Relocated Items Folder, MacOS Catalina

So, you updated to macOS Catalina, and you realize that there is a new folder shortcut, named “Relocated Items”, created by macOS on your desktop. And you are trying to figure out where this new folder came from and why it is there and what’s in it. This article explains what you can do If you see a Relocated Items folder on your Mac.

Catalina Relocated Items

Relocated Items

macOS may create this folder during an update process. Basically, macOS reviews all of your files to ensure that your files are undamaged and some of them may be placed in this new folder. macOS may relocate some of your files that could not be handled by the update and macOS moved these files to this folder. If you open this folder, you will see a PDF file explaining the content of the folder. It is located in the Shared folder.

See also: Can’t Accept Updated iCloud Terms & Conditions (macOS and iOS)?

Theoretically, this folder is supposed to include junk items that were found in the root folder. They aren’t loaded. What we recommend is that carefully review the content of the folder. Do you have anything there you may want? For example, some users have said that their relocated items folder includes their entire photo library. If this is the case, do not delete this folder. Keep this file.

See also: Mac: This Item Is Temporarily Unavailable. Please Try Again Later

Deleting Relocated Items Folder

After examining, if you think there are items you may need, you may delete this folder. It can be deleted without messing up macOS.

You can delete it by dragging the item to the Trash in the Dock then empty the Trash.

Please note when deleting this folder, you may have some problems. You may get error messages saying something like “….can’t be modified or deleted because it’s required by macOS” or “The operation can’t be completed because the item “…” is in use”.  If you are getting a message like this while trying to delete this folder, you will need to turn off System Integrity Protection on your Mac (and you should turn in on again after). Here is how you can delete this folder.

  • Turn off your Mac
  • Turn off your Mac and immediately hold down Command-R
  • This will reboot your Mac into Recovery Mode
  • Click Utilities
  • Click Terminal
  • And enter the following command and hit enter:
  • csrutil disable
  • Now restart your Mac normally (without pressing any keys)

Now you can delete this folder and then empty trash. After this what you want to do is to re-enable System Integrity Protection which you really should.

  • Follow the same steps and reboot into Recovery Mode
  • Open Utilities and Terminal
  • And enter the following command and hit enter
  • csrutil enable
  • Then restart your Mac normally again without pressing any keys.

See also: macOS Catalina Application Damaged, Can’t Be Used

Dr. Serhat Kurt worked as a Senior Technology Director. He holds a doctoral degree (or doctorate) from the University of Illinois at Urbana / Champaign and a master’s degree from Purdue University. Here is his LinkedIn profile.

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25 thoughts on “Relocated Items Folder, MacOS Catalina”

  1. I purchased a brand new Macbook Pro (ordered direct from Apple) it’s been running great and today I updated (when prompted) to Catalina 10.15.6 and all my desktop folders have been replaced with (2) new items. One folder that contains all my other folders (OK) and an item (not a folder) called “Relocated Items that when clicked on gives me the error message “The operation can’t be completed becasue the original item for “Relocated Items” can’t be found”. What the hell does that mean?

  2. Catalina messed up my music library. Files ended up in “relocated items”folder. If you’re using Kontakt5 and third party libraries ,you might face the same problem.
    Unable to move these files into their original location I reverted back to Mojave.

  3. I recently wanted to download a home movie from my old iPhone 5 to my MacBook pro. I couldn’t find a way to do that. Now all my movies on the iPhone are gone! In the relocated files folder that appeared there’s a message that says files were relocated to the security folder because the files are not compatible with the newer OS. Where is the security folder? I searched this hard drive and found a couple security folders, but nothing in them.

  4. pawCatalina is the worst operating system ever spawned by Apple. I started in 1984 and user friendly disappeared with Catalina. I can no longer render MP4 Videos using Photoshop. Adobe has spent hours trying. I thought it was Adobe but in other applications that did render before, the same result happens.

    And so many other problems. Cannot delete items on desktop. Cannot move them into files on the computer HD. Cannot get Apple support personnel who know the systems problems and solutions. Spend an hour and they fail and set up another meeting with next level higher expert.

  5. upgraded to Catalina yesterday. Threw me out of e mail. received the relocated items folder which has no items in it. Lost my e mail folders as well which had some important e mails in – now gone and can’t be found

    • Yeah, same problem here. Mail opens completely empty and gives me the pop up to add a new account.
      All accounts are missing, my archive is missing.
      I’m switching to outlook

      Apple, please get your shit together! Once a leader in user friendliness, now becoming more and more a drama for users…


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