Is there an app which shows contents of a .pkg file and shows which files an installer copies to my mac, what scripts it runs and so on?

2 Answers 2


Yes, there's a shareware app called Pacifist ($20). I've used it for years, and it works wonderfully well (even on old Macs).

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Alternatively, you can download a free QuickLook extension for blazing fast previews of packages. It's called SuspiciousPackage.

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  • I see this was edited to say that Pacifist is shareware, but you can use it for an indefinite period of time without purchasing the software. In a sense it's nagware. Commented Apr 1, 2012 at 21:03

You can extract package files and sort through their contents without actually installing them. To do this, you can often just right-click on a .pkg file and select “Show Package Contents” – but that isn’t always displayed.

If that option is unavailable, you can extract .pkg files using a command line tool called pkgutil that is bundled with OS X. Launch Terminal.app and enter the following:

pkgutil --expand /path/to/package.pkg /output/destination/

Hint: you can drag & drop items into the Terminal to print their full path, making this tip easier by typing: pkgutil –expand [drop file here] /destination/path/.

After that, you can go to the output path in the Finder and check out the extracted files.


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