I am on Mavericks (1.9.2) and I just noticed a folder called Applications in my home folder, i.e. I have a folder /Users/me/Applications. This folder is empty:

cd Applications
ls -a
./          ../         .localized
cat .localized
ls -lh
drwx------   3 me  staff   102B 19 Apr 21:08 Applications/

I was wondering how did this folder came into being... this is admittedly a purely academic curiosity before I get rid of it.


Anything can create ~/Applications.

It's usually used to store apps that you don't want to (or can't because you're not admin) install globally on the system. The folder doesn't exist by default, but if created it will be given a custom icon like /Applications. Any app on the system can create this folder and since no record of what app created it exists you probably won't know.


/Users/<username>/Applications or ~/Applications is your user's Applications folder. Much like your Desktop, Documents, et al., this folder is local to the user and can be changed by (natively) only that same user. Very nice if you want to install an application for only yourself and no one else.

/Applications is your system-level Applications folder, visible and accessible by all users on the system. To make changes on the system-level, you must authenticate as an admin.

grgarside is right: the folder isn't there by default. You can add it yourself or an installer (e.g. Spotify's installer) can create it for you.


Just to add a little more context to the answers above... The only time I've ever seen any apps appear in here was when I installed older Adobe Air apps. I think the new Air subsystem properly places apps in the primary Applications folder. If you want an application only available to you (your user account) and not to other users you'd want to put the Application ~/Applications instead of the globally accessible /Applications folder. On OS X you can run an application from anywhere, so these aren't really super special folders as much as they're default folder locations with the purposes listed by "thankyour" already.

  • Google Chrome apps (not the browser itself!) are contained in there. – Max Ried May 15 '14 at 6:26

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