How to Create a List of Installed Applications on Mac: 4 Ways

Do you have dozens, if not hundreds of programs installed on your Mac, and you want to finally figure them out? No problem – all applications on your computer can be added to a single list in just a few seconds!

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To begin with, a few words about why such an operation is needed:

You bought a new Mac and want to set it up quickly. Before selling your old “poppy”, make a list of all available applications on it – and setting up a new computer will be much less painful, because you will immediately know what to install on your computer.

Your Mac is not performing well, and you are seriously considering reinstalling the operating system from scratch. In this case, the initial setup will also go faster, because you will have information about the necessary applications at hand.

You want to downgrade to an older version of macOS or share your list of apps with a friend or colleague.

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Method number 1. Finder and TextEdit

All system applications and programs installed by the user himself are located in the folder Programs… From there, it will be very easy to add them to our list.

1. Open Finder (via Spotlight search in the upper right corner of the screen or by clicking on the blue and white icon with smiling faces in the Dock)

2. Select the tab Programs or press the key combination ⌘Cmd + ⇧Shift + A

If the application icons in the folder are not displayed as a list, click ⌘Cmd + 2 or select from the menu bar View → List

Some apps in the folder Programs are in folders. To show them, click on the triangle to the left of each folder.

3. Click ⌘Cmd + A in order to highlight all applications in a folder.

4. Click ⌘Cmd + C in order to copy the names of all applications in the folder.

How to create a list of installed applications on Mac

5. Open a new document in TextEdit.

How to create a list of installed applications on Mac

6. From the menu bar, select Edit → Paste and match the style or press on the keyboard ⌘Cmd + ⌥Option (Alt) + ⇧Shift + V

Done – now all applications from the Applications folder in the Finder, including those in the folders, have been copied into a TextEdit text file. Note: some files in subfolders may not be applications. To get rid of them, go through the list and delete any files that end in .app.

Click on ⌘Cmd + S in order to save the file in TXT or RTF format. Ideally, this file is best saved to a cloud service (iCloud, Google Drive, etc.) or external storage.

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Method number 2. Terminal

The same task can be performed using the Terminal application:

1. Open the Terminal application (via search or via Programs → Utilities).

2. Enter the following command:

ls -la /Applications/ > /Users/[USERNAME]/Desktop/InstalledAppsTerminal.txt

The command writes the names of all applications to a text file at the specified path.

How to create a list of installed applications on Mac

Important: don’t forget to replace [USERNAME] to your own username on macOS. If desired, you can also change the path to the file and its name.

How to create a list of installed applications on Mac

Attribute -la tells the system to display a detailed list of all applications in the folder (-l)including hidden files (-a)… The result is a more granular list than Finder and TextEdit.

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Method number 3. Terminal – for all applications on the computer

Sometimes applications, after installation, do not end up in the Applications folder, but in other folders on your Mac. This happens especially often with programs that are not downloaded from the App Store. Fortunately, the capabilities of the Terminal allow us to create a list of all applications on the computer, regardless of their location.

In this case, the command for the Terminal will look like this:

sudo find / -iname '*.app' > /Users/[USERNAME]/Desktop/InstalledAppsOnSystemTerminal.txt

How to create a list of installed applications on Mac

As a result, the Terminal will find all files with the .app extension (“application”) and copy them into a special text file. Again, don’t forget to replace [USERNAME] to your username in the system. In addition, when entering a command, the system may ask for an Administrator password.

How to create a list of installed applications on Mac

If you need to restrict your search to a specific folder by adding the path to the desired folder to “/”.

You may encounter a system message Operation not permitted or Not a directory… They appear because the team find searches the entire system, and some of its sections deny access. Ignore such messages – you will still get your list of applications installed on your Mac.

The list also includes the full path to each .app file.

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Method number 4. List of all apps ONLY from the Mac App Store

If you only need “official” applications from Apple’s branded games and programs store, enter the following command in the Terminal:

find /Applications -path '*Contents/_MASReceipt/receipt' -maxdepth 4 -print |sed '; s#/Applications/##'

The command will force macOS to look for the corresponding application first in the Applications folder, and then in the Receipts folder (where receipts from paid applications purchased from the Mac App Store are deposited).

How to create a list of installed applications on Mac

The search results are displayed in the Terminal window. Unfortunately, it will not work automatically to send them to a text file, but this can always be done manually – simply by copying them using the command ⌘Cmd + C

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