Application folders: home vs system

Discussion in 'macOS' started by buckuxc, Feb 27, 2006.

  1. buckuxc macrumors regular

    Aug 28, 2003
    I was reading earlier today (I believe in a thread on here, but I can't find it) a discussion about where to put one's applications. I've always had them in the Applications folder that is listed on the side of the Finder window. It was only a few months ago that I realized why there was an Applications folder in my Home folder and one under Macintosh HD, and that all of my apps were in the latter.

    However, I remember reading earlier today that people put the applications they downloaded into the ~/Applications folder rather than the other. This was supposedly better for backup purposes. I did this after the reinstall, but now I'm wondering why.

    Could anyone give pros and cons to this setup? Thanks.

  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Apr 3, 2004
    Adelaide, Australia
    I keep them in the default sidebar Applications folder (system, not home) so that all users (I actually only have one) can use these apps. :cool:
  3. tag macrumors 6502a


    Apr 29, 2005
    PA, US
    I'm wondering did you create that folder yourself (~/Applications)? I checked both iMacs in my house and my powerbook and none had an ~/Applications folder. (Though really you could keep apps anywhere).

    Pros/Con wise the only one I could think of would be other users wouldn't have access to the apps stored in ~/Applications, though that could be either a Pro or a Con depending how you look at it.
  4. WildCowboy Administrator/Editor


    Staff Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    Basically just repeating what tag and others already said...

    In general, there should only be one "Applications" folder, in the top level directory. Applications in an "Applications" folder under a home directory would be restricted to that user only if you have multiple users enabled on the machine.

    An "Applications" folder in the home directory does not exist in the basic Mac OS installation. To my knowledge, such a folder would have to be created by the user. It is of course also possible for an installer program to create this directory, but I'm not aware of any that do.
  5. frankblundt macrumors 65816


    Sep 19, 2005
    South of the border
    There is the issue of accessibility as previously mentioned, but also security.

    If you set up two users, an admin (who installs the apps and has edit/change rights over them, does maintenance etc) and an every day "managed" user that you use for everything else, then in the odd case like the recent Trojan episode, the apps can't be modified without you typing in the Admin (owner's) password and you are less likely to accidentally do something disastrous to your system.

    And you can set up additional managed accounts for casual use, with severe limits on what they can and can't do.

    With managed users you can limit who has access to what apps, even when they're all in the "public" apps folder.

    Installing apps in the user folder on the odd occasion when i've done it has so far always proved to be royally inconvenient at some other point later on. Actually, the only time i really got carried away with it was when i was on a managed account myself and wasn't permitted to install my wonky software into the system apps folder, so had to put it in my user folder..
  6. stridey macrumors 65816


    Jan 21, 2005
    Massachusetts, Connecticut
    Sometimes OS X makes one on its own, and sometimes it doesn't. Simply make a folder called "Applications" in your home folder, and it'll recognize it as an applications folder (and give it the right icon). As others have said though, it's probably a better suggestion to use the standard /Applications.
  7. Project macrumors 68020

    Aug 6, 2005
    I actually created an Applications folder when I thought I had trashed my Apps when accidentally moving the folder from the Finder sidebar. Thats bad usability by the way - making it go 'poof', with no explanation as to what happened. This was as a Mac newbie.

    Then I realised a couple of weeks later that I had 2 Applications folders. The original which was still there and the one I created. I simply moved all the apps to the proper Apps folder from my home folder, and then trashed it.

    Its important to make sure they are in the Mac HD > Apps folder, especially Apple applications. Thats where system update looks. If the apps are elsewhere, they wont trigger an update.
  8. stridey macrumors 65816


    Jan 21, 2005
    Massachusetts, Connecticut
    <aside>Yeah, same with the Dock poof</aside>

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