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My Applications folder is getting very cluttered, and I would like to organize. Step one: move all the internet tools to an "Internet & Network" folder. Chrome, check. Firefox, check. Facetime...what's going on?

When I try to move Facetime it creates a duplicate in the new directory, leaving the original still sitting like a fat cat in the Applications directory. But that's not all: many other apps refuse to move either (TextEdit, Safari, Photos, etc etc).

How can I move these apps? Sounds simple, but apparently it isn't.

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  • Which version of macOS are you on, the steps to change this vary based on major release. You’ll have to undertake significant changes on Monterey if you’re current
    – bmike
    Commented Aug 20, 2022 at 20:18
  • It might be worth looking at one of the 'dock replacer' apps - I put out a list request on Software Recs a few years ago - softwarerecs.stackexchange.com/questions/58667/…
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Aug 21, 2022 at 8:18

2 Answers 2

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Simple advice - don’t attempt to organize the Applications folder.

macOS has protective methods in place to keep this from happening, as you have experienced first hand.

If you want create some order out of the chaos you think exists, create aliases of the apps you want to organize conceptually, then put the aliases in folder, (perhaps in ~/Documents,) with conceptual titles, lastly drag the folders into the Dock for easy access.

I created the conceptual folders with conceptual icons, too, years ago, using an app which has fallen by the wayside. I can't even remember its name. You can always use the "Display as Stack" Dock option, too.

enter image description here

I, myself, do this for various conceptual groupings: Final Cut Pro, Compressor, Logic Pro X, Motion in one folder for Apple creative apps; InDesign, Photoshop, Acrobat for Adobe apps, etc.

This has worked like a charm for me for more than 15 years.

enter image description here

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    There is an App that provides menu bar menus onbe of which you can configure by dragging aliases to it to make categories. This is Xmenu Baically it foloows the same use of aliases as in this answer
    – mmmmmm
    Commented Aug 20, 2022 at 20:52
  • Seems like this is the best suggestion so far. Kind of hacky (as you noted) as it bypasses the point of an Applications folder, but it'll certainly work.
    – SMBiggs
    Commented Aug 22, 2022 at 19:39
  • Launchpad, tagging and using the sidebar are also excellent ideas, as expounded by bmike.
    – IconDaemon
    Commented Aug 23, 2022 at 11:17
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You get to arrange apps in your home folder and not the system folder. If you can’t use LaunchPad to make your apps organized there are other methods for Finder.

Update your sidebar to contain the applications folder you prefer of a launcher or smart search doesn’t work.

You could tag each app you want to see with a tag of your choosing and then use them as dock and finder sidebar favorites.

This works on all recent versions of macOS including the ones with a sealed system volume making it time and risk prohibitive for most to tamper with / change or delete system apps.

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