Using OSX 10.8.4., I am having a hard time finding a complete list of all software applications installed on my Mac. Of course, the Launchpad only shows the list of those that have an app shortcut created, excluding those that do not. I also tried holding down the Option key while in the Apple Menu to change About This Mac to System Information, then Software-->Installations but that still was not a complete list.

How do I get a complete list of all applications installed?

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    The thing with OS X is that you generally don't 'install' most applications aside from ones from the Mac App Store or a few others from companies like Adobe or Microsoft. Most apps are just things you download in a ZIP or DMG file and drag/drop to your Applications folder. That Applications folder is where apps are almost always located and would be as complete of a list as you'll get. – David Aug 13 '13 at 17:00
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    There's a subtle complexity to what you're asking here and that is: what is an "application"? Are you looking for all .app bundles on your system? Or do you want a list of anything a user can execute? – Ian C. Aug 13 '13 at 17:14
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    If you were to add what you plan to do with this list of Applications once you have it, I'm curious to see if the answers would better target your needs since the idea of an App is quite fuzzy and open to interpretation. – bmike Aug 23 '13 at 14:41
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    I'm not OP, but my definition would be a list of everything that will work as an argument to open -a. – Mark Reed Dec 6 '15 at 4:43

15 Answers 15


Try: About This Mac > More Info > System Report > Software


enter image description here

Not only "Installations" ... but the others may give you some info, too.

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  • 3
    For me, the "Applications" tab had a better list, which took a second to appear. – ma11hew28 Nov 12 '14 at 3:46

If you're just looking for a list of applications with a .app extension then starting the Terminal and running

   find / -iname *.app > ~/applications.txt

will (eventually) give you a pretty comprehensive list of applications, written to a text file called "applications.txt" in your Home folder.

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    this will show recursively all bundles used internally by installed applications and that is probably not what the op wants. so instead of counting Xcode.app as "one application i installed", find will return 242 (on my installation) under it. even a simple ls /Applications will give a more accurate number in terms of what really is installed. – minusf Feb 9 at 22:51

From the command line, try system_profiler(8):

> system_profiler SPApplicationsDataType

Here is a snipet showing Safari:


  Version: 7.0.2
  Obtained from: Apple
  Last Modified: 2/25/14, 3:44 PM
  Kind: Intel
  64-Bit (Intel): Yes
  Signed by: Software Signing, Apple Code Signing Certification Authority, Apple Root CA
  Location: /Applications/Safari.app
  Get Info String: 7.0.2, Copyright © 2003-2014 Apple Inc.

system_profiler can also output to XML (plist(5) format) that can be easily parsed. For this, use the -xml parameter. Here is a updated Safari fragment in this format:

    <string>10.0, Copyright © 2003-2016 Apple Inc.</string>
        <string>Software Signing</string>
        <string>Apple Code Signing Certification Authority</string>
        <string>Apple Root CA</string>
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  • What's the proviso here? If I just drag a .app directory into /Applications, what has to happen so that system_profiler will see it? – ghoti Apr 10 '19 at 15:58
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    @ghoti spotlight indexing must be enabled and also spotlight must have spotted the new application and indexed it. system_profiler returns an emptry result if indexing is disabled. – minusf Feb 9 at 22:54

These commands listed the same applications on my installation:

mdfind kMDItemContentTypeTree=com.apple.application-bundle -onlyin /
system_profiler SPApplicationsDataType|sed -n 's/^ *Location: \(.*\)/\1/p'

Both were missing some application bundles inside application and framework bundles.

lsregister included more applications inside other application bundles, but it also included applications that have been deleted and applications on a Time Machine volume:

/System/Library/Frameworks/CoreServices.framework/Versions/A/Frameworks/LaunchServices.framework/Versions/A/Support/lsregister -dump|awk '/^bundle\tid/{getline;sub(/^\tpath: */,"");print}'

This finds more applications inside other bundles, but it doesn't match applications that don't have a .app extension:

sudo find -x / -type d -name \*.app
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It is unclear from the OP question whether he/she is looking for the easy answer or the hard answer. The way to get almost all the apps into a convenient list would be:

  1. Open Terminal
  2. Enter ls /Applications for a simple alphabetic list, or ls -l /Applications for more information:

    Ewans-Retina-MacBook-Pro:Applications ewan$ ls /Applications
    1000 OpenType Fonts.app        Garmin MapInstall.app    ScreenFlow.app
    1Password.app                  Garmin MapManager.app    Sequel Pro.app
    A Better Finder Rename 8.app   Garmin WebUpdater.app    Server.app
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  • while this gives an acceptable ballpark figure, it will miss for example all system utilities under Utilities/, and all other programs installed into a subfolder (e.g. Intel Power Gadget) – minusf Feb 9 at 22:56

Open the terminal, and write the following commande sudo find / -iname *.app It's the same answser than "binarybob" but with the sudo you can access and list some folders you can't do without administrator rights. Your password will be asked and you get the benefits of the sudo "rights" if your account is an admin account.

