How to make a list of installed apps on Mac

Updated : Dec 13, 2021

I will introduce some ways to make a list of apps installed on your Mac.

The installation destination of the apps is basically in the “Applications” folder, but there are apps that are installed in other locations, so this is a method that includes that as well.

List of how to make a list of apps and advantages / disadvantages

MethodAdvantagesDisadvantages
① Use Finder・Easy to use・Except for
“Applications” folder
② Use Smartfolder function・Can include anything
other than
the “Applications” folder
・It takes time
and effort
③ Use Terminal.app・Can include anything
other than
the “Applications” folder
・It takes less time
and effort than ②
・Nothing special
④ Use dedicated app
“List My Apps”
・Easy to use
・Easy to read list
・Can also see the version
and installation date
of the app
・Can export
to Excel or CSV
・Paid app only
($1.99 as of Dec. 2021)
・Need to install
Except for
“Applications” folder

① Use Finder

In the Finder of Mac, there is a function that you can paste the folders and files names by selecting them, copying their names, and pasting them into an editor such as “TextEdit.app” of the genuine Mac app.

Here are the steps to create a list of apps using this function.

In addition, here is the procedure when using “TextEdit.app”.

▶ Bring the Finder to the front, display the folder “Applications”, and click any app to make it selected.

Mac Finder

▶ Press the keyboard shortcut command ⌘ + A to select all items.

Mac US Keyboard
Click to enlarge

The following is the state where all items are selected.

Mac Finder

▶ With all items selected, press the keyboard shortcut command ⌘ + C.

Click to copy the contents to the clipboard, but nothing changes on the screen.

Mac US Keyboard
Click to enlarge

▶ Currently, all items are selected in the Finder, so click on the white part that has nothing such as an icon or label to cancel the selected state.

Mac Finder

The following is the deselected state.

Mac Finder

▶ Start “TextEdit.app” in the folder “Applications”.

Mac Finder "TextEdit.app"

▶ The file operation screen will be displayed when “TextEdit.app” is started.

Click the “New Document” button as shown in the figure.

Mac "TextEdit.app" New Document
Click to enlarge

▶ When “TextEdit.app” starts, select “Format” -> “Make Plain Text” from the menu.

Mac "TextEdit.app"
Click to enlarge

Below is an enlarged view around the arrow.

Mac "TextEdit.app"

▶ Click anywhere inside “TextEdit.app”, then press the keyboard shortcut command ⌘ + V.

Mac "TextEdit.app"
Mac US Keyboard
Click to enlarge

▶ As shown in the figure below, the contents saved in the clipboard, that is, the items in the “Applications” folder are pasted.

After that, give a file name if necessary and save it in a suitable location.

Mac "TextEdit.app"
Click to enlarge

This is the end of the explanation, “① Use Finder”.

② Use Smart Folder function

This is a method to create a list of apps for the entire Mac using the “Smart Folder” function that can be used as standard on the Mac.

“Smart Folder” is a function to extract folders and files that meet the preset conditions.

For example, you can extract image files created within the last week.

The following is the procedure using “Smart Folder”.

▶ Bring the Finder to the front.

When it is displayed, select “File” -> “New Smart Folder” in the menu bar.

Mac Finder
Click to enlarge

Below is an enlarged view around the arrow.

Mac Finder

▶ When the new smart folder setting screen is displayed as shown in the screen below, ① click “Search: This Mac” and ② click the + button.

Mac Finder "Smart Folder"
Click to enlarge

▶ One line will be added as shown in the screen below.

① Click the part labeled “Date added” and ② select “Kind” from the list.

Mac Finder "Smart Folder"
Click to enlarge
Mac Finder "Smart Folder"
Click to enlarge

▶ As shown in the screen below, the “Type” will be “Any”.

① Click the part marked “Any” and ② select “Application” from the list.

Mac Finder "Smart Folder"
Click to enlarge
Mac Finder "Smart Folder"
Click to enlarge

▶ When the application list can be displayed as shown in the screen below, the “Smart Folder” is complete!

① Click the “Save” button, ② give it a “name”, check ③ “Add To Sidebar”, and then ④ click the “Save” button.

Mac Finder "Smart Folder"
Click to enlarge
Mac Finder "Smart Folder"

▶ The “Smart Folder” you just created will be added to the sidebar, so click it if you want to display it.

When this “smart folder” is displayed, you can sort by clicking the “Name”, “Date Modified”, etc. pointed to by the arrows below.

Mac Finder "Smart Folder"
Click to enlarge

▶ You can copy and paste the “Smart Folder” created here by copying and pasting using “TextEdit.app” in the same way as “① Use Finder“.

For how to do it, refer to “① Use Finder” in the previous section.

This is the end of the explanation, “② Use Smart Folder function”.

③ Use Terminal.app

▶ Launch “Terminal.app” in “Applications” -> “Utilities” in Finder.

Mac Finder "Terminal.app"

▶ When “Terminal.app” starts, type or copy and paste the following command and press the return on your keyboard to execute it.

① For only apps in “Applications”

ls /Applications/ > Apps-AppFolder.txt

② For all apps in your Mac

sudo find / -iname '*.app' > Apps-All.txt

You will be prompted to enter the password when executing the command, so enter the password.

▶ When the command completes, a list will be created in the user folder, so open it with an editor such as “TextEdit.app”.

The resulting list looks like this:

For only apps in “Applications”

AVGAntivirus.app
Adobe Acrobat Reader DC.app
Android Studio.app
AppCleaner.app
... and so on

For all apps in your Mac

/usr/libexec/MiniTerm.app
/usr/local/git/share/git-gui/lib/Git Gui.app
/Library/Apple/System/Library/CoreServices/MRT.app
/Library/Apple/System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/MobileDevice.framework/Versions/A/AppleMobileDeviceHelper.app
... and so on

The command “ls” introduced here can be combined with options to display more information such as time stamps.

Details are introduced in the next article.

Macintosh Terminal Pocket Guide
Name ls — stdin stdout - file -- opt --help --version Synopsis ls The ls command (pronounced as it is spelled, ell ess) … - Selection from Macintosh Terminal...

This is the end of the explanation, “③ Use Terminal.app”.

④ Use dedicated app “List My Apps”

‎List My Apps
‎This app lists all purchased apps from AppStore that are installed on your computer. Features: • Show all applications from the folder «/Applications» (for th...

It is a paid app of $1.99 as of Dec. 2021. (Prices may change.)

Since I actually purchased and used it, I put a screenshots of the screen below.

List My Appsの画面
Click to enlarge
List My Appsの画面
Click to enlarge

In addition, the list can be exported in Excel or csv format.

This is the end of the explanation, “④ Use dedicated app List My Apps”.

Conclusion: :After all, which method is recommended?

Mr. Otter
Mr. Otter

If you just want to make a list of apps, I recommend “① Use Finder“.

However, since you will miss apps except the “Applications” folder, if you want to include all apps on your Mac, “③ Use Terminal.app” is a good choice.

Little devil fox
Little devil fox

② Use Smart Folder function” takes time to set up, so if you need to check it repeatedly in the future, you can use it.

In other words, “Smart Folder function” is programming in a broad sense, so it takes time to make the initial settings, but once it is created, it is convenient for repeated use.

If it is only once, I think that “① Use Finder” or “③ Use the terminal.app” are good choices.

Reference information

This is the end of this article.

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