Audacity file folder is full and I can't empty

I’ve used Audacity successfully for a good while, and this problem is new to me. Trying to open a DAB MP2 file on Audacity, I received messages that the file capacity was nearly full, then that it was full, and finally “Error Writing Autosave File.” I now can’t open anything on Audacity.

I always export all completed audio edits to my iTunes music and I don’t knowingly save anything on Audacity once my edits are done, so I’m surprised to see that-- if I’m not mistaken-- Audacity has apparently got clogged up with old files that are now preventing my opening a new one.

How do I clear the backlog? Where do I go to do that? I can’t seem to delete what I think are old audio files, and also, I don’t want to mistakenly delete anything that’s necessary for operation. Step-by-step guidance would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks for any help or advice anyone can give me.


If Mac was telling you the drive is full, that’s it. You have to free up space. The autosave error comes from Audacity.

Look at Audacity > Preferences: Directories to see how much space there is in the drive holding the Audacity temporary directory. If the problem is that you have been running Audacity without ever closing it, so continually adding to its temporary folder, File > Close. You will be asked to save changes or not.

Are there old edits you need to save that are on the screen, or ones you want to go back to using Edit > Undo? If not, say “No” to “Save Changes?” then the Audacity temporary folder will be cleared out.

If there are edits you want to go back to, look at View > History and see if you can discard some undo levels.

Have you tried emptying the Mac trash?

If you are not short of disk space, Go > Utilities > Disk Utility > and do Verify Disk and Repair Permissions.

Then reboot and try again.


While you’re in Disk Utility, pay attention to the sizes and capacities. A MacOS drive should never get over about 80% - 85% full. Messy things start happening. Koz

In my previous post I forgot to include the information requested. I use Mac OS X Lion 10.7.5, memory is 8GB, 1067 MHz, DDR3. I downloaded Audacity directly, not from a zip file.

Many thanks for your rapid response, Gale. I emptied the Mac trash, then verified and removed problems on my disk with Disk Utility and Repair Permissions.

I can’t seem to clear the Audacity temporary directory because File > Close gives me a greyed out Close. Can anyone suggest exactly how I can go about clearing the Audacity temporary directory?

There also seem to be a lot of music files lodged on my iMac; in fact, so many that this morning (I’m in London) I received the Mac warning that my startup disk is almost full. I can’t think why except for music files that I don’t need, or that are in the wrong place.

The only music files I need to save are those lodged in my iTunes Music library. Anything else are temporary dregs and I need to delete them. But I can’t identify them. Can I delete all DAB files (which I downloaded from the radio I presume) and all .aiff files, or would the iTunes Music library files that I need be included if I did that?

My regards, salutes, and gratitude for any help.


Press the yellow Stop button. If that doesn’t help, Audacity > Quit Audacity and decide if you want to Save changes or not when you are asked.

Did you look in Audacity’s Directories Preferences to see how much free space there is?

Have you ever saved Audacity projects (AUP)? The _data folder that goes with the AUP is very large. You can delete the AUP and _data folder if you are sure you exported a WAV or AIFF from that project. You must not delete AIFF files if you have AUP projects that depend on those files.

You must not delete saved music files like AIFF from iTunes unless you have already chosen “Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library” in the iTunes Preferences.