Looking for Temporary Files in Mac to Recover Lost Project


While working on Audacity, the program started to become unresponsive and I had to force quit out of the program. I did not save the project I was working on (a music mash-up for a friend) for Audacity would not let me save it for some reason and gave me the “not writable/disk full” error message. When I tried to recover the project with the auto-recovery, all of my audio was silenced audio. I tried looking up a way to recover my mash-up but the Audacity wiki page was not very descriptive and just left me with a very vague idea of what I should do and the only other helpful thing that I found only talks partway about what I should do before it cuts off and I am left clueless again. So far I have an understanding that I have to find a temporary file and somehow that would help me recover my mash-up? (Please correct me if I am wrong! I don’t much about this stuff!)

Even though the Audacity I am running right now is obsolete (Audacity 1.3.14-beta), I am afraid of updating to the current Audacity in the case I would never regain my lost project. I use a MacBook Pro and it uses Mac OS X 10.6,with 2.63GHz Intel Core 2 Duo.

I do not know where to find this temp file and what to do once it is found, please help! Thanks for taking your time in reading this!

P.S. Is my fear of updating to the current Audacity absurd or will it actually give me a harder time with my problem?

You can get “The Sky Is Falling” message if you try to use punctuation marks inside a filename. You put enough slash marks inside a filename and OS-X will go ripping off looking for a disk drive that doesn’t exist. Most people get this when they try to put dates in a filename. Today is 2014-09-03, not 9/03/14. That also has the advantage of sorting without the system “knowing” what a date is.

OS-X has a Linux operating system at its base. Your system drive’s name in Linux is /.

Here’s as much as I know about recovery.


Audacity doesn’t do recovery particularly well and it’s much worse in the older versions. One of the other elves may tell you to change versions. I’m going to sit in the corner and watch.


If that happens again and you can wait to see if Audacity responds, you may be able to use File > Export… to save a WAV file.

What page is that exactly?

Audacity has already found the AUTOSAVE (temporary project file) otherwise it would not offer you the Automatic Crash Recovery dialogue. If the audio is silenced this most probably means the audio data is not where the AUTOSAVE file says it is.

How long is the longest track and what is the project rate (bottom left of Audacity)?

Before you do anything else, force quit Audacity from the Dock or using Activity Monitor. You must not close Audacity normally because either not saving changes or saving the project with silenced audio will mean the correct audio will be lost forever.

I suggest you attach the AUTOSAVE file so we can see it. Open Finder then use Go > Go to Folder and type:

~/Library/Application Support/audacity/AutoSave

The AUTOSAVE file is in there. Please see here for how to attach files: https://forum.audacityteam.org/t/how-to-attach-files-to-forum-posts/24026/1 .

The current version of Audacity will always have the latest bug fixes, so it’s best to use the latest version unless you have a very specific reason to do otherwise. The current 2.0.5 version of Audacity uses the same project format so will open projects and recovered projects in the same way as 1.3.14 (but with fewer bugs).



This is the wiki page I have gone to for advice but it loses me.


Then this is the topic I have tried to use but it only goes so far.

The longest track I had in my project is about four minutes with a project rate of 44100, at least, that is what it says.

Thank you both for helping me!
New Project - 2014-09-19 10-27-29 N-1.autosave (57.3 KB)

As previously explained, unless you force quit Audacity or Audacity is actually still open with the project you were trying to recover, the correct audio data is gone now.

If the recovered project is still open, the data was supposed to be in the temporary folder “/var/folders/5o/5o-kSieZEpi9ChzvE2WAlE+++TI/-Tmp-/audacity-test/project135332801”. Did you clean your temporary folders before recovering the project? If so the data is gone and that is why the recovered audio is silence.

Otherwise, I see no obvious reason from the autosave file why the audio is silenced. You appear to have imported files into the project and Audacity copied in the audio data of those files. The methods on Audacity Wiki will not help you recover your project in that case. Those methods only work for an unedited recording where the timestamp of the little AU files follows the time order of the blue waves on the Timeline.

If you have left the recovered project open all this time, or if you force quit and you can make Audacity attempt recovery again, open Help > Show Log… , drag down from the top to the bottom in the log window then paste the content here.


I have tried to reopen Audacity to recover the project again, but it now won’t recover the project. I know I forced quit Audacity from the last time I have used it, so I am not sure what happened.

I also have not cleaned out any temporary files before trying to recover the project.

Sorry, but we can’t see your computer.

Do you still have “New Project - 2014-09-19 10-27-29 N-1.autosave” at Users/<your user name/Library/Application Support/audacity/AutoSave? If so, Audacity will try to recover that project from the folder “/var/folders/5o/5o-kSieZEpi9ChzvE2WAlE+++TI/-Tmp-/audacity-test/project135332801”. Is your user name actually “test” or is that another user?

Please tell us exactly what happens when you launch Audacity with that AUTOSAVE file and “project135332801” folder present, and please open Help > Show Log… , drag down from the top to the bottom in the log window then paste the content here.