Why Do Macs Have Multiple Applications Folders?

On a Mac you have a main Applications folder, but also a folder for each user account. If you look at the main Applications folder carefully, you'll also notice that some of the app are actually not located there, but in another Applications folder.

Comments: 9 Responses to “Why Do Macs Have Multiple Applications Folders?”

    Bill Wisse
    1 year ago

    Interesting. I checked my Home folder and found the application folder and to my surprise, I see all Windows 11 applications there. Apparently Parallels is using that. About 10 months ago I downloaded Parallels but decided not to go ahead and uninstalled it but look what was left behind.

    roger
    1 year ago

    thank you for help and support

    1 year ago

    Bill: Are you sure those aren't just links to launch that app in Parallels? It wouldn't make sense for Parallels to store the actual application files there. But I think you can opt to have links so you can launch those apps from there.

    nick
    1 year ago

    Gary, I have an open source app (very safe, widely used research app) in the Application folder. This app contains a number of sub-folders for various tools, plugins etc. however they don't show up by default in Finder. I have to select Show Package Contents in the context menu, then the folders show up. Is there a setting for showing these sub-folders by default? thx

    1 year ago

    nick: No. Usually if something is inside a package it is not meant to be accessed directly by a user. What is the reason you need to go in there? Isn't there a way to access all of it from inside the app?

    nick
    1 year ago

    There are various folders for Java scripts, macros etc, some things can be installed through the app's menu, but others are installed by dragging files into a specific folder. I know these folders are meant to be accessed by users, I was thinking it might have had something to do with my Mac's security settings or finder options.

    Nick Harrowing
    8 months ago

    Mac Drive has 'Applications' 'Library' 'System' and 'Users'. Opening Applications in finder, There is 'Applications', 'Applications2' 'Brother' & Utilities folders followed by 68 ***.apps. Open this 'Applications' folder shows a complete list of the first subdirectories, that is 4 folders and 68x .apps. Opening this Applications folder repeats everything again. (same for the Applications2 folder This goes on and on (I stopped at 12 subdirectories. Note only one user. Is this right?

    8 months ago

    Nick: I have no idea why you have an Applications folder in your Applications folder. It seems to be an alias back to the original folder too, not a real folder. At least that's what your description would suggest. If you really want to figure it out I would have an expert take a firsthand look (or Genius Bar). Or, just ignore it if it isn't causing any trouble.

    Nick
    8 months ago

    Gary Thank you for your quick response and advice. Great channel by the way, my family really appreciate the advice and insights. Regards Nick

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