In macOS a library is a place where you find resources and those resources can be things like fonts or preferences or files that support the function of applications. macOS has always been a multi-user operating system. It was designed from the beginning to not only support more than one user account on a computer, but to function entirely as if it belonged to the user currently using it. On every Mac as many users as necessary can have a personal user experience on that Mac with their own user account. When logged into their account the user will have their own unique desktop picture and Dock arrangement and potentially their own fonts. It works like this, each level is a different domain. The system uses the resources it encounters first when looking for that resource in the following order. Users is the first level searched in the system when looking for resources. If the item required is found at this level the search ends, the resource is used and any other matching resource at a lower level in the hierarchy is not found or used. If no matching resource is found there at the user level the search continues in the local level library. That level is then followed by the nearly never used and now deprecated network level library. And then finally the pristine for Apple use only system library. So remember the order: user, root, network, system. Remembering this search order can help you to understand why elements are loading in the order they are and why some files may be present, but ignored by the system. Later on when we start talking about pre-populating preferences for systems in our fleets, you'll benefit from knowing the order each area will fall into when the system is in use.


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