How to create a "smart" Applications folder that unifies the content of other three folders?

In my machine I have three versions of OS X installed (for testing purposes) in different partitions, each having their own /Applications folder. How can I create a single "unified" view of these three folders that contains a union of all three? Preferably filtered to only those applications that can run in the current OS X version (as in the one currently running).

Thanks in advance.

  • I don't think your filter can be done unless you keep a manual list of what runs on what OS. Nothing in the OS knows what apps can work or not on this OS.
    – user588
    Apr 20, 2012 at 2:13
  • @mankoff There is an information in the app's Info.plist that indicates which minimum OS version that's needed for the app.
    – adib
    Apr 29, 2012 at 3:32

1 Answer 1


You can access the partition folders from /Volumes (as mentioned below). To create the folder, you can do so by creating an Automator Folder Action such as this one:

Folder Action Create a new Automator Folder Action and set the path to the Applications folder of the Volume. Then, drag the "Get Folder Contents" action in, and check "Repeat for each subfolder found." Then, drag in a "Copy Finder Items" action, and modify the path to your choosing. Check "Replace existing files" so that if you have duplicate applications in each of your /Applications folder you won't get an error. NOTE: this will override any application data.

I created this one, but all you should have to do is to clone it three times (for each of the partition folders) and then modify the paths. You can also change whether the apps should overwrite other apps. I hope that this answers the question better than my other answer! I'll see if I can come up with some better solutions. Also, I don't think that you will be able to filter the apps based on the OS X version.

  • You can access other partitions just fine. They'll be under /Volumes.
    – user588
    Apr 20, 2012 at 2:12
  • @mankoff I improved my answer. Do you find this to be better? Apr 20, 2012 at 2:37
  • Yes but why not paste code here?
    – user588
    Apr 20, 2012 at 4:02
  • Code? It's a folder action... Apr 20, 2012 at 11:37
  • Ok. I thought it was AppleScript.
    – user588
    Apr 20, 2012 at 14:29

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