From the XScreenSaver collection, https://www.jwz.org/xscreensaver/, we have the interesting Apple ][+ simulator.

According to its description, it can also be run as an application. But how?

If I use Finder to go to /Library/Screen Savers, Apple2.saver is present but running it just gets me the System Preferences / Desktop & Screen Saver screen.

If I get a Terminal and try to execute /Library/Screen\ Savers/Apple2.saver/Contents/MacOS/Apple2 I get an error "-bash: /Library/Screen Savers/Apple2.saver/Contents/MacOS/Apple2: cannot execute binary file". Adding the arguments to it that will probably make it behave in the way I want ("-text -program /bin/bash") obviously isn't going to help, we're not getting that far.

But it appears to be a valid MacOS binary, and runs just fine as a screensaver:

$ file /Library/Screen\ Savers/Apple2.saver/Contents/MacOS/Apple2 /Library/Screen Savers/Apple2.saver/Contents/MacOS/Apple2: Mach-O 64-bit bundle x86_64

Back in Finder, if I "Show Package Contents" and then look at Contents/MacOS/Apple2 it shows as a "Unix executable" and will start up a Terminal when double-clicked, resulting in the same error output.

What should I be doing?

  • 2
    The app is separate to the screen saver. Look inside the original .dmg/screen savers if it didn't copy over to Apps [I don't want to run the 'install everything' just to see where it goes]
    – Tetsujin
    Nov 25, 2019 at 7:35
  • 1
    Excellent! Yes, I found both Apple2 and Phosphor in there, as Applications, and they work just fine by default. Also it looks like they got installed into /Applications and I was just over-thinking life.
    – Jim
    Nov 25, 2019 at 23:04
  • 1
    Confirmed: I deleted /Applications/Apple2 and re-ran the "Install Everything" script from the download - Apple2 was re-installed to /Applications. Looks like you could provide this as an Answer @Tetsujin so I can accept it.
    – Jim
    Nov 25, 2019 at 23:05
  • 1
    Done. I padded it as far as I could, but it still sounds a bit terse. I did end up installing the whole lot & have them set to Random. Some of them are quite fun :)
    – Tetsujin
    Nov 26, 2019 at 10:08

1 Answer 1


The two savers that can run as apps are actually supplied as separate apps, you don't need to pick apart the .saver files to get them to run.

Using the 'Install Everything' option will install Apple2 and Phosphor to your regular Applications folder. Double-click to run, like any other app.

You must log in to answer this question.

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