What are Relocated Items on macOS Catalina and what to do with them?

macOS Catalina has recently been released, which brought about many questions among Apple users. One of the frequently asked questions is, what is the Relocated Items folder on macOS Catalina? Indeed, it is difficult not to spot the folder that appears on your desktop after you upgrade to the latest macOS version. 

Today, we will explain to you more about the Relocated Items folder on macOS Catalina.

What is inside the Relocated Items folder?

When you take a look at your Mac’s desktop after the upgrade to Catalina, you expect to see everything at its usual place. But, when the Relocated Items folder appears, the questions start arising. The first thing that interests users is what files are inside the folder. As the folder's name suggests, the items inside are relocated, so the next question is where they are transferred from and why?

Well, before breaking down these questions, we want to assure you that it is absolutely okay to have this folder on your desktop. Many users also stumbled upon the Relocated Items folder after the upgrade to macOS Catalina. 

Except for files and data of the apps that macOS Catalina no longer supports, the Relocated Items folder also contains a PDF document with more details about each of the files. So, you can read more about every item in the folder. 

Why is the Relocated Items folder created?

macOS Catalina brings specific changes to the whole operating system. One of the alternations is that the OS doesn’t support 32-bit apps. There are no more Kernel extensions, and the OS will now be using the new Apple File System (APFS). 

As you may understand, some apps, like 32-bit apps, may be unavailable due to new macOS requirements. So, to prevent these apps and the associated files from cluttering up your Mac’s storage, we recommend you to use CleanMyMac X’s Uninstaller module. This cleaning tool is notarized by Apple, which adds up to its good reputation among users. In Uninstaller, you can quickly identify 32-bit apps and delete them.

Not only does Catalina set some restrictions on third-party apps, but you may also discover that it stopped supporting some of your files. The thing is, macOS 10.15 Catalina is installed on the read-only system volume. While Mac stores all your files and data on a startup volume, the upgrade transfers the data from this volume to the new one - Macintosh - HD Data volume. During the update, Catalina gathers the files and data that, for some reason, can’t be transferred to their new location and organizes them into the Relocated Items folder. That’s how this folder showed up on your desktop.

Is it safe to delete the Relocated Items folder?

If you don’t like this mysterious folder cluttering your desktop, you can safely delete it. The size of the folder is usually relatively small. The PDF file may be the biggest document inside the Relocated Items folder. Catalina generates this file during the upgrade. As it has never been on your Mac before, it doesn’t contain any essential data that you can’t delete.

The folder can also contain the Lost & Found folder inside. The latter may contain files you didn’t save previously and copies of the documents stored somewhere else on your Mac. 

We have already mentioned that Catalina can’t support some of the applications. And the files inside the Relocated Items folder can belong to not supported apps and programs. These are configuration and directory files, security settings documents, and other data that you may not encounter on your Mac before. As you no longer can use the incompatible apps, you don’t need the associated files stored in the Relocated Items folder. But, your Mac thinks differently. That’s why its security system may warn you against deleting the folder.  

It’s worth noting that the Relocated Items is just a shortcut that you can easily remove from your desktop. The corresponding folder will still be available in /Users/Shared/Relocated Items even if you delete the shortcut. 

How to delete the Relocated Items folder?

As we already mentioned, you can safely delete the Relocated Items folder on macOS Catalina, but it can be not that easy. Sometimes you can simply move it to Trash. But, depending on the folder’s contents, you may not be able to empty the Trash once you transfer the Relocated Items there. The only thing that will help you clear your desktop of the Relocated Items is disabling the System Integrity Protection (SIP). Follow the steps to remove the folder once and forever:

  1. Click on the Apple logo located in the upper left corner of your screen. Here, choose Restart.
  2. During the reboot, hold down Command and R keys to go to Recovery Mode.
  3. From the Go menu, choose Utilities.
  4. Launch Terminal.
  5. Enter the following command and press Return: csrutil disable. It will disable the SIP.
  6. Reboot your Mac once again to normal mode.
  7. Delete the Relocated Items folder and empty the Trash.

After the job is done, you’ll need to enable SIP to turn on the protection on your Mac. 

  1. Restart your Mac.
  2. Go to Recovery Mode, pressing Command and R keys during reboot.
  3. From the Go menu, select Utilities. 
  4. Select Terminal.
  5. Enter this command in Terminal: csrutil enable. Press Return. 
  6. Restart your Mac to normal mode, and SIP will be enabled.

That’s all you need to remove the Relocated Items folder from your desktop. 

The Catalina update has brought some considerable changes to our Macs. Providing you with new possibilities, Apple also set some new restrictions that the users accepted differently. One of the first questions that bothered macOS Catalina users is what is the Relocated Items folder on their desktops. 

It is now clear that the folder contains different files and data that lost their previous location during the upgrade to the latest OS. You can easily delete the folder by disabling SIP in the Recovery Mode. Don’t forget to enable SIP afterward.

You may also find that your Mac’s performance has slowed down after the upgrade to Catalina. That’s another case when CleanMyMac X can prove useful. It can help you clean your Mac of junk files, which in turn will optimize Mac’s overall performance.

  1. Download CleanMyMac X for free here
  2. Launch it and open the System Junk tab
  3. Hit Scan, and then Clean

And enjoy your Mac performing at its top speed again!

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