While developing a macOS application that lists folder contents I found that macOS Monterey does not list folders properly. Some files and folders are simply skipped.

For example: /Applications/Utilities contains 22 items when I look in the Finder:

Activity Monitor.app
Adobe Application Manager
Adobe Creative Cloud
Adobe Creative Cloud Experience
Adobe Genuine Service
Adobe Sync
AirPort Utility.app
Audio MIDI Setup.app
Bluetooth File Exchange.app
ColorSync Utility.app
Digital Colour Meter.app
Disk Utility.app
Feedback Assistant.app
Keychain Access.app
Migration Assistant.app
Script Editor.app
System Information.app
VoiceOver Utility.app

But when using /bin/ls /Applications/Utilities only 7 are shown:

-rw-r--r--  1 root  wheel    0 May  9 23:30 .localized
drwxr-xr-x@ 4 root  wheel  128 Oct  9  2019 Adobe Application Manager
drwxr-xr-x@ 8 root  wheel  256 Oct 21  2020 Adobe Creative Cloud
drwxrwxr-x@ 3 root  wheel   96 Oct 21  2020 Adobe Creative Cloud Experience
drwxr-xr-x  4 root  wheel  128 May 20 13:01 Adobe Genuine Service
drwxrwxr-x@ 5 root  wheel  160 Oct 21  2020 Adobe Sync
lrwxr-xr-x  1 root  wheel   64 Oct 21  2018 Feedback Assistant.app -> /System/Library/CoreServices/Applications/Feedback Assistant.app

At first I thought I missed the fact that .app files are really folders and therefore not shown, but /bin/ls /Applications DOES show all apps.

I also considered permissions may be different but even when running using sudo nothing changes. Even granting the Terminal full disk access in the System preferences changes nothing.

What is going on?


1 Answer 1


Since Catalina, applications live in /System/Applications and /Applications. The first folder is sealed, the second folder is updatable. The Finder gives the illusion that both folders are merged into a single folder.

To get both directories in one ls, use

ls -d {/System,}/Applications/*

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