Wednesday, July 1, 2020 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Big Sur’s Hidden Containers Folder

Rico Becker:

Apple has restricted access to ~/Library/Containers/ in Finder on macOS Big Sur.

It’s only showing one folder in my case. In Terminal I can see that everything is still there.

This was quite a shock when I first saw it, because it looked like all my data was gone. As far as I can tell, there’s no setting (except maybe disabling SIP) to turn off this feature. This is going to be really annoying because I browse the Containers folder in Finder every day. I don’t understand what Apple is trying to do here, because:


Update (2020-07-03): If you open the Library folder (not Containers itself) in List view and turn off groups, you can open the disclosure triangle and view the container folders. Some show their actual folder names, and others show the name of the app. The Finder’s “fake” view persists when System Integrity Protection is turned off, and it also gets in the way of the Command-Option-G “Go to Folder” keyboard command in file open panels.

Update (2020-07-27): Rico Becker:

You know what is really great about macOS 11 beta 3? We’ve got our containers back! \o/

Update (2020-07-29): Jeff Johnson:

Containers are back in b3 but still have weird display names, with sometimes hilarious results.


It’s still possible to see the content of the Containers folder in Finder by using the ‘as List’ view, with grouping set to ‘None’. Once you see the content of the Containers folder, you’ll see that the app identifiers of some folder are replaced by the app name.

Strange. I can browse the Containers folder just fine in the Finder. The only observable difference is folder names are “translated” to the corresponding app name (when the app is known) instead of displaying an ugly bundle identifiers. As far as I can tell, everything is there (and it’s a bit crowded); I even have three “Mail” folders.

There's something new on BS called ContainerManager. My theory is that this was added to support iOS apps on macOS. In Finder and in open dialogs, you see the Containers folder called "On My Mac", which is suspiciously like "On my iPhone" in Files app. In fact, I think this change was made specifically for open dialogs rather than Finder, because iOS apps wouldn't be dealing with Finder at all, but probably Finder and open dialogs share a lot of UI code. Thus, Finder looking weird is just a casualty of open dialogs getting rewritten for iOS apps on macOS.

Needless to say, this is all abomination.

>Once you see the content of the Containers folder, you’ll see that the app identifiers of some folder are replaced by the app name.

Maybe this is buggy mapping logic?

The big question for me is: Can disk sizing utilities still see inside the Containers folder? I'd like to keep scanning every now and then to make sure sandboxed apps aren't taking up space unexpectedly.

@remmah Yes, as far as I can tell it’s only a display issue in Finder.

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