Sometimes, opening one or more very large pdf documents will cause Preview to crash. When this happens, I usually open preview by double clicking on its icon in Applications while holding down the shift key. This prevents the previously opened documents from being opened again.

However, today, for some reason, that's not working. If I open Preview while holding down shift it still tries to open all the documents that were open when it crashed, and consequently crashes again.

I'm imagining the list of open documents is stored in a plist file somewhere, but there are currently no files in ~/Library/Application Support/Preview, so it's not there. Is there some other place to look for it?

I'm on OS X 10.11 if that makes a difference. I know it's old and have no intention of updating.

1 Answer 1


After some googling and experimentation, I found that I can fix this by deleting the folder ~/Library/Containers/com.Apple.Preview/. Hopefully this will be helpful if someone else has the same problem.

From a comment below by Joy Jin, it seems the specific folder is

~/Library/Containers/com.apple.Preview/Data/Library/Saved Application State/com.apple.Preview.savedState

Deleting only this folder should resolve the issue without affecting other settings. (I haven't tested this.)

  • 1
    Not sure if this is what you want (or if it exists as an option in macOS 10.11), but in System Preferences>General you can untick (disable) "Close windows when quitting an app", which means that when you quit any app, it will not reopen the documents from the last time the app was quit. However this is system wide option, so if you prefer to reopen documents in some specific apps where you last were before quitting, you're out of luck. Instead, you will have to manually open them Cmd+O or open recent items in File>Open recent
    – AVelj
    Dec 6, 2020 at 11:18
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    To be more specific, it is in ~/Library/Containers/com.apple.Preview/Data/Library/Saved Application State/com.apple.Preview.savedState. You just have to delete this folder alone. This container folder might store settings that you don't want to reset to default by deleting them.
    – Joy Jin
    Feb 6, 2021 at 2:55
  • If you search the folder in the finder, "com.apple.Preview" will be localized such as Preview or Vorschau in german
    – marquies
    Apr 1, 2023 at 7:13

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