What are .nib files and what is their function?

The file extension .nib stands for NeXT Interface Builder.

Today I had a question from a reader who has had files with the extension ".nib" in his trash for a long time, which simply could not be completely deleted. The finder probably always meant the reason that the files are needed by the system. The reader's question was how to delete these files so that the trash can finally be empty again.

The file extension .nib stands for NeXT Interface Builder.

The file extension .nib stands for NeXT Interface Builder.

Permanently delete .nib files

When it comes to deleting these files, all I can do is mine older post referring to the apps "Trash it!" and "CleanMyMac"recommend to delete files that simply cannot be deleted beforehand.

My Finder search for files with the extension .nib only found hits in an old Filemaker Pro installation.

My Finder search for files with the extension .nib only found hits in an old Filemaker Pro installation.

Origin and function of the nib files

When I asked the reader, what still interested me was where these nib files come from and what functions they perform on the Mac. I didn't know that right away either, but luckily there are various forums in which such questions are clarified. So I was able to find this info:

.nib files are basically created by the Interface Builder (part of the Apple Developer Tools). (Source)

… and …

The format of the NIB (NeXT Interface Builder) objects.nib and keyedobjects.nib files is proprietary to the best of my knowledge.

classes.nib and info.nib are simply plist files, but these are only used for editing. People like me delete the info and classes files on a release. (Source)

That helps a bit. The files can therefore be opened with the Xcode developer tool. When I searched for .nib files on my Mac with macOS Mojave, I only found them in an old version of Filemaker Pro 11, where these files were in the "Extensions" folder.

If you open the information about a NIB file, you can see that the file is from 2010.

If you open the information about a NIB file, you can see that the file comes from 2010. File

For my reader, however, it is interesting: You can delete them without hesitation if they are already in the trash. And I could read that the information that was previously stored in .nib files is now saved in text-based .XIB files. That seems to be the case with Interface Builder Version 3.

If you want to read more in-depth, English-language information on the NIB format, you can visit the Apple site for developers watch. There is more about the anatomy of files, interface objects and the file user. Here is a small excerpt:

The following sections describe how nib files used with the AppKit and UIKit frameworks are organized, the types of objects found in them, and how you use those objects effectively.

 

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