When in Terminal and cd to "Applications" and typing "ls" nothing comes up however when cd to "/Applications" and typing "ls" all the applications come up, would someone be able to explain why the / for only applications makes a difference.


New shells start in your home directory by default, i.e. /Users/username (~). You then specified a relative path to change directory, Applications, which changed directory to /Users/username/Applications.

This is a different folder to the system-wide applications folder at /Applications. When you cd /Applications, the leading slash provides an absolute path rather than relative path, starting at the top of the volume rather than the current working directory (which is your home folder for new shells).

  • Thank you so much – Nisula Feb 28 at 11:31
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    As @grg has explained there are two different application directories, but the majority of installed programs will be located in /Applications directory and not in the ~/Applications directory. For a quick way to open applications from the /Applications in terminal, you can enter open -a applicationname and it should open the desired application from the command line. :) – AVelj Feb 28 at 12:06

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