After making a change to something in gsettings, is anything to be done to make the changes take effect?

For example, if I have thumbnails in ~/.thumbnails dating back a few days, will running:

gsettings set org.gnome.desktop.thumbnail-cache maximum-age 1

cause thumbnails older than one day to be immediately deleted?

Another case would be turning off a notification by accident and then wanting to restore the default as in:

gsettings reset org.gnome.nm-applet disable-vpn-notifications

Depending on the nature of the key modified, will a log out and log in or a reboot be required? Is there a way to find out other than by trial and error?

My OS is Lubuntu 13.10.

  • I thought a guiding principle of Gnome was that settings take effect immediately... perhaps I am wrong, I don't use Gnome. Jan 1, 2014 at 16:48

2 Answers 2


GSettings API truly provide bind, sync and signals. But it's up to application developers to use them (get/sync) or when to used them or to listen to change-events (periodically sync, get once on app loading then sync on app terminating...). Ref: GIO Reference Manual

Any update for a value, it will be stored immediately in dconf user:db. GSettings daemon will send change signals (glib signals). Application side, depending on its implementation.


  • Most services reload settings on restart.
  • Keyboard layout was implemented to reflect change immediately. It should be anyway.

Nice question here with simple bind test What is the schema XML file in the data/glib-2.0 folder of my Quickly application?

Note: There was a talk about GSettings to work with dbus too, may be it already implemented. Ref: https://jasondclinton.livejournal.com/76020.html


The new settings are recorded immediately. When they take effect depends on what the setting is and what application uses it. If the setting is for a system service, it will usually take effect when the service is reloaded. If the setting is for an application, it will usually take effect when the application is closed and re-opened. In the case of a cache folder as per your example, the cached files will remain there until the cache is cleared, which may happen periodically or the application may validate the cached files when opened.

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