Disable per-session history file in OS X El Capitan

Published on February 5, 2016 in How-tos — 1 min read

With the release of OS X El Capitan Apple has made a subtle change in how the bash history file works.

History is a handy feature to recall commands you gave in the past, especially if used together with grep.

I’ve been noticing this new (weird) way right after the installation of the latest major release. But I’ve never cared that much about until today, when I stumbled across the solution while playing with bash.


As stated in this StackOverflow answer, bash runs a check every time a new session in started. Disabling the per-session history is as easy as:

touch .bash_sessions_disable

You may need to restart your sessions to apply the setting.

Fix 2.0

Now we may go a bit further and be sure history is written to ~/.bash_history.

Open your .bash_profile with nano

nano ~/.bash_profile

and add the line below at the very end of the file

export HISTFILE="$HOME/.bash_history"

Of course you can change the path to the one you like the most. Just be sure you have write permission there. That’s all!

Thanks for reading.


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