Paranoia is a re-implementation of acts_as_paranoid for Rails 3 and Rails 4, using much, much, much less code.

You would use either plugin / gem if you wished that when you called destroy on an Active Record object that it didn't actually destroy it, but just hide the record. Paranoia does this by setting a deleted_at field to the current time when you destroy a record, and hides it by scoping all queries on your model to only include records which do not have a deleted_at field.

If you wish to actually destroy an object you may call really_destroy!. WARNING: This will also really destroy all dependent: :destroy records, so please aim this method away from face when using.

If a record has has_many associations defined AND those associations have dependent: :destroy set on them, then they will also be soft-deleted if acts_as_paranoid is set, otherwise the normal destroy will be called.

Getting Started Video

Setup and basic usage of the paranoia gem
GoRails #41

Installation & Usage

For Rails 3, please use version 1 of Paranoia:

gem "paranoia", "~> 1.0"

For Rails 4, please use version 2 of Paranoia:

gem "paranoia", "~> 2.0"

Of course you can install this from GitHub as well:

gem "paranoia", :github => "radar/paranoia", :branch => "rails3"
# or
gem "paranoia", :github => "radar/paranoia", :branch => "rails4"

Then run:

bundle install

Updating is as simple as bundle update paranoia.

Run your migrations for the desired models


rails generate migration AddDeletedAtToClients deleted_at:datetime:index

and now you have a migration

class AddDeletedAtToClients < ActiveRecord::Migration
  def change
    add_column :clients, :deleted_at, :datetime
    add_index :clients, :deleted_at


In your model:

class Client < ActiveRecord::Base

  # ...

Hey presto, it's there! Calling destroy will now set the deleted_at column:

>> client.deleted_at
# => nil
>> client.destroy
# => client
>> client.deleted_at
# => [current timestamp]

If you really want it gone gone, call really_destroy!:

>> client.deleted_at
# => nil
>> client.really_destroy!
# => client

If you want a method to be called on destroy, simply provide a before_destroy callback:

class Client < ActiveRecord::Base

  before_destroy :some_method

  def some_method
    # do stuff

  # ...

If you want to use a column other than deleted_at, you can pass it as an option:

class Client < ActiveRecord::Base
  acts_as_paranoid column: :destroyed_at


If you want to access soft-deleted associations, override the getter method:

def product
  Product.unscoped { super }

If you want to include associated soft-deleted objects, you can (un)scope the association:

class Person < ActiveRecord::Base
  belongs_to :group, -> { with_deleted }


If you want to find all records, even those which are deleted:


If you want to find only the deleted records:


If you want to check if a record is soft-deleted:

# or

If you want to restore a record:

# or

If you want to restore a whole bunch of records:

Client.restore([id1, id2, ..., idN])

If you want to restore a record and their dependently destroyed associated records:

Client.restore(id, :recursive => true)
# or
client.restore(:recursive => true)

If you want callbacks to trigger before a restore:

before_restore :callback_name_goes_here

For more information, please look at the tests.

About indexes:

Beware that you should adapt all your indexes for them to work as fast as previously. For example,

add_index :clients, :group_id
add_index :clients, [:group_id, :other_id]

should be replaced with

add_index :clients, :group_id, where: "deleted_at IS NULL"
add_index :clients, [:group_id, :other_id], where: "deleted_at IS NULL"

Of course, this is not necessary for the indexes you always use in association with with_deleted or only_deleted.

Acts As Paranoid Migration

You can replace the older acts_as_paranoid methods as follows:

Old Syntax New Syntax
find_with_deleted(:all) Client.with_deleted
find_with_deleted(:first) Client.with_deleted.first
find_with_deleted(id) Client.with_deleted.find(id)

The recover method in acts_as_paranoid runs update callbacks. Paranoia's restore method does not do this.


This gem is released under the MIT license.