjust the screen brightness of your Mac. It can also be very useful for scripts and the like.

Anyway, hopefully you now have a better understanding of the “Relocated Items” folder in MacOS. Let us know in the comments if you have any questions, experiences, or thoughts about Relocated Items directory on Mac!

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