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This post concerns the folder located at the following file path:

/.DocumentRevisions-V100

I right-clicked this folder in Finder.app and selected Get Info. After several minutes of waiting, the "Size" field still stated, "Calculating size."

So, I ran the following command in Terminal.app to get this folder's file size:

sudo du -sh /.DocumentRevisions-V100

This informed me that this folder takes up 70 GB on my rMBP.

After searching online, I learned that this folder is said to contain automatic back-up versions of files. However, I do not know how this works, exactly. My understanding is that once a window is closed or an application is Quit, then one can no longer click Undo to revert to previously saved states.

So, my first question is, how does one actually access these file back-ups? For example, when I pull up an old .rtf file in TextEdit.app, I see no option to "Revert to a previously saved version of this document."

In my view, 70 GB is a significant amount of space. I would like to clear up this space on my Macintosh HD. I recognize that one should delete system files with caution. Is it okay to delete this "DocumentRevisions-V100" folder?

What exactly will happen if this folder is gone? I do not see its purpose or value.


OS X El Capitan, version 10.11.6.


2 Answers 2

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Just because one cannot see something's purpose or value doesn't mean there isn't one!

If you delete the /.DocumentRevisions-V100 directory it will break the Document Revisions feature in OS X until you reboot. At which point the /.DocumentRevisions-V100 directory is recreated.

Somewhere along the way the Document Revisions feature changed, i.e. it's not the same in OS X 10.11 as it is in OS X 10.8, e.g. in OS X 10.8 in TextEdit I can click the down arrow to the right of the filename in the title bar of the document and select Browse All Versions..., and it opens the Time Machine interface when I can view the various versions of the document that are stored within the /.DocumentRevisions-V100 directory. This is not the case in OS X 10.11. I'm not sure when this feature changed to have less importance then it used to have in e.g. OS X 10.8.

In OS X 10.11, if you delete the /.DocumentRevisions-V100 directory, without rebooting, and create a new document in TextEdit and save it, then reopen and edit it, then click the close button... you'll get the a dialog box, "Do you want to save the changes made to the document You can revert to undo the changes since you last opened the document." and if you click the Revert Changes button, it errors out with "The operation couldn’t be completed. No such file or directory" until you reboot.

Note: This assumes you have Ask to keep changes when closing documents checked in General under System Preferences.


If you want to clean up what's in the /.DocumentRevisions-V100 directory, then close all applications except for Terminal, and use the following command:

sudo rm -rf /.DocumentRevisions-V100

Then reboot.

NOTE: Make sure you have a proper Time Machine Backup and be very careful using the above command, make sure it is properly formed and there is no space between / and .DocumentRevisions-V100! You have been warned!

It would actually be more safe to do it in two steps, e.g.:

cd /
sudo rm -rf .DocumentRevisions-V100
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  • 1
    Tangential question: Do you recommend using sudo rm -r instead of sudo rm -rf, as it seems to be a bit "safer"? Jan 22, 2018 at 20:00
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    @ubik's sphere, In this particular use case I'd use -rf because I want it to be removed, by force if necessary. The more important aspect is to not bungle the command line and why I posted a more safe way to delete it, by first cd / and then sudo rm -rf .DocumentRevisions-V100 Jan 22, 2018 at 20:10
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    What about deleting /Volumes/<something>/.DocumentRevisions-V100?
    – Michael
    Feb 24, 2020 at 20:44
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    Thanks for the elaborate answer. If I have a second internal drive - not my boot drive - that has its own .DocumentRevisions-V100 (and something called .DocumentRevisions-V100-bad - which I did not create myself) -- what is stored there? Is this safe to remove? I have no important documents on that drive! Nov 30, 2020 at 8:48
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.DocumentRevisions-V100 is like Time Machine without an external backup drive.

If you use Time Machine and regularly make a backup of your system, you can go back to previous versions of files. That's because Time Machine only stores files that have changed since the last backup and it won't remove the old versions of those file. Time Machine never deletes anything in the backup, until it runs out of backup space and then it will start by deleting the older revisions of files to make room for new backups.

If you don't use Time Machine, you've been missing out on this useful feature. That's why Apple started making local backups of documents, so you can go back to previous versions even without using Time Machine and also when your Time Machine drive is not connected. The previous versions are stored in .DocumentRevisions-V100.

Note that Time Machine and Revisions are complementary features. Time Machine is for making backups in case your disk dies or your device is lost or you accidentally deleted a file. Revisions don't help you in those cases. On the other hand, even if your Time Machine drive is connected 24/7, it won't make a backup more often than once an hour, whereas new revisions are constantly created while you edit a file.

If you delete the revision folder, all past revisions are lost unless you have some of them still in Time Machine backups. The revision folder is recreated when you reboot. At least on your boot drive. I once deleted it on an external drive and it was not recreated on boot. But then I just recreated it manually (giving it same ownership and access rights as the one on my boot drive):

cd /Volumes/SomeVolume
mkdir .DocumentRevisions-V100
sudo chown root:wheel .DocumentRevisions-V100
sudo chmod a-rw,a+x .DocumentRevisions-V100

After I did that, the system started using it again, even without a reboot. After a sleep/wake-up, this folder already contained some sub-folders and files.

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