Does anyone know why Adobe Reader requires a permissioned installer application, rather that simply existing as a self contained macOS application bundle?

What system level configurations is the installer making changes to, and why does Adobe feel they are needed for a simple PDF reader?

  • 1
    At the very least it registers the auto-update service. As far as "why," nobody but Adobe can answer that.
    – tubedogg
    Oct 4, 2016 at 18:51

1 Answer 1


The Acrobat Reader installer not only installs the application itself into /Applications but contains a bunch of other packages which need to get installed into other places (e.g. browser plugins). These things can't get installed by just using a simple application bundle (at least not as easily).

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  • 1
    It would be nice if homebrew (or some other package manager) could script the installer to just extract the reader and ignore the plugins and the updater.
    – WildGunman
    Oct 5, 2016 at 4:03
  • @patrix By the way - which program did you use to inspect the package? It sound very useful.
    – Rainer
    Oct 6, 2016 at 11:29
  • 3
    @Rainer The application is called Pacifist
    – nohillside
    Oct 6, 2016 at 11:39
  • I've used Pacifist before to extract components and drivers from old OSX images. It's pretty great.
    – WildGunman
    Oct 6, 2016 at 18:19

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