QuickTime Player Crashing When Attempting to Save Recording

I recorded the audio for a talk on a subject of interest to me using QuickTime Player version 10.4 (833.7) on my MacBook Pro laptop running OS X 10.10.5 (Yosemite). At the end of the talk, I stopped the recording and clicked on File and then Save to save the audio recording to the system's hard disk drive. When I did so, QuickTime crashed. I sent the report to Apple. Looking at the details for the report, I saw the cause listed as follows:

Exception Type:        EXC_CRASH (SIGABRT)
Exception Codes:       0x0000000000000000, 0x0000000000000000

Application Specific Information:
*** Terminating app due to uncaught exception 'NSInvalidArgumentException', reason: 'Cannot set outputURL to NULL'
terminating with uncaught exception of type NSException
abort() called

The recording time was shown as 43 minutes and 10 seconds.

Untitled 43:10

I thought there was far more space available on the hard drive than would be needed to save the file, but I checked the available disk space by clicking on the "Macintosh HD" icon on the desktop and hitting command-I. I saw that 471 GB of the 500 GB capacity was available and df -h showed only 6% of the drive was in use, so available storage space didn't seem to be the cause of the problem.

$ df -h
Filesystem      Size   Used  Avail Capacity iused     ifree %iused  Mounted on
/dev/disk0s2   465Gi   26Gi  439Gi     6% 6876175 115052054    6%   /
devfs          184Ki  184Ki    0Bi   100%     638         0  100%   /dev
map -hosts       0Bi    0Bi    0Bi   100%       0         0  100%   /net
map auto_home    0Bi    0Bi    0Bi   100%       0         0  100%   /home
map -fstab       0Bi    0Bi    0Bi   100%       0         0  100%   /Network/Servers

Since, when I reopened QuickTime it would show the recording as "Untitlted" with a duration of 43:10, I thought there must be a temporary file on the system where it had been storing the audio as I recorded it. I looked in the $TMPDIR/com.apple.QuickTimePlayerX directory, but there were no files stored there.

$ ls -alg $TMPDIR/com.apple.QuickTimePlayerX/TemporaryItems 
total 0
drwxr-xr-x  2 ABC\Domain Users   68 Apr 20 12:02 .
drwx------@ 4 ABC\Domain Users  136 Apr 20 11:44 ..
GSSLA15122293:qt-crashing jmcamer1$ ls -alg $TMPDIR/com.apple.QuickTimePlayerX/MediaCache
total 0
drwx------  2 ABC\Domain Users   68 Apr 20 11:44 .
drwx------@ 4 ABC\Domain Users  136 Apr 20 11:44 ..

After attempting to save the recording to a file several times, I decided to pick another directory in which to save the .m4a file, even though the QuickTimePlayer application should have been able to store the file in the directory beneath my "Documents" folder where I had been trying to save it. Instead of that subdirectory, I browsed to the "Documents" directory and attempted to save it again. Though QuickTime had crashed on my several prior attempts to save the recording, this time it saved the recording successfully.

However, before I got to that point, I was searching for the location where QuickTime records audio or video as a recording is in progress. Thanks to Don Southard's March 3, 2013 article, Recovering a Lost QuickTime Recording, I was able to find that location. The QuickTime Player puts its temporary files while a recording is in progress beneath the account's Library/Containers/com.apple.QuickTimePlayerX/Data/Library/Autosave Information directory. I started another recording and before saving it I checked that directory and saw a file named "Audio Recording.m4a" was located there.

$ ls ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.QuickTimePlayerX/Data/Library/Autosave\ Information/Unsaved\ QuickTime\ Player\ Document.qtpxcomposition/
Audio Recording.m4a	index.qtpx
$ ls -lgh ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.QuickTimePlayerX/Data/Library/Autosave\ Information/Unsaved\ QuickTime\ Player\ Document.qtpxcomposition/
total 5256
-rw-r--r--@ 1 ABC\Domain Users   2.6M Apr 20 12:52 Audio Recording.m4a
-rw-r--r--@ 1 ABC\Domain Users    19B Apr 20 12:51 index.qtpx

So, should I ever experience QuickTime crashes on my MacBook laptop again and be unable to save a recording, I now know where to look for its temporary file. Don Southard reported in his case that QuickTime was running, but the audio recording window for it had disappeared when he experienced the problem. After determining the location for the temporary file, he was, fortunately, able to recover it from a Time Machine backup, but as he noted, if you don't know where QuickTime stores the temporary file, you probably won't be able to recover it, even if you have a backup.


  1. Recording audio on a Mac OS X system with QuickTime Player
    Created: April 5, 2016
    Last modified: April 5, 2016
    MoonPoint Support
  2. Recovering a Lost QuickTime Recording
    By: Don Southard
    Date: March 3, 2013


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