When I upgraded to OS X 10.11 El Capitan earlier this month, one of the first things I did was open up Terminal.app so that I could install Homebrew, RVM, etc. After a while, I realised that my Bash history wasn’t being saved.

I checked permissions on ~/.bash_history:

joenyland@Joes-MBP ~ $ stat ~/.bash_history -c "%a %U %G"
600 joenyland staff

All looks good. Is the history file set correctly?

joenyland@Joes-MBP ~ $ echo $HISTFILE

Again, all looks good. I noticed a new folder in my home directory: ~/.bash_sessions and this contains what looked to be Bash history files with hashed file names:

joenyland@Joes-MBP ~ $ tree ~/.bash_sessions/
├── 005551F0-A695-4FF5-B04A-E39E163D176D.historynew
└── 87119D10-8A15-4AA0-A9A5-F9889436DD76.historynew

0 directories, 2 files

Uncle Google lead me to find someone in the same boat as me: here and the solution was given here. Simply put, “Bash sessions” can be disabled by simply running the following:

touch ~/.bash_sessions_disable

Then close your Terminal.app window and re-open to reload the Bash environment. As the answer suggests, that the presence of the ~/.bash_sessions_disable file (although empty) instructs Bash to disable the “sessions” feature and revert to previous behaviour of storing history in the $HISTFILE (the value of which defaults to ~/.bash_history).

A little more info on what Bash sessions is can be found here. There might be advantages to using Bash sessions that I’m not aware of…