"Relocated items.nosync"?

On my new M1 MacBook Air, the latest update to Big Sur, excepting today’s 11.3.1, presented me with a desktop file labelled ‘Relocated items.nosync’. it seems to be filled with old files and some non-Apple music from CDs. I have no clue what to do with this file, and the accompanying notes leave me none the wiser. Can anyone explain what this is, its relationship to the rest of Big Sur, and what calamity awaits me if I delete it?

Couldn’t find anything with ‘Relocated items.nosync’

Not sure if this will help:

If you see a Relocated Items folder on your Mac after upgrading macOS:

Thanks, but no, it doesn’t help; not me anyway. In my opinion it was written by a computer nerd who assumed far more knowledge about Macs and operating systems than some of us non-computing users have. However, since it appears to be quiescent, I have it sequestered in a corner of the screen until the Apple store opens after the Covid lock-down, and I can pester a ‘Genius’. Thanks again; appreciate your effort.

Whenever Apple installs a system update, if it discovers system configuration files that were manually changed (e.g. because you changed something or because an installed app changed something), Apple won’t just clobber the changes. Instead, it will create a “Relocated Items” folder in the /Users/Shared directory and the user who ran the installer will get an alias to it on the desktop.

There is a PDF document in this folder that should explain its purpose.

Alongside the PDF, there is a directory tree that mirrors the directory tree of system files, containing the changes. Typically (at least for me), there is one file for each one I’ve changed, containing what the installer would have installed had I not changed the original.

In my case, these are configuration files for the Apache web server, which I am running on my Catalina system. I modified these files on my system, so Apple doesn’t clobber them but instead writes the new defaults to Relocated Items.

More rarely, there may be a configuration file where the installer did clobber your changes. In which case, your original file is stored in Relocated Items.

All the files in Relocated Items have filename extensions indicating if they are default files or backups of your files. Unfortunately, I don’t currently have such a folder on my system, so I can’t present more details.

As for what to do about them, you can typically just ignore them and the system will work fine.

For myself, I typically compare their files against mine, merging in any changes that I think I need to incorporate (usually there aren’t any). Then, if I did make any changes, I reboot to ensure that the changes take effect. Then I delete the contents of Relocated Items, since I no longer need them, having merged the contents with the working system configuration files.


Thanks. That’s an explanation my software-uneducated mind can understand. I can now deal with this. Success!

Thanks again

Ah, so that’s what that stuff is . . . thanks, David.

No PDF doc in my case, though.