Q&A: Hanging Contacts

Q A couple of weeks ago I had a disk problem and had to re-install everything from a backup. Ever since then, Contacts launches but hangs when I try to use it. My System Log contains multiple references to com.apple.ShareKitHelper crashing after the file com.apple.finder.plist could not be saved. How can I fix this?

A Restoring your disk contents has left a problem in one of the copies of the file com.apple.finder.plist, and that is causing the ShareKitHelper process to crash, stopping Contacts in its tracks.

Try some limited surgery first: with the Opt key held down, open the Finder’s Go menu and select Library, to open your Home folder’s Library.

In that, locate two copies of com.apple.finder.plist: one in the Preferences folder, the other in Containers/com.apple.ShareKitHelper/Data/Library/Preferences (which is in fact a link not a real file). Move both of those to a location in your Documents folder and restart.

If the problem persists, you will need a more drastic solution which will remove most of your app preferences, so make a note of any important settings before trying this. Then move the whole Containers file from your Home folder Library into Documents, and restart.

Comments This sequence of log entries shows that, when Contacts tries to start up, the Finder preferences file (or, rather, one copy of it) needs to be saved. Because that fails, it causes the ShareKit Helper process to crash, which then causes Contacts to hang.

When preference files cause this sort of problem, the best answer is to locate and remove them, so that next time a fresh and hopefully fully-functional Property List will be created, and will in turn allow everything to work properly, and Contacts to run normally again.

Apps which run in a Sandbox store their settings and other private material in the Containers folder. Trashing the whole folder is a drastic measure and should be avoided if possible, but sometimes disentangling which files are causing a problem from within the folder can be very tricky.

Updated from the original, which was first published in MacUser volume 30 issue 05, 2014.