I agree with the OP of the question How can I open a .pkg file manually? that it is not so nice to grant administrative privileges to software that you do not trust "completely". The following citation from /wiki/superuser gives further support for this.

Given that a superuser account has substantially more privileges than ordinary user accounts and can therefore make unrestricted, potentially adverse system-wide changes, the Principle of least privilege recommends that applications use an ordinary account to perform its work so as to improve system security and stability.

I have just downloaded Adobe Reader 11.0.10. After double clicking the .dmg and opening the disk image, only a file called Install Adobe Acrobat Reader DC.app is visible. When I start this, it prompts me with the "wants to make changes dialogue". So if I type my password here (being an administrator), the application can do absolutely anything.

With a .pkg file I do not mind entering the password of an administrator, because I can see exactly what operations require the privileges. Unfortunately an approach like the one in this answer does not work, because the .app file does not contain a .pkg file.

Question: Is there any way to get Adobe Reader without granting it administrator privileges?

  • Curiously, the .app directory does contain a file PkgInfo whose entire contents is APPL????. Dec 17 '15 at 11:07
  • All OS X apps have this file—it's nothing to do with the fact that it's an installer, or to do with the structure of a package.
    – grg
    Dec 17 '15 at 14:35

The 'Install Adobe Acrobat Reader DC.app' you downloaded is an online installer.

This means that the installer downloads Adobe Reader when you run the installer, such that the installer always installs the latest version, even if you run an older installer. This is why the installer is only ~2 MB, which is nowhere near enough to store Adobe Reader within, even compressed. Thus, there's no Adobe Reader inside that you can extract.

What you actually want is the offline installer, available to download from the Enterprise site:

Select the version of OS X and your language, and you will be able to download the full installer of over 100 MB. Inside is your standard pkg that you can extract.

  • This still asks for an admin password to install :(
    – Gezim
    Oct 16 '18 at 18:32

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