Library questions

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by OldMarketMeg, Dec 24, 2016.

  1. OldMarketMeg macrumors member


    Dec 19, 2016
    More questions! :)

    In Finder, I see Macintosh HD in the sidebar. That is my internal hard-drive.

    To the right I see..
    - Applications
    - Library
    - System
    - Users​

    My understanding is that Macintosh HD > Library represents sshaared library files for all users, right?

    So what does Macintosh HD > System represent?

    And what does Macintosh HD > System > Library represent?

    As far as I know, Macintosh HD > Users > Meg P > Library represents all of the library files associated with my username (e.g. customizations of the desktop or Finder), right?

    All very confusing! :confused:
  2. KALLT macrumors 601

    Sep 23, 2008
    /System is meant for the system, that is all you need to know. You very rarely have to touch it and for the most part the system will stop you from changing anything in there. /Library is the library for all users, /Users/<user>/Library is just for you. You can put stuff in /Library if you want to make it available to all users.

    For example, consider fonts. They can be put in either of these places: /System/Library/Fonts, /Library/Fonts, /Users/<user>/Library/Fonts. You will be able to use the fonts when they are located there, e.g. in your word processor. Apple puts the core system fonts that the system and system applications need into the /System directory, other fonts are placed into /Library. You can install your own fonts in /Library (for all users) or /Users/<user>/Library (just for you).

    In some places, there is also a cascading hierarchy in there. For example, /Users/<user>/Library can supersede /Library, which itself can supersede /System/Library. If you install a font with the same name in all of these places, the system will give the font that it is in your user library precedence. It does not work like this for everything, but some.

    As a rule of thumb, on single-user systems, you can mostly install everything into your user library. If you were sharing a Mac, you could be using the /Library directory as well.
  3. OldMarketMeg thread starter macrumors member


    Dec 19, 2016

    If I was describing what the System folder contains or represents, what would I say?

    Does it store just settings for the OS, or iis it more like programs and scripts?

    Can root access System?
  4. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    The simple answer: The System folder contains the (macOS) operating system.
    There are a few settings stored in the System/Library folder, but the bulk of settings - those used system-wide - are stored in the /Library folder. Settings and files that are part of your user, mostly are stored in your own user Library folder, and in other folders within your user folder.
    Most of the apps that are installed by the system, and apps that you might add and install to the system, are stored in the /Applications folder. Some items that get installed may be placed in the System folder, although that is uncommon, unless it will be some app that requires system-wide usage. Normally you don't do much, if anything, in the System folder.

    Of course, the root user is the highest level of user in your system, and will let you damage your system to whatever level will help you remember not to do that the next time :D
  5. KALLT macrumors 601

    Sep 23, 2008

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