Editing preference files in OS X 10.9 and 10.10

This is not a problem that most people will ever encounter, but ever since I upgraded to OS X 10.9 I’ve been having a terrible time with preference plist files (I typically need to edit these to test bugs in MacRabbit software). Prior to OS X Mavericks and Yosemite it was possible to edit a plist file, launch the application, and your changes would automatically be read in. Now, however, there’s some sort of system-wide caching system that makes it very difficult to work directly with plists.

If for whatever reason you need to modify a plist file, here’s how to do it:

  1. Copy the plist somewhere safe (like your Desktop)
  2. Pop open the Terminal and run this command (replacing com.macrabbit.Espresso with the name of the plist you are trying to edit:

    defaults delete com.macrabbit.Espresso
  3. Edit the copy of the plist that you made (I like to use PlistEdit Pro), then copy it back into your ~/Library/Preferences folder
  4. In Terminal, run this command:

    defaults read com.macrabbit.Espresso

And there you have it! Next time you open the app, your modified preferences will be available. Kind of a pain, but at least it’s still possible!

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