I'm about to embark on a clean install of Mavericks. This is the first clean install I've done in years, and OSX has undergone quite a few evolutions in that time, so I want to check a few things against the group wisdom before I start.

The object of the clean install is not to make my working mac a completely blank slate, but to clear out the cruft. Thus I'll be reinstalling most things and will want to get the day-to-day stuff (Mail, Safari, Calendar, Contacts, Notes, print setup, etc) back to the same working environment that I have before the install. With that in mind, and focusing on OSX-native apps (I'll reinstall the third-party apps fresh and pull in prefs etc from backup as necessary), can anyone please confirm that these are the user-specific/library files that I should be restoring from backup?:


~/Library/Mail ~/Library/Mail/Mail Downloads ~/Library/Application Support/Mail





(will this snag all Safari's extensions and their settings too?)




??? I have no idea where notes on the Mac are stored


~/Library/Application Support/AddressBook

(alternatively, if I simply let iCloud take care of that, will it successfully bring in all my groups and smart sets as well?)

Other supporting files:

~/Library/Preferences/ -any com.apple preferences- ~/Library/Saved Application State/ -any appropriate com.apple. files- ~/Library/Application Support/MobileSync

(will this successfully hook up my existing device backups with iTunes?)

Have I missed anything else?


Also: would people advise de-authorising the machine in iTunes and iBooks before doing the clean install (assuming that I am most likely going to reformat the hard drive as part of the process)? I can't remember whether a reformat causes the iTunes and iBook stores to treat the Mac as a new machine.

  • What version of OS X do you currently have installed. – At0mic Nov 9 '15 at 13:57
  • Mavericks. I'm doing a straight Mav -> Mav clean install. – Rick Lecoat Nov 9 '15 at 14:30
  • One troublesome folder you've left out is ~Library/Containers where Mail stores its downloaded attachments, Messages stores its archive, and a bunch of other things. A simpler(?) way might be to just copy everything from ~/Library except for the Caches/ folder. That might not be as clean as you'd hoped for though. – Kent Nov 9 '15 at 23:19
  • Thanks for the heads up about Containers, Kent, that's very good to know. And although it would be simplest just to copy back the entire ~/Library folder, that's precisely where most of the detritus and cruft builds up over time, so I really want to only bring back the stuff that's needed. Else there's just too much old junk from old, deleted apps and what have you and I may as well not have bothered with the clean install at all. – Rick Lecoat Nov 9 '15 at 23:38

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