Saving only data (not Audio files)

Ubuntu 18.04.6 LTS
Audacity 3.0.4
Used a tar.xz to install

I remember I used to get the choice-prompt whenever saving new sessions between saving only the “data map” (not sure what the wording was) or saving the entire audio data with it. The former was “not recommended” and the later was “recommended.”

It seems like all of the .aup3 files I had been saving are automatically doing the latter, which is hell on my disk space. Super frustrating. I always just made 1000% sure to not move source audio files around, and went with the smaller project file size option. But I’m not even seeing the option any more, and don’t see anything in settings related to this.

Does anyone know how to (1) start doing that instead, and (2) how to convert these .aup3 files to the smaller “not recommended” file size? Essentially, all .aup3 files seem to be automatically saving the entire thing, which is not practical for my purposes.

I used to use Pro Tools all the time, and know this as the term “printing to disk” – not sure what the Audacity jargon is, but I hope I described it well enough. :question:

Wow, that was a very long time ago.
If I recall correctly, external audio files were called “dependencies”.

There was still a “_data” folder, though if the audio had only had “edits” and no “processing” it would be very much smaller because it could use small “alias files” that pointed to the audio data rather than containing the audio data.

That was all abandoned many years ago, for a number of reasons. The main reason was due to the number of people that lost all their work by moving / renaming / deleting dependencies without realizing that they were in use by a project. Another was that in most cases the space saving was only short lived - as soon as you apply any process to the track (such as amplifying it, or filtering it), all the space saving is gone. Also the fact that disk space is immensely cheaper than it used to be, and very much faster drives are (cheaply) available.

I doubt that old feature will be coming back, so if you really need it, I think the only solution is to go back to a very old version of Audacity.

I think the last version to have this feature was Audacity 2.3.2.

Thanks Steve. I just checked and saw that it was 2.2.1 I had used. I actually have been using a fork called “Saucedacity” (, which is currently based on V. 3.0.4, because of the telemetry thing. I like to be as FOSS as possible.

In that light, should I be free of the telemetry or whatever other tracking stuff Audacity started allowing if I simply never update my V. 2.2.1? And other than having less modern features, is there any drawback to that (especially security-wise)?

Thanks again :slight_smile:

I didn’t realize I was using 2.2.1 before, then essentially using 3.0.4. Didn’t even know about .aup3 until then, and it was even later that I realized the files were “printing to disc.”

Wish people would take more responsibility, since it was partly foolish file management that (obviously!) led to people messing their own projects up. Now, overall functionality is reduced to keep the back of the class happy… I definitely would push the Audacity team to bring that back, for users like me.

But enough of my opinion about it. You must be a senior user here, and if you can affirm that my old version is free of the privacy red flags, I can just keep using that!

Audacity versions up to and including Audacity 3.0.2 have no networking capability at all.

Optional automatic updates and optional error reporting were added to Audacity 3.0.3.
These features do require some information to be passed from your computer to the server, as does downloading an app from GitHub, or from anywhere else. This is why Audacity, and GitHub, and just about every other site on the Internet are required by Law to publish a privacy statement. By downloading from Sauceacity, you were agreeing to this one:

That’s good news. Thank you for your help!

Also building from the source code with default options or installing Audacity from the package manager will have no networking features as well.