For example, with find / -iname *.app I get 430 lines, and with sudo find / -iname *.app I get 432 lines. It's an example on my computer and maybe the result will be the same whatever the commande for you.

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  • However this will also get backups if those disks are mounted e.g. TimeMachine disks – mmmmmm May 6 '14 at 16:36

Using plistbuddy you can get some information and parse through it for the things you need.

This will get all installed apps/utilities with their version numbers and put it in a text file for you.

    for i in /Applications/*.app
         Printf "$i \t" | cut -c15-1000
      /usr/libexec/plistbuddy -c Print:CFBundleShortVersionString: "$i"/Contents/info.plist

    for u in /Applications/Utilities/*.app
         Printf "$u \t" | cut -c25-1000
      /usr/libexec/plistbuddy -c Print:CFBundleShortVersionString: "$u"/Contents/info.plist
)   >${USER}Applist.txt
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  • How to run it? Please add more steps in your answer. – Hemang May 25 '17 at 10:33
  1. LaunchPad should show all apps in /Applications; they don't have to have a "shortcut" created to appear there.
  2. You can look directly in /Applications and /Applications/Utilities.
  3. System Information has a Software > Applications section in the sidebar that'll show an even more complete list, including apps stored in unexpected locations (I think it's using Spotlight to find them).
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Simple answer I just created from all the answers above.

ls /Applications > Desktop/applications.txt
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  • Why the down vote? – FastSolutions Aug 4 '15 at 8:26
  • Applications can be installed outside the /Applications folder. – mmmmmm Feb 15 '19 at 21:55
  • it's a duplicate – historystamp Feb 15 '19 at 21:58

I know the question has been asked 4 years ago, several answers have been given, each one tries to solve the problem differently (via GUI or CLI) but none of them is complete.

Yesterday in my company, every macOS user was asked to provide:

a list of all applications installed on their OS X / macOS systems for a software audit

To make the process consistent, easy and complete, everyone ran the same command in terminal

ls -l /Applications | open -ef &&  ls -l /usr/local/bin | open -ef

Above command opens 2 files in a default text editor with a list of all installed apps as well as list of all “executables which should also be considered as applications.

I think that this provides the most comprehensive solution for a given problem. It’s quick and does the job.

To provide more detailed answer let’s finally go through all commands and arguments so that everything is clear to those who are scared with using terminal.

The ls command simply lists directory contents. In this case /Applications as well as /usr/local/bin - this location is for programs that a normal user may run.

Argument -l displays the list in a “long format”. More about “long format" can be found here.

Next we have a pipe symbol |. It separates two programs on a command line so that listed output can be next opened in another program. In this case using open command.

The open command simply opens files and directories but combined with -ef:

  • -e Causes the file to be opened with /Applications/TextEdit
  • -f Reads input from standard input and opens the results in the default text editor.

Finally combination of both lists is glued together with && which allows to execute multiple commands at once so finally we end up with a "one line" terminal command.

enter image description here

Hope this helps and provides detailed explanation.

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  • Applications d I not have to be in /applications – mmmmmm Feb 15 '19 at 21:54

Try running this in Terminal (/Applications/Utilities/Terminal.app):

mdfind "kMDItemContentType == 'com.apple.application-bundle'" -onlyin $scope

# $scope is your search range
# this command will only search all the applications under the given scope if -onlyin is specified

This is a search query that searches items with the given metadata predicate kMDItemContentType == "com.apple.application-bundle", it will give you a full list of all application bundles (.app) in your given scope, or if -onlyin is not provided, the global scale (including external/network drives) will be used.

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Use "List My Apps". This Little App Show all Apps from the iTunes AppStore. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/list-my-apps/id756968964?l=de&ls=1&mt=12

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  • This only shows apps purchased from the Mac App Store though. – grg Feb 18 '14 at 11:17



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    Applications can be installed outside the /Applications folder. – Scot Jan 31 '15 at 17:47

The application folder.. Just go in to the appplication folder

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    Applications can be installed outside of the Applications folder. – Ian C. Aug 13 '13 at 17:13

finder>applications . simple as that

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  • So simple that it misses any applications not installed in /Applications... – nohillside Jul 23 '15 at 8:02

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