sqlite3 stores command history in .sqlite_history, which is by default created in:


How can I change this location to somewhere else?

This is possible for example with mysql, where I can define environment variable


But I could not find any corresponding environment variable for sqlite3

export SQLITE_HISTFILE=/tmp/history 

has no effect. I found a post where somebody asks same question, but no useful answers are given.


It looks like it's hardcoded in line 5576 in shell.c (version 3.14.1):

sqlite3_snprintf(nHistory, zHistory,"%s/.sqlite_history", zHome);

So, to change it, your only option is to edit the source and recompile.


To list some of the possible alternatives,

  1. make ~/.sqlite_history into a symbolic link to another file.

  2. simply run HOME=/tmp sqlite3 to have the program save the history in /tmp/.sqlite_history, though this assumes you don't need the real home directory inside the command environment.

  3. edit the binary and replace the string "%s/.sqlite_history", found by Hoov, by another string with the same number of bytes, eg "/tmp/sqlitehistory":

    sed < /usr/bin/sqlite3 's|%s/.sqlite_history|/tmp/sqlitehistory|' >/tmp/sqlite3
    cmp -l /usr/bin/sqlite3 /tmp/sqlite3 # check no extraneous differences
    chmod +x /tmp/sqlite3
  4. use the LD_PRELOAD shim I proposed in an another question to change one filename ("/tmp/adb.log" in that case) to another during an open() call.

  • Excellent and enlightening answer. I feel ignorant now. – Hoov Sep 2 '16 at 7:36
  • But in reality, when this situation arises, I usually prefer to follow your answer and rebuild from sources, unless this proves to be too tedious, with too many dependencies etc. – meuh Sep 2 '16 at 7:53
  • Yes, it think it's the most manageable solution, but your solution three could come in handy when you don't have the source. Saved it to a script. – Hoov Sep 2 '16 at 8:07
  • Note that in sqlite's case, setting $HOME will not work, since sqlite does not honour that environment variable: it uses only what getpwuid() returns (e.g. from /etc/passwd). – ayekat Aug 31 '17 at 5:58

As of Oct 10, 2018 it appears that a new variable, $SQLITE_HISTORY, was added to address this.

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