Are "plist" files generally safe to delete?

komatsu

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 19, 2010
516
40
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?
 

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
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Inside
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.
 

komatsu

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 19, 2010
516
40
thanks Intell.

And for some apps the plist files are stored in two locations?
 

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
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Yes, some applications have their plists stored in two or even three different places. But most of them are in ~/Library/Preferences/
 

komatsu

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 19, 2010
516
40
Great! so once deleted they are meant to regenerate themselves?
 

Weaselboy

Moderator
Staff member
Jan 23, 2005
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Great! so once deleted they are meant to regenerate themselves?
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
 
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