13 Replies Latest reply: Dec 21, 2010 11:30 PM by X423424X
Larry Cohen1 Level 1 (60 points)
I was browsing through the library Preferences folder in my home folder - and I'm noticing many, many plist files in certain areas.
For example, I have 86 like this "com.apple.iApps.plist.0QMlGUd" - (they all change a bit in the last 7 letters.) But they all take up zero space as the size is zero. Why so many? What are they doing? CanI, or should I delete them?

Or . . . I have 40 of these "com.apple.internetconfigpriv.plist.0Sa5AdO" againthe last 7 letters change with each one - they all have zero size!

Or . . . 24 of these "com.apple.internetconfigpriv.plist.0Sa5AdO"
Or . . . 124 of these "com.apple.iTunes.plist.xMxzpUQ".
I have 122 of these QuickTime Player "com.apple.quicktimeplayer.plist.0NNJcuD" I do use only QT 7 - but what are they all doing? All take up zero space.

Does this seem to be fairly normal? Or am I alone out here?


Macbook Pro 17, Mac OS X (10.6.4), iPad, Mac Pro & Newton!
  • baltwo Level 9 (62,210 points)
    Deleting all but the ones without the garbage characters shouldn't hurt anything. This is the first time I've noticed, but I have similar items. Appears to be a bug. If you want to report this issue to Apple's engineering, send a bug report or an enhancement request via its Bug Reporter system. To do this, join the Mac Developer Program—it's free and available for all Mac users and gets you a look at some development software. Since you already have an Apple username/ID, use that. Once a member, go to Apple BugReporter and file your bug report or enhancement request. The nice thing with this procedure is that you get a response and a follow-up number; thus, starting a dialog with engineering.
  • Larry Cohen1 Level 1 (60 points)
    Thank you, baltwo. I'm going to try your suggestion. Are you saying the ones with the garbage characters are important, and should be left alone? Wonder what they are?
  • baltwo Level 9 (62,210 points)
    Delete any with .plist.I*YT(HUYRUB i.e., the ones with the garbage characters after .plist
  • andyBall_uk Level 7 (20,490 points)
    the zero byte garbage character ones can go (not that they cause a problem) - they're perhaps left over from a file create/copy/delete operation that didn't do the delete.

    some people seem to get a bunch, I got none except for VLC
  • baltwo Level 9 (62,210 points)
    Since most that i've come across are generated by Apple apps, I'm filing a bug report. Hopefully, they'll add the necessary component to preclude the failure to delete.
  • AnaMusic Level 9 (57,105 points)
    Hope you don't mind my joining in…

    This piqued my curiosity so I went and had a look in my Preferences folder and found over 800 similar zero kb plists for iTunes and QT…

    I went ahead and deleted them, did a restart, played with iTunes and QTime, checked the Preference folder again to see if any had returned and low and behold iTunes has created a new zero kb plist…

    So I quit iTunes, checked the Preferences folder again and another zero kb plist had been created...

    I can shed no light on this, but I do find it curious and thought you may find this information helpful.

  • baltwo Level 9 (62,210 points)
    Thanks. Apparently, the apps aren't deleting plist when overwriting them, but spawning new ones and adding the junk to preclude them from being viewed as plist files. I'll add that tidbit to my BR.
  • andyBall_uk Level 7 (20,490 points)
    spawning new is normal, they should be renamed w/o the garbage extension - this happens several times just in opening/closing iTunes, say - with a chmod & chown in between. Could there be any non-std acl on the prefs folder causing this for some users ?, or is the bug obvious in every account on one mac ?
  • baltwo Level 9 (62,210 points)
    No, they shouldn't be renamed. IMO, they should be deleted or replaced with the spawned ones. Cluttering up folders with 0 KB files just causes angst among users. This is new and disconcerting behavior and occurs with the default ACLs in place.
  • andyBall_uk Level 7 (20,490 points)
    No what ?

    I couldn't have explained clearly enough - although I did point out that they are normally renamed without the extension.
    I did not say that it was normal for them to persist & clutter up the folder, or that such behaviour was acceptable.

    My system, which shows no problems, does spawn new ones, which are very swiftly renamed without the extension, to replace the 'standard' plist. You'd be lucky (tho it's possible) to see that in Finder.

    I also noted the chown & chmod, but if you have nothing beyond the std "group:everyone deny delete"
    then ignore that.
  • Doug Metz Level 2 (325 points)
    I'm seeing similar zero K prefs files for iPod, iApps, iTunes, QuickTime, QuickTimePlayerX, quicktimeplayer, and the weather widget. Most of them were in my user space, but I did find one in the root prefs folder ('QuickTime'). And the one from the widget is 29K.

    This is the first time I've gone through looking for cruft since installing SL. The first one was created a few days after 10.6.2 was released (Nov. 9, 2009).

  • Glenn Williams1 Level 1 (105 points)
    I know this does not help. I just looked at my Home>Library>Preferences folder, and I see duplicates plists also. But not as many as you report. OS 10.6.4
  • X423424X Level 6 (14,215 points)
    I thought I'd add to this thread just to say my biggest (actually I think only) offender of these garbage (intermediate) plists are pbs.plist.xxxxx, where the x's are the random characters. After about a week I find a whole bunch of these. So I just delete them leaving the actual pbs.plist alone. So far I haven't found at what point (i.e., what am I doing at the time when) they are being created.

    I believe pbs.plist is related to Services. But I hardly ever uses Services, certainly not to the extent to account for the number of pbs.plist.xxxxx files I see accumulated.