I have installed OS X 10.8 and 10.9 installed on a machine. The latter is a fresh installation. I want to apply all my Terminal settings from OS X 10.8 to 10.9. Copying com.apple.Terminal.plist from /Volumes/osx10.8/Users/<myaccount-on-10.8>/Library/Preferences to /Users/<myaccount-on-10.9>/Library/Preferences (while Terminal is not running) seems not to be sufficient.

1 Answer 1


It appears that Mavericks is cacheing plist settings upon login (and rewriting them from the cache if the disk version doesn't match the cached version).

Two possible solutions:

1) With terminal closed, copy in your desired plist file. Then log in and out of your account BEFORE reopening terminal.

2) With terminal closed, copy in your desired plist file. Then kill the 'cfprefsd' process in Activity Monitor.

Either method should do the trick...

  • The first time I've tried variant 1). After reinstalling OS X 10.9 variant 1) did not work, but variant 2) did.
    – Thomas S.
    Nov 7, 2013 at 11:09
  • FYI, this applies to other apps as well. I was running into the issue with Microsoft Remote Desktop. Probably only need to kill cfprefsd if the relevant app has been started? h/t
    – BrianS
    Oct 5, 2016 at 15:13

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