I had a client report the sudden loss of files after upgrading to Mavericks. It wasn’t difficult to duplicate the problem, on both her Mac and mine. I’m wondering if someone may have seen this before, before I file a bug report.

Here’s the process, which has been 100% repeatable in my tests.

Create a folder, either on the local hard drive or on a server. Call this folder “Will Vanish” or similar, because this folder and its contents will soon vanish.

In that new folder, place a few files you don’t care about. Also copy a Pages 4.3 file into that same folder, or create a new file from within Pages 4.3 (part of iWork ’09).

Close the Pages file, if it is open.

From the Finder, rename that Pages file so that it begins with a tilde (~) character.

Open the Pages file in Pages 4.3. Move the Pages window so that you can also see the Will Vanish folder and its contents.

Save the file (Command-S or File->Save).

The Will Vanish folder and its contents are now gone, and (at least by my testing) cannot be found.

I’m aware the tilde is a special character in Unix-like OS’s, representing the home folder. Most typical users aren’t aware of this, and it’s somewhat common to use that character as a filename prefix to force the file to the top of alphabetical lists in the Finder. That’s a common use case in this particular workgroup. Luckily only one user has yet upgraded to Mavericks, and she prefers the older iWork (which is preserved by the new iWork install within Mavericks).

I’ve made a screen recording of this:


I’m hoping that someone can confirm this experience, and/or comment on any workarounds.

1 Answer 1


While the tilde is reserved in Unix to shortcut the users directory, it's also used by Pages, Numbers, and Keynote (as well as the Office apps) to prefix temp cache/version files. They are invisible to the user via the Finder. I would try navigating to the folder with the command line and see if it shows up with an ls -larth. Best advice is don't use "~" as a prefix for iWork or Office documents.

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