I don't usually dig around with the terminal, but I have been puzzled with the local host behavior on my Mac for a long time. It works in some conditions and doesn't in others. My question isn't about the localhost, but about scutil.

I tried this out scutil but it seems like a blackbox to me. It sets and gets the data I ask it to, but where does it store the information? What does scutil mean?

  • 1
    The sc in scutil stands for system configuration. If you type man scutil in Terminal, you can find out a lot more about the options available.
    – IconDaemon
    Jul 8, 2020 at 2:12

1 Answer 1


scutil talks to the System Configuration daemon, configd. Some of the info it deals with isn't stored anywhere (except in RAM), because it relates to the live state of the computer. The part that does get stored is (at least mostly) in the /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/ directory, especially the preferences.plist and NetworkInterfaces.plist files. man scutil and man configd both have relevant (if superficial) info.

The format of the information in the configuration database is rather cryptic, both when viewed directly in the files and via scutil. For most network configuration tasks, networksetup is much easier to work with. I don't really recommend using scutil except for its --set and --get options (which set and get the Mac's various network names). What are you actually trying to do?

  • Thanks, you partially answered my question. I was using the system configuration utility and wondering why the network name that was --SET wasn´t showing up in the configuration file (that I was working with) which held all the other network configuration information, and why the command prompt in the terminal changed. I wanted to examine the information stored in the configuration file, because I'm not sure if the network name needs a suffix like .net or .com. Jul 8, 2020 at 19:37

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