I like to keep things neat in my computer, so when I started to have too many apps, I decided to create subfolders within my /Applications folder and move tings around.

Sometimes, I got asked to enter my password.

Sometimes, softwares upgrades won't work. Or sometimes they create duplicates. Sometimes things seem to get messed up.

I guess my question is, is it considered good to create folders there? What's the best way to handle this?

2 Answers 2


It's not really considered "bad" to put folders there, but (as you've seen) it can cause problems with some apps.

The reason the updates are failing: The installer/updater looks for an app in the /Applications folder and doesn't find it. So, it assumes the app is not yet installed and that you are trying to install the whole app from the update, so it fails.

Alternatively, the app could be duplicated because the updater doesn't find the app and decides to install a new copy.

To avoid this problem, here's what I recommend:

Create another "organized apps" folder somewhere.
Make folders in it as you have in your /Applications folder.
Open one Finder window to /Applications and one to your new one.

Select ten apps from your Applications folder. Right-click and choose Make Alias. Give it a second. Then, drag the aliases you've made into the new folder. Repeat this (ten apps at a time) with the rest of your /Applications folder.

Now, you've got 'links' to all your apps in your new folder. Organize them how you want. You can now double-click the aliases in that folder to launch the apps they correspond to. Feel free to re-name and reorganize these aliases as you want.

Note that, with this method, updates should work. You will, however, have to manually add each app you install to the other folder.

  • I like this method, you can change the icon for an app (alias) without mucking things up this way.
    – Phil M
    Jul 31, 2011 at 19:23
  • @PhilM The actual bundle icons will still be used in most places, like Dock, Launchpad and the application switcher.
    – Lri
    Aug 1, 2011 at 11:33
  • You can get a custom Dock icon to work if you drag the customized alias onto the Dock.
    – Phil M
    Aug 2, 2011 at 3:56

I personally like putting things in ~/Applications so just create an Applications folder in your home folder and move your non-apple applications there. Even if you install an app using the Mac App Store you can move it there after it installs and it will continue to update.

  • If @nute has apps that don't like being reorganized within /Applications, I don't imagine they'll like being moved out of the folder altogether... Jul 31, 2011 at 17:28
  • Sure, it's possible. Any apps that don't have installers or use drag and drop install are usually okay to move. Apps that have the requirement that they reside in a specific directory usually say so, or should.
    – B Morin
    Jul 31, 2011 at 17:56

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