Where does Mac OS X store TextEdit's unsaved documents?

I want to programmatically:

  1. increase/decrease that size
  2. flush the cache
  3. provide configuration option to control the frequency of auto saving/caching
  • 1
    I'm pretty sure you won't be able to do #1: the mechanisms available for OS X and TextEdit to keep the unsaved documents don't depend on a static size; the storage space will grow or shrink as needed.
    – Cajunluke
    Commented Apr 18, 2012 at 6:07
  • what do you mean by static size ? i am keenly interested to locate the place where OSX keeps these unsaved files from the TextEdit.
    – Jay D
    Commented Apr 18, 2012 at 6:12
  • 2
    "Static" as in "unchanging". There's nothing saying "this file will be X megabytes" anywhere: it's allowed to float to be as big as it needs to be.
    – Cajunluke
    Commented Apr 18, 2012 at 14:09

2 Answers 2


For Lion: It is in ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.TextEdit/Data/Library/Autosave\ Information/, e.g. Unsaved TextEdit Document.rtf.

Note that ~/Library is not visible by default in Finder in Lion, but you can access it by pasting the path in Finder (without the backslash in "Autosave Information"; the formatting above is for cd-ing in Terminal.app), or there is an option to enable the visibility (chflags nohidden ~/Library)

For Snow Leopard (credit goes to @binarybob, his comment is below) it is in ~/Library/Autosave Information also named Unsaved TextEdit Document.rtf

  • 1
    Thanks for the response . I do'nt have a containers folder ? where else can i look ?
    – Jay D
    Commented Apr 18, 2012 at 6:50
  • 1
    Which OS X version are you using? Are you sure that you are looking in ~/Library and not /Library? Finally, try to create unsaved document in Text Edit, and see if the directory appears; it may not be there by default.
    – lupincho
    Commented Apr 18, 2012 at 6:54
  • 2
    @JayD Thanks, but the existing answer already provided correct information, all I did was augment it :) If lupincho wants to add my comment to the actual answer, I'm more than happy for that to happen.
    – binarybob
    Commented Apr 19, 2012 at 7:49
  • 2
    @binarybob: I added your comment to the answer.
    – lupincho
    Commented Apr 19, 2012 at 10:18
  • 2
    Be careful, TextEdit forgets to resume some documents. In Mavericks, I look in ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.TextEdit/Data/Library/Autosave Information, and what a surprise ! I find about 40 documents stored. In TextEdit I have only 13 documents. In resuming the sessions, week after week, TextEdit has lost many other documents — I have not closed them. The good news is that these documents did not get deleted. The bad news is that TextEdit forgot to restore many of these documents. Commented Jul 19, 2014 at 11:04

Note: For macOS Mavericks, the path is slightly different. It's ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.TextEdit/Data/Documents.

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