Windows users have the luxury of being able to load a flash drive with specially-modified "portable" applications, which run and keep all data contained on the flash drive so that moving them from computer to computer doesn't change the experience or modify the host computer at all. In the past I have gotten various apps from portableapps.com for this purpose.

Now that I'm a Mac owner, I wonder, is there an equivalent for Mac? At first thought I figured applications could just be copied from the Applications folder onto a drive, since they are self-contained; but I do know a little bit about how they actually store preferences in other directories and some even store things in the Library folder and stuff like that. So applications aren't truly natively portable, even if they require no installation.

Are there any portable Mac apps out there? Are there some recommended websites for these apps?

  • If some person tells me how to have a nice portable Firefox on my Mac, this person will have my eternal gratitude. Jun 20, 2013 at 20:39

2 Answers 2


Big list of Portable Mac Apps here

And if you use Google, you'd find those, and many many other sites...


There's a portable Firefox for Mac; I don't know about anything else. It seems that portable Mac apps aren't as useful as portable Windows apps, as you'd usually use portable apps on a kiosk computer or on a loaner computer, and there are very few kiosk/loaner Macs around.

  • That's Firefox 4 now. Too old for me. We are at the Firefox 20s now. Jun 20, 2013 at 20:46
  • @NicolasBarbulesco You did notice that I posted this answer two and a half years ago? If it's such a problem, maybe find a portablized more-recent version and post your own answer. Or just downvote the answer as no longer useful and get on with life instead of being a whiny ass.
    – Cajunluke
    Jun 20, 2013 at 23:13
  • CajunLuke, thank you for your so useful and so polite answer ! I don't not know what I would you without you. Jun 20, 2013 at 23:31

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