If you’ve updated your Mac to the latest version of macOS 11.3, you might have noticed a strange “ Moved Items ” folder on your desktop. Don’t know what to do with it? Here’s what’s going on.
What is the moved items folder?
The Moved Items folder appears on the desktop when certain files are incompatible with a macOS update.
If you open the Moved Items folder on the desktop (OK, it’s not actually a folder, but I’ll get to that in a minute) you’ll find a document where Apple tries to explain what’s going on. However, this document seems to leave most people more confused!
For example, Apple explains that:
Configuration files with the “system_default” suffix were modified or customized, but the modifications were allowed to remain installed. The system_default version of the file is provided to show what the Apple-provided version of this file would look like. It is recommended that you compare the two and assess whether you want to incorporate any changes Apple may have made to the default version.
However, most people would find it difficult to meaningfully compare files in the first place, let alone evaluate them and decide what changes they want to keep!
What to do next
It’s worth diving into that Moved Items folder and checking for problematic files.
Judging from the online forums, it seems the only file most people have in this folder is the one called group.system_default. You may need to browse a few folders (called configuration> private> etc.) before you find this file.
It appears to be a harmless configuration file in which there is almost no difference between the previous file and the new one, which as Apple says remains installed on your system.
Many people have reported deleting the Moved Items folder from their desktops and not experiencing any adverse effects.
Of course, if you take a close look at this Moved Items folder on your desktop, you’ll notice that it has a black arrow in the lower left corner. This means that it is an alias – or a shortcut – to folders elsewhere on the system. So even if you delete the moved items on your desktop, just so the place doesn’t look messy, it doesn’t actually delete any folders on your Mac.
This is all a roundabout way of saying that you can delete that “Moved Items” folder on your desktop and you should not suffer from any ill effects.