Are "plist" files generally safe to delete?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by komatsu, Oct 30, 2016.

  1. komatsu macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
    #1
    Are "plist" files generally safe to delete?

    Lots of solutions to OS X problems seem to involve deleting "plist" files. But, in a general sense,
    how safe is this? Or, are their "plist" files which you should never go near?
     
  2. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Location:
    Inside
    #2
    It's generally safe to delete them. The worst that could happen when deleting the majority of them is that you lose settings associated with the program that uses that plist. The bad ones are generally locked out by SIP in 10.11 and later, but even then it's generally safe to delete those as well.
     
  3. komatsu thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
    #3
    thanks Intell.

    And for some apps the plist files are stored in two locations?
     
  4. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Location:
    Inside
    #4
    Yes, some applications have their plists stored in two or even three different places. But most of them are in ~/Library/Preferences/
     
  5. komatsu thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
    #5
    Great! so once deleted they are meant to regenerate themselves?
     
  6. Weaselboy Moderator

    Weaselboy

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #6
    Yes.... the next time you open the setting or app related to that plist, it will create a new one with the default settings.

    Also, just deleting a plist will not get rid of it starting with Mavericks. The plist files are cached, so if you just delete one the cached version will be used and you will have accomplished nothing. So you need to quit the app, delete the plist file, logout then log back in or reboot to erase the cached plist, then start the app the generate a new plist.

    https://manytricks.com/blog/?p=3049

    Here is an article about it. There is also a Terminal command that can be used to flush the plist cache.

    Code:
    killall cfprefsd
     
  7. komatsu thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2010
    #7
    Ok, Intell and Weaselboy thanks for that great info - much appreciated!
     

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