I've got a simple text file that I keep in Dropbox for holding important notes. I've name it so it shows up at the top of the directory, so that it is quickly accessible from anywhere - on my Mac, tablet, phone, etc.

The problem is, when I edit it on my Mac, TextEdit appears to be saving previous versions using some weird file naming scheme. For instance, my file is called 000-Inbox.txt, and I see lots of files with names like 000-Inbox.txt.sb-abc123cb-XaedKL. Currently I am counting twenty-two (22) (!) of these "backup" files. This really messes up my directory listing; now all the other files which are supposed to be easily accessible at the top of the listing are pushed down out of site on my mobile devices. My directly looks unsightly as well. I don't want or need these files: Dropbox saves previous versions anyway, now it presumably is saving previous versions of previous versions which is just silly.

I've tried deleting these files, but it is rather a chore to have to delete a file every time I save a file. Is there some way to disable this previous version saving?

Another issue it presents is if I change the file on another device, I have to close the file and reopen it, because reverting to the previous version is going to the previous version TextEdit has saved, not the latest version on disk.

  • Here’s the Full Explanation
    – njboot
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 19:32
  • @Buscar웃 I was just posting a seemingly related answer as a comment. I can’t speak for @bmike♦, though I see his point and trust his judgement. That said, I see nothing wrong with your answer as it stands as a solution to the OP’s problem - I think the real issue is in the wording of the original question. Cheers.
    – njboot
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 20:03
  • @njboot we all make mistakes (even bmike), but for me it counts when the OP confirms the solution. Question to you, how did you mange to put 2 "@someone", it does not let me do that.
    – Ruskes
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 20:36
  • @Buscar웃 You’re correct, AFAIK. You can’t @ two people in one comment. I messed up the formatting originally, so I manually went back and just inserted @ character simply to indicate the other person - I don’t believe he was notified. At any rate, I +1 your answer since it’s the one the OP was looking for. As stated before, the Q isn’t quite clear (I interpreted the way you did), and thus lends itself to multiple interpretations - which both may be valid in their own right. Cheers.
    – njboot
    Commented Apr 30, 2015 at 5:48

1 Answer 1


TextEdit and other app have a auto save feature enabled.

You can disable that in System Preferences:

Open the General preferences and enable the "Ask to keep changes", so it wont auto save, but ask you if you want to save it. This one would be system wide.

To do it only for TextEdit:

To disable autosave in TextEdit.app, run the following command in Terminal:

defaults write com.apple.TextEdit ApplePersistence -bool no

To turn it back on replace the no with yes.

  • This doesn't address dropbox versioning. Are you saying that OS X is somehow contaminating the dropbox store with other documents stored elsewhere on OS X volumes? All apple versioning is at /.DocumentRevisions-V100 and no where near a folder that Dropbox syncs. Could you elaborate on this please?
    – bmike
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 18:29
  • @bmike, seemingly my answer did solve the OP question. "An answer posted by buscar웃 solved my problem, but it was downvoted and deleted, so I was unable to upvote or delete... I am not really sure what I am supposed to do in such a situation, so for now I am reposting his/her answer:"
    – Ruskes
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 19:58
  • Thanks, that worked... I have deleted the old files and after a few saves they don't seem to be coming back.
    – Michael
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 20:04
  • glad it worked for you FYI we have few zealous ppl here fast on the trigger, but with little contribution.
    – Ruskes
    Commented Apr 29, 2015 at 20:33
  • 1
    @bmike I just noticed you edited the title at some point, that may be where the confusion was occurring... my question wasn't about Dropbox, it was about textedit; the problem just seemed to be exacerbated by the fact that the file was in a Dropbox directory.
    – Michael
    Commented May 6, 2015 at 18:49

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