I wonder why Apple don't put all applications in an applications folder inside the Home-Folder. So they could offer a hole new mac for each user.

Every file is user specific, except for the applications. Is there a reason for this? Or just "too complicated" because every user want to have access to Safari and Third-Party Apps?

Is it just Apple or is it a UNIX design decision?

Is there an explanation/documentation/ operation system design?

  • If you just install all applications in a folder called Applications for each user - they can have their own copy of each and every third party application. I assume you are asking why Apple put Safari and other system apps that are delivered with OS X in /Applications rather than hiding it and hard linking each app to the home folder of each new user when you make them an account? (i.e. - what problem are you trying to solve here other than researching why a decision was made?)
    – bmike
    Apr 17, 2013 at 17:23
  • Actually no problems... i just wonder why. There is this great opportunity to separate each user and then they creat a "public" applications folder
    – ohboy21
    Apr 17, 2013 at 18:24
  • Join us in Ask Different Chat for any general discussions as well as questions that basically ask "why" - we close them as off topic on the main site since they end up not being useful when viewed in the definition of what we want Stack Exchange / Ask Different to be.
    – bmike
    Apr 17, 2013 at 19:42

2 Answers 2


Apple's design is not at all a traditional or typical UNIX layout for user files, user preferences or application files and preferences so I would say this is just Apple.

They do document exactly how developers are supposed to design OS X apps to take advantage of the "canonical" locations where files and preferences should be stored so that each user can decide to install any application in one or several locations.

  • /Applications
  • /Another volume/Aplications
  • ~/Applications
  • or anywhere else on the drive since on OS X - you don't need to place an application anywhere as long as the user can read from the folder - an app should run and store things in the proper pace (which is NOT in the application folder itself).

Here are three articles I would start with to learn more:


Not that long ago, the system came set up with an Applications folder in the Home Directory. I continue to keep one and recommend the practice for decluttering the main Applications folder of smaller and seldom-used apps.

  • With a setup like that, how do you solve the problem of several users wanting to use the same apps?
    – nohillside
    Apr 18, 2013 at 9:00
  • 1
    Users have access to /Applications. They can also have aliases galore in ~/Applications. But all Apple apps do want to live in /Applications, that's where updaters will look.
    – Zo219
    Apr 18, 2013 at 22:16

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