system_profiler SPApplicationsDataType provides a list of Applications that spotlight knows about. This is also available form the System Report in About this Mac

One of the fields for each application is Kind

What exactly is this?

The values here are

  • Apple Silicon, Intel, Universal which correspond to the CPU the application was compiled for.
  • 32-bit (Unsupported) for executables in a Windows VM.
  • Other for Eclipse and some other things, many but not all not fully compiled programs e.g. written in Java or Python (but again there are exceptions both ways)
  • iOS - this includes apps from the iPhone/iPad store which are pure IOS (written before Catalyst) some apps that I assume are Catalyst - both of these make some sense but there are lao ones which are purely for macOS e.g. Emacs (the Mitsuharu port), VisualCode, dosbox-x, DrRacket.

The ones I want to know more about are iOS and Other. Now some of them are from the MacAppStore and are iPad/iPhone apps which makes sense.

However some are plain compiled C and are Apple Silicon only. What exactly makes system_profiler think they are iOS? (ie what has to be changed to make them recognised as Apple Silicon not iOS) Some were built by other people and their build system is not Xcode so I need to report the problem upstream.

Just for fun I have 3 versions of Emacs - which are all different Intel (which is understandable), Other and iOS.

  • It’s going to be interesting with Mac Catalyst based apps and others all in the mix officially - developer.apple.com/mac-catalyst
    – bmike
    Sep 28, 2021 at 10:52
  • So that is 3 different types now getting Kind = iOS - Where is this all documented?
    – mmmmmm
    Sep 28, 2021 at 12:24
  • My hunch is still on Mac Catalyst apps show up as iOS on macOS which would be very confusing. I'll try to dig more but hesitate to answer yet... Super question - I expect to learn something (maybe several good things) from this line of inquiry. You can see the application bundle type created from Xcode can be targeted for Mac Catalyst, macOS, iOS, iPadOS, WatchOS and several others.
    – bmike
    Apr 24, 2023 at 18:42
  • Yes Catalyst might show as IUOS which is sort of reasonable but why do Emacs and VisualStudio, dosbox-x which are not Catalyst
    – mmmmmm
    Apr 24, 2023 at 18:47
  • Googling gives me that this info is old and PowerPC is also a valid value for Kind (and Universal can include that) - so can Kind differentiate between PPC #@ and 64 bit as a question for addition points
    – mmmmmm
    Apr 24, 2023 at 19:20


You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .