How to Disable the Finder’s Preferences menu option

To add another to my ever growing ‘how to disable’ defaults-write series, here’s another to restrict the Finder.

If you want to prevent a user from modifying the Finder’s preferences, one option is to enter a simple command to simply hide the Preferences option in the Finder menu.

To disable the Finder’s ‘Preferences’ option, all you need to do is enter the following command using the Terminal Application from /Applications/Utilities:

defaults write ProhibitFinderPreferences -bool true;killall Finder

The Finder should quit. To re-open the Finder, click on the Finder icon in the Dock and the ‘Preferences’ option will no longer be available in the Finder’s application menu:

how to disable finders preferences

If you do want to revert back to the default setting and bring back the Preferences option in the Finder, just enter the following command:

defaults write ProhibitFinderPreferences -bool false;killall Finder


While the author has taken care to provide our readers with accurate information, please use your discretion before acting upon information based on the blog post. Amsys will not compensate you in any way whatsoever if you ever happen to suffer a loss/inconvenience/damage because of/while making use of information in this blog.

This feature has been tested using OS X v10.8.4 which was the latest Mac OS release at the time of writing.

2 Replies to "How to Disable the Finder’s Preferences menu option"

  • Nick

    This is great, thanks for the post.

    Do you know if there is a way to configure Finder Sidebar and push to all users?

    Remember doing once before with Plists but was some time ago.

    Need to get this to work with Yosemite.


  • Russell

    Hi Nick.

    For tips on applying settings to multiple users, have a read of my colleagues blog titled ‘Best practices in 2015: Managing settings in Mac OS X & iOS’ at

    You can do all this manually, but it will take a while. Steps listed below :

    Once you have entered this Unix command to modify the current user’s Finder settings,
    you could just copy the created preference file from your user’s library preferences folder into each user’s Library Preferences folder so that each user has the same preference.

    alt-click the ‘Go’ menu in the Finder and select ‘Library’. Then open the ‘Preferences’ folder and find the ‘ file. Copy this file, then log into each other user and paste this file into other user’s Library Preferences folder.

    Good luck!


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