I know i can export a profile, i can then use it, but if I modify it, i have to export it again, to have a proper backup.

I'd rather have a symlink to the actual file in use by terminal rather than an exported version of it I have to constantly re-export when i wish to backup my system.

However, I can not find the location where Terminal uses the imported themes. Where does it put them?


2 Answers 2


The properties of themes and profiles are stored in ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.Terminal.plist in the key Windows Settings/[Name of the Profile]:

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Obviously only diffs to a hidden default profile (it's not the Basic profile!) are stored.

In the example above I made a copy Basic 1 of the Basic theme and arbitrarly disabled and enabled settings in the various tabs.

The initial settings for the various default profiles (Basic, Man Page, Ocean etc.) are stored in the app itself:

/Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app/Contents/Resources/Initial Settings/

The *.terminal files are basically XML-files. They are imported into the ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.Terminal.plist as sub-items on the first launch of Terminal.app.

  • So, are you able to point to a separate cloned profile on disk? If you import a profile, where does it end up?
    – mjs
    Commented Dec 7, 2019 at 13:14
  • 1
    @momomo 1. No, you can't use a separate cloned profile - the user profiles (default or custom) are all part of the plist. 2. In the $USER plist.
    – klanomath
    Commented Dec 7, 2019 at 13:17
  • but you can import a profile. does it go into the plist then ?
    – mjs
    Commented Dec 10, 2019 at 19:45
  • 1
    @momomo Yes, like the (10?) default profiles...
    – klanomath
    Commented Dec 10, 2019 at 19:47

In Mac OsX Sonoma 14.1.1 the location is

/System/Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app/Contents/Resources/Initial\ Settings/


  • 1
    That's the initial defaults, not the per-user profiles.
    – Barmar
    Commented Dec 7, 2023 at 18:09

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