How to Disable OS X Lion File Locking

In OS X Lion, Apple added new functionality to Time Machine that automatically locks down files after two weeks.

In OS X Lion, Apple added new functionality to Time Machine that automatically locks down files after two weeks. It was billed as a way to “prevent accidental changes in applications that support auto save,” but it has ended up being a nuisance. We’ll show you how to finally kick this “feature” to the curb and regain access to your locked files.

You’ve probably seen this dialog box in Lion. It lets you know that your file has been locked and that you cannot make any changes until you click “Unlock” or Duplicate your file.


To disable this automatic file locking feature, we’ll head to System Preferences > Time Machine. Once there, click on the Option button to bring up Time Machine options.


In the Options view, you can uncheck the “Lock documents after last edit” to completely disable the feature, or select a new locking time. You can select between 1 day, 1 week, 2 weeks, 1 month, or 1 year. When you’re done, click Save.

If you disable the feature completely, the documents that were automatically locked will be unlocked for edits.


Cory Bohon is a freelance technology writer, indie Mac and iOS developer, and amateur photographer. Follow this article's author, Cory Bohon on Twitter.