Home > Mac administration, macOS > The macOS user template directories have a new filesystem location on macOS Catalina

The macOS user template directories have a new filesystem location on macOS Catalina

New users on a Mac have a certain set of default settings which are copied into their user profiles the first time they log in. Starting with Mac OS X 10.0.0, these settings have been stored in the following location:

/System/Library/User Template

Screen Shot 2019 10 14 at 11 33 55 AM

Inside the User Template directory are a number of language-specific directories where the default settings for various languages are stored. This allows the new user’s default settings to be appropriate for their language and keyboard configuration.

As of macOS Catalina 10.15.0, the location of the User Template directory has changed to the following:

/Library/User Template

Screen Shot 2019 10 14 at 10 55 23 AM

The reason for the change is that the /System directory is now stored in Catalina’s read-only volume for the OS. By moving it to /Library, the User Template directory and its enclosed language-specific directories remain readable and writable for those folks who prefer to deploy settings by making changes to the user template directories.

Categories: Mac administration, macOS
  1. October 14, 2019 at 4:19 pm

    This is great information, thank you, Rich! I was thinking to myself, “what’s happening to User Template if it’s now in a read-only /System folder?”

  2. JimH
    October 16, 2019 at 3:20 pm

    Hmmm…and how friendly does that play with things like deploying Safari and other browser settings with something like Jamf? Under Mojave people were seeing user profiles getting corrupted.

  3. cashxx
    October 21, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    Not sure why, I have had updates wipe the /Library/User Template/ a few times while configuring things. Keeps resetting /etc/ssh/sshd_config as well.

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