Today I discovered quite by accident that several applications are now stored in /System/Applications/. I realized this when I was trying to find the bundle ID of a built-in application, and even though it appeared in the Applications folder it was missing entirely from /Applications! I suspect this change might have come when I recently upgraded to macOS Catalina, but perhaps it was even earlier than that.

Which version of macOS introduced the /System/Applications directory? And where is this documented?

1 Answer 1


This is part of a larger macOS Catalina feature wherein system files/apps are located on a read-only filesystem and user data is located on a read/write filesystem. This is to further protect the operating system against malicious or inadvertent damage (i.e. to prevent security problems and OOPS! moments).

The read-only and read/write filesystems are stitched together to present as one unified filesystem through some underlying filesystem and logical volume "magic".



You must log in to answer this question.

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