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Where does OS X store license/registration keys for apps? Is there any way these can be moved over to a new Mac?

[Context: I did a clean install upgrade from OS X Mavericks to Yosemite. I would like to transfer the license keys of specific apps from my previous installation (which was backed up using a disk cloner) to the new one.]

  • You should have a look at ~/Library/Application Support and ~/Library/Preferences. Most programs stores there their apps licenses and preferences. But, not all, there is no easy rule for want you want. – jherran Jan 8 '15 at 9:03
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There are a lot methods used and places where licenses and registration keys are stored:

  1. User specific:

    ~/
    ~/Library/Application Support/Application or domain
    ~/Library/Preferences
    

    This might be plist files, invisible .domain.plist and .random.plist files or files and folders containing files with random names. Also specific 'License'-files exist.

  2. Machine specific:

    /Library/Application Support/Application or domain
    /Library/Preferences
    

    This might be domain.plist or randomly named files, invisible .domain.plist and .random.plist files or files and folders containing files with random names. Also special 'License'-files exist. Some licenses are bound to specific properties of the host (e.g. MAC-address) and can't be moved straight to a new Mac (e.g. iPartition)

  3. Disk specific

    Some Applications use unused/unvisible parts of partitions to store registrations. Also thumb-drives are used.

Some application even require to deactivate a registration before doing a new or clean install (AFAIR a lot of Adobe apps/suites)

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