Yosemite is hid­ing files that I thought were deleted!

Mac Format - - APPLE TALK -

Q I was us­ing Spot­light in OS X Yosemite when I spot­ted a few files I knew I had deleted some time ago. I dis­cov­ered a whole new world of hid­den files con­tained in fold­ers called con­tain­ers. I also found that most, if not all, of my iMes­sage his­tory is con­tained within these fold­ers! What is this all about? Mark Darby A Con­tain­ers are used by OS X to re­strict an ap­pli­ca­tion’s ac­cess to the rest of your sys­tem. This is called sand­box­ing and the idea is that the more lim­its an app has, the less dam­age it can cause if a hacker dis­cov­ers a vul­ner­a­bil­ity in the code that al­lows them to take con­trol of the app. Sand­boxed apps get their own spe­cial folder, called a con­tainer, in your user li­brary. So each user has their own con­tainer for each sand­boxed app.

These fold­ers are for tem­po­rary files, in­dexes, caches and so on. If an app stores data that isn’t ex­plic­itly saved by the user as a doc­u­ment via the Save As dialog, then that data is also stored in the con­tainer. That’s why Mes­sages puts the chat his­tory there. Some files will have the same name as doc­u­ments you have cre­ated (and thus show up in Spot­light) but they are meant to be in­vis­i­ble back­ups, caches or other sup­port files.

Some­times you can delete this data through the app in­ter­face – Mes­sages has the Delete Con­ver­sa­tion op­tion, for ex­am­ple. You can also ex­plic­itly delete them through Fin­der if you want, but you shouldn’t nor­mally need to.

Many apps qui­etly save data in the back­ground, but you can delete it if you want to.

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