The Preview application currently hangs when it opens (it doesn't crash - it becomes unresponsive). Since Preview opens the files that were opened at the last invocation - killing and reopening Preview doesn't help.

Switching to the guest user proves that the Preview application works.

Where does the Preview application store the list of files to open at startup?

2 Answers 2


Quit Preview.

Navigate to ~/Library/Saved Application State/com.apple.Preview.savedState/

Quick way to get there…

  • From Finder...
  • Cmd ⌘ N for new window

  • Cmd ⌘ Shift ⇧ G for Go To…

  • Copy/paste ~/Library/Saved Application State/com.apple.Preview.savedState/

  • Hit Enter

Delete the entire contents of the com.apple.Preview.savedState folder.

Late Edit: I've noticed the Preview saved state folder is now an alias in more recent OSes; in which case when deleting the contents, don't also delete the alias. The original is in ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.Preview/Data/Library/Saved Application State/com.apple.Preview.savedState

  • Thanks for the solution. Instead of deleting the folder, I opened windows.plist and removed items with files to open. Thanks again. Mar 14, 2015 at 15:13
  • Sure - if you're comfortable editing xmls, cool - I was going for the 'lowest common denominator' method ;) Glad it worked.
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 14, 2015 at 15:20
  • @jaepage - are you looking in ~/Library or /Library ??
    – Tetsujin
    Mar 22, 2017 at 18:23
  • The built-in feature for disabling Application Restore when opening an application should be preferred over this.
    – bames53
    Sep 15, 2017 at 3:45
  • @bames53 - why? that would clear all saved states for all apps. Elephant gun/house fly.
    – Tetsujin
    Sep 15, 2017 at 6:21

There are two options for doing this without having to touch config files:

  • To do this one time only, you can hold down Shift ⇧ while opening any app to temporarily disable the "reopen windows on launch" feature
  • To disable this behavior for all apps indefinitely, open System Preferences, go to General, and check "Close windows when quitting an app" near the bottom.
  • "hold down Shift ⇧ while opening any app to temporarily disable" Yep, this is the right way to do it.
    – bames53
    Oct 12, 2017 at 13:09
  • 1
    This should be the accepted answer. Also, this default behavior in OS is dumb.
    – BBaysinger
    Sep 27, 2018 at 22:05
  • the OP should mark this answer as the accepted one. Thanks a lot! Feb 19, 2021 at 20:54

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .