I have a bad habit of having zillions of open documents in TextEdit, containing brief notes that I've made. Most of these are unsaved, so they have titles like "Untitled 67".

Usually this isn't a problem, because if my Macbook crashes and reboots, TextEdit restores its state, and the unsaved files are not lost. However, just now I rebooted on purpose, and TextEdit gave me a dialogue asking if I wanted to quit with unsaved changes. I clicked "save and quit" (or words to that effect) and my machine rebooted.

Unfortunately, upon re-opening TextEdit, there are no longer any documents open. The "Recent documents" menu has only ten entries, but I had well over fifty open before I quit.

How can I get these "untitled" files back? Ideally I would like to restore the state of TextEdit, so that they will still be open windows (I close them once the issue has been dealt with), but if I can at least get back the one called "Untitled 8" it would be a big help. Since I did click "save and quit" I would hope it would be saved somewhere, but where?

The answers to Unsaved Files in OS X Lion suggest that the unsaved files can be found in ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.TextEdit/Data/Library/Autosave Information/. However, on my system that folder is empty. In any case, manually messing around in ~/Library doesn't seem like the right solution to this problem, and strikes me as a recipe for disaster. If I could find the autosave files I could copy them somewhere else, but then they wouldn't be unsaved files anymore, and it would all get a bit confusing. Given what most users would expect from "save and quit", I'm hoping there will be a more "official" way to get these documents back.

I'm using Mountain Lion if it makes any difference.

  • 1
    I tried typing "Untitled 8" into Spotlight, and was able to restore the file that way. However, it appears that this file is stored in iCloud. Since the reason I rebooted was that my WiFi had stopped working, I imagine it might not be the latest version. (I'm also intensely irritated that my private, unsaved documents are apparently being uploaded to an Apple server without me asking for it.)
    – N. Virgo
    Commented Mar 24, 2014 at 3:58

2 Answers 2


I searched in Spotlight as well, using the term “Untitled” and reopened all the Rich Text Format documents from iCloud. Yes, it was unnerving that these are all in the cloud but I am grateful that I was able to recover them all. And now I have the task of saving 120 untitled docs!

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    Recent Files has only ten entries by default but you can change it to 50 in System Preferences/General. This would not have gotten your documents back because it is not retro-active, but it might help you next time. Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 4:32
  • Textedit failed me today, complained about changes not in sync while I was working on the same device afaik. Anyway the search worked! In Dutch, the document is called "Naamloos". For other language names, just open a new Textedit and look at the title.
    – Mackaaij
    Commented Oct 23, 2019 at 19:20

I just had the same problem - crashed my Mac running Mojave 10.14.6, and re-opening TextEdit did not re-open the many files I had open at the time of the crash. The answer was to replace this file: ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.TextEdit/Data/Library/Saved Application State

Using Time Machine to replace that file with a version from before the crash, and then opening TextEdit, re-opened all my previously open files.

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