I have some executable files in OS X which I want to access from terminal from any area. For example in Linux, we can copy executables or binaries to /usr/local/bin or /usr/bin. So similar to that where can I copy executables in OS X? I have downloaded Firefox and copied it to /Applications. Now I want to execute Firefox from any area without going in to the /Applications.

  • /Applications is the central location. ~/Applications is per user.
    – Tetsujin
    Feb 29, 2016 at 14:59
  • I can see there is Firefox.app in /Applications. So now how can I execute firefox from terminal. Feb 29, 2016 at 15:04
  • 1
    open /Applications/Firefox.app
    – Tetsujin
    Feb 29, 2016 at 15:07

3 Answers 3


/usr/local/bin is a suitable path for non-GUI applications. For example, you might put rsync 3.0 in there as compiled 'rsync3'.

This folder is listed in $PATH by default.

  • 1
    Why did this get downvoted? This answer makes sense for me. Jun 26, 2016 at 21:42

While /Applications is the central repository for installed Applications on OS X, you can put any executable anywhere and launch them from anywhere within terminal so long as its directory is in your path.

The question is, why exactly do you want to launch things like a browser, which is graphical in nature from the command line?

If you just want to type the name of the application, simply invoke Spotlight by pressing Command+Spacebar and start typing. It's how I normally launch apps that I don't have in my dock.

  • It is not exactly firefox, but some other software I want to execute. My software is called ds9. In linux, I just copy executable file of ds9 to /usr/local/bin and then execute ds9 from anywhere without every time going /usr/local/bin. I was looking for something in MAC. Feb 29, 2016 at 15:19
  • A Linux executable most likely will not operate on OS X without a recompile (a Java app, "should," however) as they are two completely different architectures. Do you know if your application works in OS X? Can you provide a link to it?
    – Allan
    Feb 29, 2016 at 15:48

You could find all executable locations with the following command:

echo $PATH

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