What is a .plist File on Mac and Can I Delete One?

Savvy Mac users know what files are .plist and have probably dealt with them trying to solve various problems with the operating system or with some third-party software.

.Plist files are not normally visible to the user and are used by the operating system and various applications to store various settings and configurations. The name “plist” derives from Property List. These are  XML documents (a metalanguage that allows you to define the meaning of elements in a document) that can be found in some specific folders of the operating system. 

The name is made up of a first part to the left of the extension (typically corresponding to the name of the program or developer) and a second part (after the file name) that ends, precisely with the .plist extension.

Configuration and preference files in macOS use property lists (plists) to specify attributes or properties of an app or process. An example is the Finder preferences plist file in the Library/Preferences/folder of a user’s home folder. The file is called “com.apple.finder.plist”. Technically, the default naming convention for a plist file includes the reverse DNS name of the distributor before the app or process name, followed by the extension “.plist”..plist files

Can I delete a .plist file?

Files store properties (settings) related to certain software. If a program works correctly, there is no need to delete its preferences (one or more .plist files that include the program name in the initial part of the file name). 

Conversely, it can be useful to delete specific preferences if a program does not behave as it normally should) If necessary, the suggestion is to delete only and only .plist files that are in the Preferences subfolder in the user’s Library (in other words in ~ / Library / Preferences /). 

For example, by deleting the “com.apple.dock.plist” file, any Dock settings will be restored to default (the system will create a new com.apple.dock.plist file). There are utilities to view property list.

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