I was originally looking for my Google Chrome profile because something went wrong and I need to delete it. In the process I realized that I don't know where applications in general are putting this kind of stuff.

Where is the typical place to go looking?

3 Answers 3


This kind of data is frequently stored in ~/Library/Application Support.

User-specific settings are frequently stored in ~/Library/Preferences

Your Chrome profile is located at ~/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome/Default.

I recommend going on a little exploration of the ~/Library folder; there's a lot of useful stuff in there.

  • 3
    Note that in Lion the ~/Library folder is hidden in the finder by default. You can still go there by using the "Go to folder" functionality.
    – XQYZ
    Commented Oct 23, 2011 at 16:58
  • @Nathan, You missed out ~/Library/<application name>/
    – Pacerier
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 5:52
  • 1
    Is there an environment variable for that?
    – Royi
    Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 19:22
  • Data shouldn't be saved to these Preferences folders without using Apple's API. According to Apple's File System Programming Guide linked by @Bachsau, "Contains the user’s preferences. You should never create files in this directory yourself. To get or set preference values, you should always use the NSUserDefaults class or an equivalent system-provided interface." as I mentioned on daviesgeek's answer.
    – Poikilos
    Commented Nov 28, 2022 at 16:33

I had this happen and I fixed the problem by relogging in to Google Sync.

The profile file is stored in:

~/Library/Application Support/Google/Chrome/Default

Usually an application will install data in /Library/Preferences/ and/or ~/Library/Preferences/.

Data can also be placed after any of the following patterns:

/Library/Preferences/<application name>/

~/Library/Preferences/<application name>/

/Library/Application Support/<application name>/

~/Library/Application Support/<application name>/͏͏͏͏

/Library/<application name>/

~/Library/<application name>/ ͏͏͏͏

  • Also, some random person said that ...Audio folder may be too for audio apps.
    – Pacerier
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 6:01
  • Btw, what happens if an app itself is called Preferences and it tries to do ~/Library/<application name>/? What's the escape mechanism used by mac? ¶ Separately, what does byhost mean in ~/library/preferences?
    – Pacerier
    Commented Oct 6, 2017 at 6:01
  • Apple has detailed information on this: developer.apple.com/library/content/documentation/…
    – Bachsau
    Commented Feb 3, 2018 at 23:35
  • 1
    Is there an environment variable for that?
    – Royi
    Commented Mar 19, 2019 at 19:22
  • 4
    If the App is from the Mac AppStore it will be in ~/Library/Containers/<application name>/
    – McLawrence
    Commented Aug 6, 2019 at 18:14

Since I was looking for the data written/saved by an app, sourced from the Mac App Store (Merlin Bird ID), this is the solution originally Comment from McLawrance:

~/Library/Containers/<application name>/

This particular app is actually an iOS app, which can be run with a M1 Mac. It records data as .wav files which was talking almost 30GB of space. When I deleted the files from the app, the storage in the system preference remained same! So I had to manually find the files like this and delete those.

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