How to Recover from Contacts Freezing when Printing Lists in Sonoma

Originally published at: How to Recover from Contacts Freezing when Printing Lists in Sonoma - TidBITS

If you try to print using the Lists style in Contacts in macOS 14 Sonoma, Contacts will freeze and require force-quitting. Worse, if Contacts gets stuck on Lists style, you won’t be able to print at all. Here’s how to recover.

I wouldn’t recommend that method – it may work, but it may not and can lead to frustration and confusion when it doesn’t. As with many low-level issues, Howard Oakley has a fantastic write-up of the situation. The summary is that from MacOS 10.9 onwards, the system caches preference values in memory, and there is no guarantee the file you change will be re-read. It may also be overwritten with the cached values from memory.

So the only way to edit preference values and be sure they will stick is using the system APIs. The defaults command listed in your article achieves this. But for a more approachable way to edit preference values and ensure they are properly synced with the cache, I highly recommend Thomas Tempelmann’s free Prefs Editor app (also mentioned in Howard’s article).


Thanks for the reminder! I’ll de-emphasize this approach in the article. I did test it extensively while writing, and it never had any issues, but defaults write seems easier anyway.

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I agree. To be quite honest, I simply forgot about the defaults write approach. Plists are easy to modify in Xcode, which is what I used to test the approach I suggested.

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Contacts will print the list if you set it as “Labels”. It looks just the same as far as I can tell from the preview at the side of the print dialog.
Pity this article came out the week after I did all the Christmas cards! I set it up for next year, entering all the names and addresses in my Christmas Card book into Contacts and then tried a test print as ‘Labels’ but on plain paper. There were some oddities, like cut-off postal codes and the line for country (lots go abroad) wasn’t shown. So I downloaded Cardhop and got it installed with some difficulty (two hours before the verification e-mail came). Not pleased with the amount of nagging it does to get me to subscribe, but it does print all addresses perfectly, even the longer ones are shrunk to fit. So I ordered some Avery Standard 5260 labels and the next day I printed off all the labels for next Christmas!

I just us MSWord with Labels format

Don O’Shea

Another reason to hold off upgrading to mac 14 Sonoma.

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This bug is now fixed in macOS 14.3.