Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

Using OSX 10.8.4., I am having a hard time finding a complete list of all software applications installed on my Mac. Of course, the Launchpad only shows the list of those that have an app shortcut created, excluding those that do not. I also tried holding down the Option key while in the Apple Menu to change About This Mac to System Information, then Software-->Installations but that still was not a complete list.

How do I get a complete list of all applications installed?

share|improve this question
The thing with OS X is that you generally don't 'install' most applications aside from ones from the Mac App Store or a few others from companies like Adobe or Microsoft. Most apps are just things you download in a ZIP or DMG file and drag/drop to your Applications folder. That Applications folder is where apps are almost always located and would be as complete of a list as you'll get. – David Aug 13 '13 at 17:00
There's a subtle complexity to what you're asking here and that is: what is an "application"? Are you looking for all .app bundles on your system? Or do you want a list of anything a user can execute? – Ian C. Aug 13 '13 at 17:14
If you were to add what you plan to do with this list of Applications once you have it, I'm curious to see if the answers would better target your needs since the idea of an App is quite fuzzy and open to interpretation. – bmike Aug 23 '13 at 14:41
I'm not OP, but my definition would be a list of everything that will work as an argument to open -a. – Mark Reed Dec 6 '15 at 4:43

13 Answers 13

Try: About This Mac > More Info > System Report > Software


enter image description here

Not only "Installations" ... but the others may give you some info, too.

share|improve this answer
For me, the "Applications" tab had a better list, which took a second to appear. – mattdipasquale Nov 12 '14 at 3:46

If you're just looking for a list of applications with a .app extension then starting the Terminal and running

   find / -iname *.app > ~/applications.txt

will (eventually) give you a pretty comprehensive list of applications, written to a text file called "applications.txt" in your Home folder.

share|improve this answer

From the command line, try system_profiler(8):

> system_profiler SPApplicationsDataType

Here is a snipet showing Safari:


  Version: 7.0.2
  Obtained from: Apple
  Last Modified: 2/25/14, 3:44 PM
  Kind: Intel
  64-Bit (Intel): Yes
  Signed by: Software Signing, Apple Code Signing Certification Authority, Apple Root CA
  Location: /Applications/
  Get Info String: 7.0.2, Copyright © 2003-2014 Apple Inc.
share|improve this answer

It is unclear from the OP question whether he/she is looking for the easy answer or the hard answer. The way to get almost all the apps into a convenient list would be:

  1. Open Terminal
  2. Enter ls /Applications for a simple alphabetic list, or ls -l /Applications for more information:

    Ewans-Retina-MacBook-Pro:Applications ewan$ ls /Applications
    1000 OpenType        Garmin                  Garmin    Sequel
    A Better Finder Rename   Garmin
share|improve this answer

These commands listed the same applications on my installation:

mdfind -onlyin /
system_profiler SPApplicationsDataType|sed -n 's/^ *Location: \(.*\)/\1/p'

Both were missing some application bundles inside application and framework bundles.

lsregister included more applications inside other application bundles, but it also included applications that have been deleted and applications on a Time Machine volume:

/System/Library/Frameworks/CoreServices.framework/Versions/A/Frameworks/LaunchServices.framework/Versions/A/Support/lsregister -dump|awk '/^bundle\tid/{getline;sub(/^\tpath: */,"");print}'

This finds more applications inside other bundles, but it doesn't match applications that don't have a .app extension:

sudo find -x / -type d -name \*.app
share|improve this answer

Open the terminal, and write the following commande sudo find / -iname *.app It's the same answser than "binarybob" but with the sudo you can access and list some folders you can't do without administrator rights. Your password will be asked and you get the benefits of the sudo "rights" if your account is an admin account.

For example, with find / -iname *.app I get 430 lines, and with sudo find / -iname *.app I get 432 lines. It's an example on my computer and maybe the result will be the same whatever the commande for you.

share|improve this answer
However this will also get backups if those disks are mounted e.g. TimeMachine disks – Mark May 6 '14 at 16:36
  1. LaunchPad should show all apps in /Applications; they don't have to have a "shortcut" created to appear there.
  2. You can look directly in /Applications and /Applications/Utilities.
  3. System Information has a Software > Applications section in the sidebar that'll show an even more complete list, including apps stored in unexpected locations (I think it's using Spotlight to find them).
share|improve this answer

Simple answer I just created from all the answers above.

ls /Applications > Desktop/applications.txt
share|improve this answer
Why the down vote? – Vinozio Aug 4 '15 at 8:26



share|improve this answer
Applications can be installed outside the /Applications folder. – Scot Jan 31 '15 at 17:47

Using plistbuddy you can get some information and parse through it for the things you need.

This will get all installed apps/utilities with their version numbers and put it in a text file for you.

    for i in /Applications/*.app
         Printf "$i \t" | cut -c15-1000
      /usr/libexec/plistbuddy -c Print:CFBundleShortVersionString: "$i"/Contents/info.plist

    for u in /Applications/Utilities/*.app
         Printf "$u \t" | cut -c25-1000
      /usr/libexec/plistbuddy -c Print:CFBundleShortVersionString: "$u"/Contents/info.plist
)   >${USER}Applist.txt
share|improve this answer

Use "List My Apps". This Little App Show all Apps from the iTunes AppStore.

share|improve this answer
This only shows apps purchased from the Mac App Store though. – grgarside Feb 18 '14 at 11:17

The application folder.. Just go in to the appplication folder

share|improve this answer
Applications can be installed outside of the Applications folder. – Ian C. Aug 13 '13 at 17:13

finder>applications . simple as that

share|improve this answer

We're looking for long answers that provide some explanation and context. Don't just give a one-line answer; explain why your answer is right, ideally with citations. Answers that don't include explanations may be removed.

So simple that it misses any applications not installed in /Applications... – patrix Jul 23 '15 at 8:02

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.