Mac OS X applications store their
preferences in the defaults database. This is
made up of each application’s property list
plist) file, which is an XML file consisting of
key-value pairs that define the preferences for an application or
service of the operating system.
If an application has a
plist file, every time
you change its preferences, the changes are saved back to the
plist file. Also included in the defaults
database system are the changes you make to your system via the
panels found in System Preferences
As an administrator, you may need to access your or another
user’s preferences. This is done from the Terminal
command. This chapter covers Mac OS
X’s preferences system, including the format and
location of application and system preference files, how they work,
and how to view and adjust their settings using the Property List
Editor and the Terminal.
User-defined property lists are stored in
~/Library/Preferences, and the appropriate
plist is called up when an application launches.
Property lists can contain literal preferences set through the
application’s Application →
Preferences dialog, or subtler things such as window coordinates or
the state of an option (such as whether to display the battery menu
extra in the menu bar, as shown in Example 22-1).
Example 22-1. The com.apple.menuextra.battery.plist file
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?> <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple ...