I just got a used Mac mini and am currently setting it up for me and my family to use. Before this, the only Mac in the house was my MacBook Pro and very rarely did anyone else use it, so I had the only account. Now, with the Mac mini, I'm giving all four of us user accounts and come across an annoying issue: we all share the same Applications folder. This is probably to save space on the hard drive, but I hate it.

What I'm looking to accomplish is to give everyone their own Applications folder, completely independent of each other (I can delete an app from my folder, but it will remain in everyone else's). Also, I need any new apps downloaded from the Mac App Store to go to the user's Applications folder, as well, but only to that user's folder. Also, I need each user's Launchpad to only show the apps from their folder.

Terminal commands are fine.

  • I think it would help to answer if you could explain why you want this, what is the problem you are trying to solve
    – mmmmmm
    Jun 28, 2016 at 8:17
  • 2
    @Mark It's just an annoyance. If someone downloads an app I know I'll never use, I should be able to hide it, so as to not clutter Launchpad and help me get to my own apps faster. Jun 28, 2016 at 14:16

3 Answers 3


It is easy.

If you download an app from the AppStore, the app will be installed in the /Applications folder by default, if you want to hide it from others, just move it to /Users/someone/Applications/ (which is your own or another users' application folder).

If the app is from a DMG file, just put it into your own (or other user's) Applications folder, and do not put it into /Applications folder.

The application would then appear only in someone's Launchpad.

  • 1
    Drag and dropping the app downloaded from the AppStore from /Applications to /Users/someone/Applications didn't work for me, it just created an alias. However, I discovered a workaround. Delete the app (move it to the Trash) and drag and drop it from the Trash into /Users/someone/Applications. May 19, 2018 at 21:09
  • 2
    @ZoltánMatók To move a file or folder, you should press the cmd button while dragging and dropping the file or even better, by selecting the file and pressing cmd+C and then pressing cmd+opt+V where you want to move it to.
    – Amr
    Oct 24, 2022 at 19:37

You can't really manage this. Unix is a multiuser system and apps are usually shared to save space and ease of maintenance.

Apple and apps from the MacOS Store will install in /Applications however only admin users can install or delete them. Thus you can make it so only you can install or delete.

However non Apple apps that are not via app store can be managed in the way you want if they are written correctly (i.e. there are exceptions) If the install process is just copy from a .dmg disk then they can be copied to ~/Applications


After a little research, this appears to be happening due to the applications being installed to the root Applications folder on the HD. /Applications folder and not the /Users/user/Applications folder. Typically applications will install to the user's Applications folder by default however this is not always the case.

Try installing an application specifically into a user's Application folder and see if that works for you.

  • 2
    I've never seen an app which installs to the user's application folder by default – except some Google web apps
    – klanomath
    Jun 27, 2016 at 23:54

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .