User Data Directory


The user data directory contains profile data such as history, bookmarks, and cookies, as well as other per-installation local state.

Each profile is a subdirectory (often Default) within the user data directory.

Current Location

To determine the user data directory for a running Chrome instance:

  1. Navigate to chrome://version
  2. Look for the Profile Path field. This gives the path to the profile directory.
  3. The user data directory is the parent of the profile directory.

Example (Windows):

  • [Profile Path] C:\Users\Alice\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default
  • [User Data Dir] C:\Users\Alice\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data

Default Location

The default location of the user data directory is computed by chrome::GetDefaultUserDataDirectory.

Generally it varies by


The default location is in the local app data folder:

  • [Chrome] %LOCALAPPDATA%\Google\Chrome\User Data
  • [Chrome Beta] %LOCALAPPDATA%\Google\Chrome Beta\User Data
  • [Chrome Canary] %LOCALAPPDATA%\Google\Chrome SxS\User Data
  • [Chromium] %LOCALAPPDATA%\Chromium\User Data

(The canary channel suffix is determined using InstallConstants::install_suffix.)

Mac OS X

The default location is in the Application Support folder:

  • [Chrome] ~/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome
  • [Chrome Beta] ~/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome Beta
  • [Chrome Canary] ~/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome Canary
  • [Chromium] ~/Library/Application Support/Chromium

(The canary channel suffix is determined using the CrProductDirName key in the browser app's Info.plist.)


The default location is in ~/.config:

  • [Chrome Stable] ~/.config/google-chrome
  • [Chrome Beta] ~/.config/google-chrome-beta
  • [Chrome Dev] ~/.config/google-chrome-unstable
  • [Chromium] ~/.config/chromium

(The beta and dev channel suffixes are determined from $CHROME_VERSION_EXTRA, which is passed by the launch wrapper script.)

The ~/.config portion of the default location can be overridden by $CHROME_CONFIG_HOME (since M61) or by $XDG_CONFIG_HOME.

Note that $XDG_CONFIG_HOME affects all applications conforming to the XDG Base Directory Spec, while $CHROME_CONFIG_HOME is specific to Chrome and Chromium.

Chrome OS

The default location is: /home/chronos


The default location comes from Context.getDir and is specific to the app.

Example: /data/user/0/


The default location is inside the application support directory in the app sandbox.

  • [Chrome] Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome
  • [Chromium] Library/Application Support/Chromium

Overriding the User Data Directory

Command Line

On most platforms, the user data directory can be overridden by passing the --user-data-dir command-line flag to the Chrome binary.

The override happens in chrome/app/ Platforms not building with the file may not have implemented the override. Overriding the user data directory via the command line is not supported on iOS.


  • [Windows] chrome.exe --user-data-dir=c:\foo
  • [Linux] google-chrome --user-data-dir=/path/to/foo

Environment (Linux)

On Linux, the user data directory can also be overridden with the $CHROME_USER_DATA_DIR environment variable.

The --user-data-dir flag takes precedence if both are present.

Chrome Remote Desktop sessions (Linux)

Chrome Remote Desktop (CRD) used to set $CHROME_USER_DATA_DIR or $CHROME_CONFIG_HOME on the virtual session on a Linux host, since a single Chrome instance cannot show windows on multiple X displays, and two running Chrome instances cannot share the same user data directory. However, with the obsolescence of dbus-x11, most modern Linux distros have lost the ability to simultaneously run multiple graphical sessions for the same user without running into difficult-to-trace dbus cross talk issues, and Chrome can only be run on a single X display per user in reality. Therefore, CRD no longer sets these environment variables for new installations after CRD host M105.

The CRD host will continue to set these environment variables if either chrome-config/ or chrome-profile/ exists in ~/.config/chrome-remote-desktop/. If you want to use the local Chrome profile in CRD sessions, quit Chrome and delete these folders from ~/.config/chrome-remote-desktop/, then reboot the host device.

Writing an AppleScript wrapper (Mac OS X)

On Mac OS X, you can create an application that runs Chrome with a custom --user-data-dir:

  1. Open Applications > Utilities > Script Editor.

  2. Enter:

set chrome to "\"/Applications/Google Chrome\""
set userdatadir to "\"$HOME/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome Alt\""
do shell script chrome & " --user-data-dir=" & userdatadir & " > /dev/null 2>&1 &"
  1. Modify as needed for your installation path, Chrome versus Chromium, and desired user data directory.

  2. Save the script in your Applications directory with the file format “Application”.

  3. Close the Script Editor, find your newly created application, and run it. This opens a Chrome instance pointing to your new profile.

If you want, you can give this application the same icon as Chrome:

  1. Select the Google Chrome application and choose File > Get Info.
  2. Select the icon at the top left of the info dialog. You will see a blue highlight around the icon.
  3. Press ⌘C to copy the icon.
  4. Open the info dialog for the new application and select the icon in the top left.
  5. Press ⌘V to paste the copied icon.

User Cache Directory

On Windows and ChromeOS, the user cache dir is the same as the profile dir. (The profile dir is inside the user data dir.)

On Mac OS X and iOS, the user cache dir is derived from the profile dir as follows:

  1. If Library/Application Support is an ancestor of the profile dir, the user cache dir is Library/Caches plus the relative path from Application Support to the profile dir.
  2. Otherwise, the user cache dir is the same as the profile dir.

Example (Mac OS X):

  • [user data dir] ~/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome
  • [profile dir] ~/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome/Default
  • [user cache dir] ~/Library/Caches/Google/Chrome/Default

On Linux, the user cache dir is derived from the profile dir as follows:

  1. Determine the system config dir. This is ~/.config, unless overridden by $XDG_CONFIG_HOME. (This step ignores $CHROME_CONFIG_HOME.)
  2. Determine the system cache dir. This is ~/.cache, unless overridden by $XDG_CACHE_HOME.
  3. If the system config dir is an ancestor of the profile dir, the user cache dir is the system cache dir plus the relative path from the system config dir to the profile dir.
  4. Otherwise, the user cache dir is the same as the profile dir.

Example (Linux):

  • [user data dir] ~/.config/google-chrome
  • [profile dir] ~/.config/google-chrome/Default
  • [user cache dir] ~/.cache/google-chrome/Default

On Android, the user cache directory comes from Context.getCacheDir.