Can’t find an app on your Mac? Pinpoint it with System Information

This utility collates all apps and their locations in your system.

system information mac icon
Apple

While software programs usually live in the Applications folder in macOS, they can be found all over the place. That’s because some apps are really tiny utilities that applications or services require and which shouldn’t be launched by a user. Others have to be in a particular folder to be accessible by Safari or other software.

If you’re trying to clean out unneeded and unwanted apps, or are engaged in a 32-bit purge—see our article on the need for that in the upcoming macOS 10.15—you can use System Information to help.

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System Information reveals location details among other data about each app.

This utility gathers all the detail about hardware and software on your computer, including applications. It also reveals where each app is located, but you have to take a few extra steps to navigate to the app.

  1. Hold down the Option key and select the  menu, and then select System Information.

  2. Click on the Applications link in the left navigation bar under Software, and wait for the spinner in the lower-right corner to finish and the list to fill out.

  3. Select any app you want to reveal or remove. (You can also select more than one to generate a list in step 4.)

  4. In the pane below the list, System Information shows a variety of details about the app. One of those items is Location. Use your cursor to highlight the text from the first slash to the last one, just before the app name and then copy it. (See example below.)

  5. In the Finder, select Go > Go To Folder and paste that path in.

  6. The folder containing that app now appears in the Finder.

For instance, I have a number of old Adobe apps, mostly related to updating and registering Adobe apps, that remain orphaned in various places, like the detritus washed up on a beach after a storm.

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Now use Go To Folder to open the folder containing the app.

One of them is AAM Registration Notifier.app. In System Information, I find the Location field reads /Applications/Utilities/Adobe Application Manager/LWA/AAM Registration Notifier.app and I copy /Applications/Utilities/Adobe Application Manager/LWA/ into the “Go to the folder” dialog when I selected Go > Go To Folder.

This Mac 911 article is in response to a question submitted by Macworld reader Charles.

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