Mystery of the SystemData Folders

I was searching for something on Spotlight and I found 427 folders on my HD called SystemData. Most of them are empty. The paths look like this:

Macintosh HD/Users/myname/Library/Containers//name of an app/data/SystemData

But they’re not all for apps. For example, one is at:


Most of them were created on or near July 22, 2021. Some were created on different dates in October.

Does anyone have an idea of where these files came from and if they are safe to delete? As empty folders, I know they’re not hurting anything, but they’re showing up in a search when I use Spotlight and select Search in Finder.

I have hundreds of these, also. From the context – i.e., look at the parent and sibling folders that appear alongside “SystemData” folders, I assume these folders are created by some process that follows a template. Probably something Xcode or related processes do when they create a package for distributing an application. You’ll find patterns like this across most OS’s. I wouldn’t bother doing anything with the folders on the theory that they do no harm and avoidable issues might occur if the OS cannot find a folder it expects to find.

You could exclude the folder from spotlight.

Thanks. But dragging 427 folders into the privacy window will just add confusion to the drives and folders there are already listed there.

You could exclude /Users/name/Library/Containers, or even /Users/name/Library.
Since it’s a system folder, I assume it isn’t often you’d need to find anything in the ~/Library folder, and I think the contents don’t show up in Spotlight for me at all (without explicitly excluding it).
I think it’s odd the contents are shown in your searches.

First, Spotlight wasn’t working at all. When I searched for “used cars,” expecting to find articles I’ve written with that term in the title, all it showed was a font. So I rebooted and it seemed to be working, but one of my searches pulled up those folders.

If it happens again, I’ll just exclude the library folder.

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maybe in addition to reboot it is time to rebuild the spotlight index from scratch ?