Mac OS X Lion: What is the max path length?

I am having trouble finding this information, and trial and error is telling me that the value is very high. So I figured I ask the community to see if anyone knows and can point me to a apple page that confirms the length for Lion. All I know is it is larger that Snow Leopard.

I don’t think there is a limit on how deep a directory can be. Every directory/folder can contain a folder, but that folder has no information about the folder that contains it’s “parent”.

/folder a/folder b/folder c/folder e

In the above example, folder c has no information about folder a stored in it, just about folders b and e, so even if you’re 1000 folders deep, the 999th folder only has to keep up with the folder that contains it (the 998th folder), and the folder it contains (the 1000th folder).

I’ve found no Apple documentation that confirms the by character max path length. Mucking about elsewhere has given me what I consider to be a solid pathway to the answer. You can verify online the process and its results before and after you act on your local machine.

Finding the answer locally involves using Terminal app. The commands you’ll enter are nondestructive ones. The Unix utility you’ll be using––getconf––has its own help file. Read that first.

Open a Terminal session.
To get the getconf help file:

man getconf

(The following commands aren’t specifically addressed in the getconf help file, but are easily found online; again, they are nondestructive.)

After that, to get the max path length:


If you wanted the max name length:


Results in macOS 10.13.6, using the APFS file system:
Path Max = 1024
Name Max = 255