.PLIST File Extension

macOS Property List

Developer Apple
3.8  |  190 Votes
Category Settings Files
Format Text and Binary

What is a PLIST file?

A PLIST file is a settings file, also known as a "properties file," used by macOS applications. It contains properties and configuration settings for various programs. PLIST files are formatted in XML and based on Apple's Core Foundation DTD.

More Information
Screenshot of a .plist file in Apple Xcode 9
PLIST file open in Apple Xcode 9

PLIST files can be saved in a text or a binary format. The text-based documents can be edited with a text editor. However, you typically should not edit PLIST files, since they are modified by their respective programs as needed.

Property list files included with applications can be created and edited by the developer using Apple's Property List Editor, which is included with Apple Developer Tools. They can also be opened and edited using a third-party PLIST editing program.

NOTE: You can convert PLIST files between XML and binary formats using the plutil command line tool:

  • Binary to XML: plutil -convert xml1 file.plist
  • XML to Binary: plutil -convert binary1 file.plist

Common PLIST Filenames

Info.plist - The primary property list for Mac OS X applications, located in the /​Contents/​ directory of an .APP bundle. To view this file, right-click an application file, select "Show Package Contents," and open the Contents folder.

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Programs that open PLIST files

Updated November 26, 2019

Verified by FileInfo.com

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