Application Preferences

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Each user has his or her own Library folder that contains files and settings specific to an individual's preferences for a given application.  For example, in Safari a person could have a Home page specified that will open when Safari is launched, the appearance could be configured, own security settings, web site bookmarks, the behavior of tabs can be specified, and so on.
Just about every Mac OS X application can be customized via the application's preferences settings.  Whenever a setting is altered, Mac OS X updates the application's preferences file.  These files are identified with a .plist extension.  When the application launches, OS X checks the preferences file to determine how to set the application for the user.  OS X maintains a separate preferences file for each application and each user.  For example, each user has his or her own plist file for Safari stored in the following area:


No two application preference settings are alike.  The preferences setting is a great way to learn how the application can be configured.  You may even come across some features of the application that you never knew existed.  Note that an application's preferences are not the same as System Preferences.

  • April 30, 2009 - content revision
Created: 4:11 PM on Feb 7, 2007
By: switchtoamac