So my trusty Linux box died after 10 years of faithful service. The memorial will be Friday afternoon.

Anyway, I am moving to a Mac (lesser of two evils - a Win 10 machine was the other option), and I don't think I want to run Linux on it directly - I booted with a live cd of Mint 18 and the video resolution was wonky and no extra drivers to install. So OS X it is.

My issue is that I've got LOTS of settings, etc. for various apps (all cross platform - firefox, thunderbird, geany, filezilla, virtualbox, netbeans, android studio, etc) that I'd like to move over as well. I've pulled the drive my /home directory was on, so I have all of the files.

Some things are trivial - my ssh private keys and config file for connecting to various hosts still go in ~/.ssh

But most of the other apps I can't find where to put my data/settings/preferences/profile files. Where do these go on OS X? I opened terminal and looked in my home directory, there is no ~/.mozilla or ~/.filezilla etc directory.

closed as too broad by Michael Homer, Jeff Schaller, mdpc, Stephen Rauch, muru Dec 15 '17 at 7:41

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • "Where do I find these" is on-topic here, but "where do I put them" probably isn't. Ask Different might be more suitable, but this looks a bit broad at the moment in any case ("where do I put settings for various apps, etc?"). – Michael Homer Dec 13 '17 at 22:50
  • @MichaelHomer - so "Where does Netbeans keep its user specific configuration on OS X" is ok, and "I have a copy of my Netbeans user-specific settings, where do I put it on my new OS X machine" isn't? Huh... who woulda thunk – ivanivan Dec 13 '17 at 23:02
  • I'm not sure that would be ok either. The help center lists the scope as "The Unix foundation underlying OS X (but generally not frontend application questions)". Where settings are stored on macOS is more a frontend application question. – Michael Homer Dec 13 '17 at 23:04

In OS X, there is a hidden directory ~/Library, whose subdirectories will contain that kind of user settings. This is for historical reasons: it is similar to pre-OS X versions of MacOS used to do.

Here is a MozillaZine KB article that has the exact paths for Firefox on Windows, Linux and Mac:


  • I think the ~/Library may work - is this the standard place for preferences if I'm not seeing the traditional ~/.appname directories? – ivanivan Dec 13 '17 at 23:03
  • Yes, it's the standard for native Mac-style programs. Unix-style programs that have been ported to Mac OS X may still use the traditional Unix conventions. – telcoM Dec 13 '17 at 23:10
  • Actually some other directories under ~/Library, but this got me working. – ivanivan Dec 15 '17 at 14:22

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.