MacMost Now 819: Running Multiple Instances Of the Same App On Mac

For most apps you can simply open multiple windows or tabs to edit or view separate documents. But some apps only let you have one window open. Sometimes when using apps like Safari, it is useful to be able to isolate windows from each other in case one crashes. Learn how to use the Terminal window to launch multiple instances of the same app. Learn how to then use Automator to create an app that will do this for you automatically.

Comments: 11 Responses to “MacMost Now 819: Running Multiple Instances Of the Same App On Mac”

    Johan-Martijn
    7 years ago

    Gary, you hit the nail again! So many programmes allow only a single window – especially 3D and architecture that half the time you’re opening and closing various files instead of allowing side-by-side designs. Not anymore! Your Terminal/Automator solution works like a charm! Thank you so much. And it’s good for (Apple) business as well; a second monitor now comes in really handy!

    Marcia
    7 years ago

    For Safari I just type command N for a new Safari window. Seems easier. What is the difference?

      7 years ago

      If Safari crashes, all windows close. If you have two copies of Safari open, one to run that “tricky video site that always seem to crash” and one that has other windows, then only the tricky app window crashes, and the rest are unaffected.

      Rich O
      7 years ago

      Comm+N only opens a new window within Safari. When you do what Gary is talking about it creates a “Copy” or “Clone” of the Safari App. It would be similar to having Safari open on 2 diff computers. Let’s say that you do your important browsing in one, but in the other copy you decide to visit a questionable website. Well, if either window crashes, the other running “Instance” is unaffected. Whereas, if you did this with Comm+N and it crashed, all that you were doing in Safari would be lost.

        Rich O
        7 years ago

        You beat me to it Gary. I was in the middle of typing. lol.

    Constance Brennan
    7 years ago

    Worked like a charm for Safari (thank you), but I couldn’t get it to work for iTunes where it would be very helpful when buying music & wanting to check my Music folder to make sure I don’t already own it.

      7 years ago

      I can understand why it won’t work with iTunes. With iTunes you would be trying to open the SAME document — your iTunes Library. You can see why you wouldn’t want to have two different running apps toying with the same iTunes library.

        Johan-Martijn
        7 years ago

        But I can also see why Constance came up with the question. In former days and versions you could tear off one or more playlists and see them in their own window while shopping around and comparing in the iTuners store. You can’t do that anymore, and that’s a real bummer.

    Joe Bee
    7 years ago

    Gary, Very valuable podcast. I use the CLI and “open” but was unaware of “-n” and the powerful role it plays.
    Closely related issue: figuring out what’s running in Mountain Lion. Three common views confuse this:
    1) COMMAND/TAB lets you switch, but not see the window you’ll be going to; its the most exhaustive.
    2) Mission Control, (Control-UP) lets you see some but not all of the windows you can switch to.
    3) Application windows (Control-DOWN) offer another set.
    Offer a podcast?

    Jerry
    7 years ago

    Gary – easy to get this running with apps like calculator, but I can seem to get it to run for Microsoft Outlook. Using this text “open -n /Applications/Microsoft Office 2011/Microsoft Outlook.app”
    Any help would be very appreciated!

      7 years ago

      It may not. Outlook may prevent you from doing that. In fact, I’d be surprised if it LET you. After all, an email client is a complex connection between your computer and the email server — having two such connections could lead to trouble, corruption, lost data, crashes, etc. Same with accessing a single “library” of data (iTunes, iPhoto, etc).

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