.plist Files for iCloud Synced Apps Corrupt/Missing in OS X 10.11.5
July 14, 2016 1:06 PM   Subscribe

Half the apps on my iMac that sync with iCloud have corrupt or missing .plist files that prevent them from launching. Signing out of iCloud, restarting, and logging back in to reset synced data did not resolve problems. Running First Aid on drive returns no errors. What next?

Affected Apps:
  • Calendar
  • Contacts
  • Photos
  • Mail
Launches But Can't Sync:
  • Notes
Launches and Functions Correctly:
  • Reminders
  • Safari
  • iTunes
  • Facetime
  • Messages
Sample Problem Reports:
  • Sandbox creation failed: The file “com.apple.mail-shared.plist” couldn’t be saved in the folder “Preferences” because a file with the same name already exists.
  • Sandbox creation failed: The file “com.apple.iCal.plist” couldn’t be saved in the folder “Preferences” because a file with the same name already exists.
  • Sandbox creation failed: The file “com.apple.iPhoto.plist” couldn’t be saved in the folder “Preferences” because a file with the same name already exists.
  • Sandbox creation failed: The file “com.apple.AddressBook.CardDAVPlugin.plist” couldn’t be saved in the folder “Preferences” because a file with the same name already exists.
When I use System Services to reveal the path for these .plist files in Finder, Finder tells me that "The alias '~.plist' can't be opened because the original item can't be found."

Neither deleting the alias nor fixing it helps; deleting creates new problematic .plist aliases, fixing isn't currently an option because I can't find the original files being referenced.

Googling the above Error Report strings yields little to no salient hits. Help!

I have spent the last 3 weeks trying to rebuild this system after bad RAM corrupted my drive. I only just got Bootcamp reinstalled successfully today, and when I rebooted into OS X, this new problem hit out of the blue. Would really like to fix this on my own before I embark on the soul-crushing task of a) reinstall the damn system all over again, and/or b) make a Genius bar appointment.
posted by Hermione Granger to Technology (5 answers total)
 
I'm sorry, but I think you'll probably have to reformat your hard drive. As you've found out, bad RAM means that there's probably been a bunch of bad data written all over the drive, but not in a way that would make Disk Utility complain. If you have a backup from before the bad RAM was in the machine, or otherwise know when the RAM went bad, that could be handy, but yeah.

You might be able to at least backup important files now, and then do a full reformat and reinstall. This way, the system files themselves (including the .plists) will be guaranteed pristine. Then, you'd just have to worry about your documents and media.
posted by destructive cactus at 3:16 PM on July 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


The thing is, the drive has been erased and reformatted twice already since removing the bad RAM and replacing it. I put a completely pristine installation of El Capitan on it a few days ago. I'm perplexed as to why my
Admin Profile's gotten corrupted already without me doing much else on my end, you know?
posted by Hermione Granger at 3:29 PM on July 14, 2016


Ah, I didn't see that in the post. If that's the case, I'd look into wiping my iCloud account of any files it may have mirrored during the bad RAM era. A cursory googling doesn't show me how to do that, though. But yeah, that's my suspicion: iCloud is trying to push corrupt settings down to your computer.
posted by destructive cactus at 4:51 PM on July 14, 2016


Hm, I poked around a bit: if you go to the iCloud Preference Pane, and click 'Manage' in the lower-right, you're given a list of apps that are using iCloud for document and preferences storage.

Backing up your actual documents first, maybe try deleting this iCloud storage for a few offending apps and see if that solves the .plist problem.
posted by destructive cactus at 4:57 PM on July 14, 2016


Thanks very much for your help! As it turned out, my whole profile and my applications had become totally corrupted, so I restored just those two folders from a backup I'd done earlier in the week, and everything's fine again. Installing Bootcamp may have effed something up, but now things appear to be stable so all is well. <3
posted by Hermione Granger at 4:34 PM on July 17, 2016


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