How to find all Apps on Mac?

How to find and list all applications that exist in Mac computer storage?

In certain situations, you may need to know the number and type of applications installed on a Mac computer. This could be to check for malicious applications that are sometimes bundled with other software, or to list existing apps that might be occupying excessive storage space. If you have recently acquired a Mac, you may wish to know information about existing applications and this guide can help. Furthermore, if you are a keen or enthusiastic user, you can also manually check versions of installed software.

There are a number of ways to check all existing applications on the Mac as detailed here. The methods work with all versions of the Mac operating system. With the guidance offered, you can easily perform the checks. We start with simple methods, and then move to more advanced ones, which should present no problems if you carefully follow the steps within the guide. For example, we start with those requiring the least knowledge with Finder, and then walk through using Terminal and printing results into a text-based file on the desktop.

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Table of Contents:

Check installed apps via Finder

This is the easiest method, however, it also displays the least results: app names, date/time last modified, and size occupied on internal storage. Simply launch Finder and select the Applications folder from the left sidebar. Alternatively, press the keyboard shortcut of Shift, Command, and A. This will display all apps that were added through Mac App Store, came together with the operating system, installed through package managers, and manually attached by users via the drag-and-drop method. All user-level applications are included - enabling list view will allow you to freely scroll through existing apps.

finder-app-folder

Alternatively, Launchpad also serves to list applications and is one of the easiest way to locate apps for novice users. Note, however, that the Application folder is generally more useful for regular users. Furthermore, this method can be used to generate a list of all existing apps within a text-based file simply using a few keyboard shortcuts. In the applications folder, press the combination of Command and A to select all items within the window. Then press Command and C to copy the selection. Launch the TextEdit application using Spotlight - press the combination of Command and Spacebar, and then type TextEdit. In the text-based window, click on Edit in the menu bar at top of the screen, and then select Paste and Match Style.

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You can save and rename this file. The applications folder can help you to determine which apps you might force to close, without crashing the operating system. You can also delete software directly from this folder. Detailed information can be found in this article.

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Inspect the applications list through System Information

In you need more detailed information about each app stored on the computer, including system software, a more advanced method is available. This is simply a system report, and so you can use this option without fear of damaging the system, corrupting files, and so on. Therefore, you will not be able to delete or disable applications listed within the System Report. To access the information, hold down the Option (Alt) key on the keyboard and click the Apple logo in the menu bar at top of the screen. Then select System Information. In the new window, click on Applications under Software in the left sidebar. In the main area of window, you will see a list of all existing apps and additional information, such as version, source, where the app was obtained, and date/time of last modification. Clicking individual items in the list will display location in storage, information about the developer, and basic information expressed as a 'Get Info' string. User-level apps are displayed and also those necessary for system functions. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not delete or modify applications from this list, unless you are an advanced user (otherwise this could result in an operating system crash or making your computer inaccessible).

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Find all application using Terminal

One of the most efficient methods to find app information is via the built-in command line application called Terminal. This, however, does require some advanced knowledge. Using this app, you can access useful functions, ignoring restrictions and even protected folders. To list all existing applications, you can use the find function, sudo command, which will grant access to all user and system folders. Launch Terminal using Spotlight - press the keyboard shortcut of Command and Spacebar, type Terminal, and then press Return. Alternatively, go to the Utilities folder under Applications. Once the application has launched, type the following command and press return to execute it (you will be asked to enter the administrators password, since you are trying to grant super user permissions):

  • sudo find / -iname *.app

terminal-list-all-apps

Since there are many files using the .app extension within the Mac operating system, displaying all them within a Terminal window might force the app and/or your computer to freeze. Therefore, as an alternative, we recommend that you print the results into a text-based file using the following command:

  • sudo find / -iname *.app > ~/Desktop/ListAppFiles.txt

Using this syntax, all files that contain the .app extension will be written into the text-based file stored on the Desktop. You will also be able to find the location of those apps. This is probably the best option if you wish to check storage for possible malicious software - within the text file, you can use the Find function by clicking on Edit in the menu bar at top of the screen and selecting Find.

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Video Showing how to list all Apps on Mac

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter to stay informed about the latest tech news or online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

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