"Audacity is already running"

So I downloaded Audacity a few weeks ago on my Mac with Yosemite installed, and it was working fine. Yesterday, I started getting an error message that 'Audacity is already running". I have tried un-installing and re-installing the program, searching temp files for a possible lock, closing out everything, restarting the computer.

I’m at my wit’s end. What is weird is that it was working beautifully and then suddenly it wasn’t. I didn’t install anything new or change anything.

Any clues? Please. I hate GarageBand so very much.

Audacity 2.0.6 does not officially support Yosemite, but probably that is not the reason for the problem. There are several posts in the Mac board about this. The general consensus is that your Mac’s temp folder may be too full and that you should try rebooting, which will clear out the temp folder.

If you still can’t make Audacity launch after rebooting, open /Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app. Type:

echo $TMPDIR

press ENTER on your keyboard and tell us what that says. That will show us what the temporary directory on your machine is.

Then show us what is in that directory:

ls -la $TMPDIR

If there is a folder in that directory called audacity-, try deleting that audacity- folder. However that folder should not survive a reboot.

If that folder is there after reboot, you may want to open /Applications/Utilities/Disk Utility and try verifying the disk and repairing permissions.


I think I followed your instructions correctly;

This is what I got:

-bash: /var/folders/1g/d5txl3_12pb7rjjrxqphwzch0000gn/T/: is a directory
Diannas-Air:~ $

Ooh, I think I managed to clean out the offending folder! It’s working again!

Thanks very much for your help.

echo $TMPDIR

should produce just the folder name as here:

If you reboot, does it cure the “already running” problem?

If not, open the terminal again, then type:

ls -la $TMPDIR

What output does that produce? It should list the folder contents.

If you still see the folder audacity- there, try

rm -r /var/folders/1g/d5txl3_12pb7rjjrxqphwzch0000gn/T/audacity-<yourusername>

which deletes the audacity- folder.

So if your username is “Dianna”:

rm -r /var/folders/1g/d5txl3_12pb7rjjrxqphwzch0000gn/T/audacity-dianna

You can also (if you feel safer) delete that “audacity-dianna” folder using Finder.


OK, I just posted more instructions for you before I saw your reply.

Do you mean you cleaned out the content of /var/folders/1g/d5txl3_12pb7rjjrxqphwzch0000gn/T/ ? Did you reboot? Because reboot should clean out that folder to almost nothing.

And the audacity- folder (specifically the “lock” file in that folder) should be all you need to delete to be sure you don’t get “already running”.

At the moment we are just guessing that if the temp folder is too full, Audacity can’t delete old lock files from audacity- as it should do.


First, I deleted the audacity folder, then I did a reboot (I had already rebooted a few times, but I figured I’d better be thorough).

When I opened audacity again, I didn’t get the error message and I was able to use the program.

Do you mean you deleted the audacity- folder in /var/folders/1g/d5txl3_12pb7rjjrxqphwzch0000gn/T/ , or that you deleted ~/Library/Application Support/audacity/ ?

Or that you deleted the Audacity installation folder and reinstalled it?

As I explained, we’re really not sure exactly what is going wrong on some machines, so we’re dependent on users telling us how exactly how they work around it.