Removing any Cached/Temp Audio Files??

Where does Audacity store any temporary/cached files on my computer?

I am running macOS Sierra and have Audacity v2.2.2

The reason I ask is because I have been having issues with my bank and I (legally) recorded the phone call. Unfortunately, during the call they asked for my Social Security Number and so that got recorded and I don’t want some rogue file containing that info lingering on my hardd-rive where someone (e.g. tech repair) might stumble across it!!


Mac Audio

Lok in Edit > Preferences and go to the Directories tab - that will show you the pathing for temp files


Go to Audacity Preferences, then Directories.

On Mac, the default location for these files is ~/Library/Application Support/audacity/Session Data. That directory is cleared when you Quit Audacity.

– Bill

When recording into a project that has already been saved, the temporary file are written into the saved project’s “_data” folder.

For projects that have not been saved, the temporary files are written into Audacity’s temp folder. The location of that folder can be found by looking in the “Directories” section of Preferences. See:

So if I save my project as “Private_phone_call.aup”, then the temporary files stored in “Directories” disappear?

What I want to do is edit out me saying my SSN, DOB, etc., then save the project, create an mp3 of the call (minus my PII), and then delete the project.

Would that be a reasonable approach to protecting myself?

Of course, I guess even if they get deleted by Audacity, those “temp” files were at some point written to my hard-drive, so a technical person could search my hard-drive, find those “deleted” files, and still be able to get my SSN, right?

I suppose by virtual of recording me saying my SSN I sorta broke my rule of never putting anything like my SSN on my computer?! :frowning:

those “temp” files were at some point written to my hard-drive, so a technical person could search my hard-drive, find those “deleted” files, and still be able to get my SSN, right?

Probably not.

This isn’t like Windows. Macs are based on Unix/Linux. You can still run the Linux terminal if you want.

Last login: Wed Oct  3 17:25:14 on console
johnny:~ koz$ ls -al
total 128
drwxr-xr-x@  21 koz   staff    714 Oct  3 15:47 .
drwxr-xr-x    6 root  admin    204 Dec  6  2017 ..
-rw-------    1 koz   staff      3 Sep 17  2014 .CFUserTextEncoding
-rw-r--r--@   1 koz   staff  43012 Oct  5 02:13 .DS_Store
drwx------    2 koz   staff     68 Oct  5 03:37 .Trash
-rw-------    1 koz   staff   7258 Sep  3 06:03 .bash_history
drwx------    3 koz   staff    102 Apr 27  2014 .cups
drwxr-xr-x    3 koz   staff    102 Nov 18  2016 .emacs.d
drwx------    8 koz   staff    272 Nov 18  2016 .ssh

Linux doesn’t “reserve” previously used drivespace. It starts stepping on it right away. When they say are you sure you want to delete something, they mean it.

On one occasion we accidentally deleted some valuable client work and all the resources of the Systems Department couldn’t bring back more than damaged fragments and debris—and we knew exactly what we were looking for.


Would that be a reasonable approach to protecting myself?

I keep really sticky stuff on thumb drives (air gap firewall). Remember, valuable stuff in two different locations.

In addition, I print to PDF files with encryption when I need to leave them in common operating locations.

Screen Shot 2018-10-05 at 20.45.59.png
There’s other obsessive things you can do. Never run your backup or Time Machine drives while the network is connected (you iCloud people may be out of luck on this one).


I guess what is done is done. Just figured out how to record my VoIP calls to Zoiper on two tracks, and I didn’t want to stop recording today when I finally got someone on the phone, so I sorta took my chances.

Probably the best thing I can do is running full-disk encryption and having a “hardened” Mac, which I definitely do.

Back in the old days you could just yank the hard-drive, put in a new one, and you were set. But now that things are soldered into your Mac, that makes the whole data security issue a much bigger problem.

I’ll have to research this more and see how hard it would be to recoverd deleted files.

In the mean time, hopefully macOS and Audacity are built well enough that they don’t leave data littered all over my hard-drive like Windows and so many application do…

Recovering Audacity data after it has been deleted is quite difficult, simply because it is in 6 second chunks that are randomly named. We’ve seen quite a few people on this forum that are desperate to recover projects that they have deleted. I don’t recall any of them getting better than a few fragments back.

Before disposing of a spinning disk hard drive, you can use “dban” to securely delete the entire disk (

The easiest way to securely delete a SSD is with a hammer, though if you know the make / model of the drive, most manufacturers provide tools to securely wipe the drive. Check the manufacturer’s website for details.

If you’re doing this manually, there are two versions of Empty Trash.

Screen Shot 2018-10-06 at 4.54.23.png

“Secure Empty Trash” only works with spinning disk drives, and has apparently been removed from recent versions of macOS (