What is PrefEdit?

PrefEdit is an application to manage nearly all aspects of the preference system contained in every macOS installation. The program consists of three components which are tightly integrated with each other:

Property list files are the technical means used by macOS to store user preference settings in the background. This file type is also utilized by macOS for many other purposes, not only for building the preference database. You can use PrefEdit to display and edit all files compliant with Apple’s plist standard.

Preference manifest files contain descriptions for so-called Managed Preferences. If modifying a user preference setting is not only of interest for the application owning this setting, but access to the setting should be possible for “foreign” applications, too, the vendor of the application can publish technical details about these preferences formally. Such a description specifies which setting with what name has which meaning for an application. In addition, the possible value range, as well as the meaning of each single value can be defined. Apple’s Workgroup Manager application uses manifest files to present such remotely manageable settings.

PrefEdit is directed both to software developers and to end users who like to have full access to each and every aspect of preference settings for the system and applications. The program is capable of visualizing the complete search path and priority of user default settings, exactly imitating the view each macOS application has on the preferences database.

PrefEdit was the first preference editor ever published for Mac OS X (now: macOS). With its long experience and maturity, it has become one of the most advanced preference management applications for macOS available today.

Features in detail

PrefEdit has the following key features:

System Requirements

To use PrefEdit, you’ll need an Apple computer which has one of the following operating systems installed:

Updates of the application

PrefEdit is constantly evolving, adapting to new features in the latest versions of macOS. New versions are released as (usually free) updates from time to time. To check manually if a new version of PrefEdit is available for download, select the menu item PrefEdit > Check for updates. For automatic checks in regular intervals when you are launching the application, you can enable the following option:

  1. Select the menu item PrefEdit > Preferences… or press ⌘ + ,.
  2. In the panel Preferences, set a check mark at Check for updates automatically.