How to access the Applications folder on Mac

9 min read

The Applications folder on Mac is where all your apps live. It's a vital spot for managing software beyond what Launchpad offers, especially for tweaking or deleting apps. It's a place you'll likely visit a lot, but if you're new to Mac, finding this folder might seem tricky. Luckily, there are a few straightforward methods to get there, which we'll cover next.

What is the Applications folder on Mac?

Before you learn "Where is the Applications folder on Mac?", let's quickly understand what it is and why you might need it. 

The Applications folder is the heart of your Mac, housing all the installed apps. It's essential for keeping your software organized and easily accessible. You might need to access this folder for several reasons: to launch apps not found in Launchpad, manage (uninstall or reorganize) software, or access specific app-related files. 

Now, let's take a look at how to find applications on Mac. As we mentioned, there are a couple of ways of doing so. 

Method 1: Open the Applications folder from Finder

The easiest way to access the Applications folder on a Mac is to use the Mac Finder. All you have to do is launch the Finder from your Dock (look for a blue smiling face), and in the Finder sidebar, you will see the Applications folder.

access the application folder using finder

Finder is your gateway to every app on your Mac. For a better experience, Path Finder offers powerful tools to help you manage your files and apps more effectively. The app lets you add and arrange different modules to create an ideal setup. For example, you can have file info always in view or have a shortcut to your recent folders. And with the dual pane view, you can easily work across two disks or folders, and move files between them with ease.

path finder app for mac

Method 2: Shortcut for opening Mac Applications folder

In the active Finder state, you can also use a shortcut of Shift + Command + A to open the Applications folder. 

Method 3: Find your Applications folder using the Go menu

Another way to get to the Applications folder on your Mac is by using the Go menu. Follow the steps below:

  1. Open Finder and select Go on the top Finder menu bar.
  2. Then, choose Applications.

access applications on mac

Method 4: Open Applications folder from Launchpad

All your Mac apps in the Applications folder are also mirrored in Launchpad, a special visual utility.

To open Launchpad on Mac with a trackpad, just pinch your thumb and three fingers. Another option is to use the F4 shortcut and search for Launchpad in Spotlight. 

access apps via launchpad

Note that while in Launchpad, you can press and hold the Option key to enable the option to delete apps. To rearrange apps instead, just drag them around.

Method 5: Find Applications folder via Spotlight

Your Mac features powerful search functionality with Spotlight. To open Spotlight, you can use a shortcut of Command + Space or click on it in the menu bar, and then start typing the word Applications. The option to open the folder will appear soon. 

That's how to get to Applications on Mac via Spotlight.

Method 6: Open Applications folder using Siri search 

Accessing the Applications folder on your Mac using Siri search is straightforward. Simply activate Siri, either by clicking its colorful icon in the menu bar or pressing Control + Space. Then, command Siri to "Open the Applications folder," and it will promptly do so for you. This method provides a hands-free, quick way to navigate your Mac.

Why is there no Applications folder?

Sometimes, you get used to opening your Applications folder in a certain way, and then you notice that it's no longer there. 

For example, the Applications folder might disappear from the Finder sidebar or the Dock. 

If you don't see the Applications folder in the Finder sidebar, here's how to bring it back: 

  1. Open the Finder.
  2. From the menu bar, choose Finder > Settings.
  3. Check the Applications box.

cant find applications folder on mac

You might also have seen Applications in your Dock. If you don't see them there now, there's also an easy way to bring them back.

To add the Applications folder back to the Dock, simply drag it there:

  1. Locate the Applications folder in Finder.
  2. Drag the folder onto your Dock, right before the Trash icon.
  3. Click on the Applications icon in the Dock to show my applications.

show applications folder in dock

Right out of the box, you can see app badges, app activity or progress, and app status at a glance. You can close, quit, or add apps to your favorites from the right-click menu without actually opening the app windows. 

The uBar utility also provides multi-monitor support, displaying a dedicated dock for each screen. Another powerful aspect of uBar is that it was designed to take up as little space as possible, so you can focus on what matters most.

ubar multi monitor support

How to find hidden applications

Sometimes, you might not find certain apps neither in the Applications folder nor in the Launchpad. Does it mean they don't exist? Not necessarily. 

If you install most apps through the App Store, they will be directed to the Applications folder. However, you can also install apps manually by downloading .dmg files from anywhere online. In that case, you'll often find apps that install on the Desktop or in the Downloads folder, or somewhere else. 

To make them available in Applications, you can just drag them there. But first, you have to find them.

One of the easiest ways to do it is by using the Space Lens feature in CleanMyMac X. 

CleanMyMac X is the most powerful way to optimize your Mac in minutes. With just one scan, you can make your Mac faster, protect it from malware, and delete gigabytes of junk. Other functions in CleanMyMac X makes it easy to update or completely uninstall apps, enhance your privacy, or delete sensitive information with a shredder. 

The Space Lens module makes it easy to visualize your hard drive, including all the hidden files and folders, so you can quickly find any app you might be looking for. Just check the folders you think it might have been installed in. As a bonus, you'll probably discover some old files that you can check and delete right from the same module. 

optimize folders with clean my mac

Bonus: How to boost your workflow and solve almost any task on a Mac

This guide has walked you through various methods to access the Applications folder on your Mac, from traditional pathways like Finder to modern solutions like Siri. Key tools from Setapp, such as PathFinder, KeySmith, Start, uBar, and CleanMyMac X, enhance this process and overall experience with your Mac. 

Setapp also offers you access to 240+ other top Mac, iOS, and web apps for almost any job.

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How do I see all Applications on my Mac?

To view all applications on your Mac, you can use the Finder. Open a Finder window by clicking on the Finder icon in the Dock. In the Finder sidebar, click on Applications.

If you don't see Applications in the sidebar, you can find it by clicking on Go in the menu bar at the top of the screen, then selecting Applications.

How do I move apps to the Applications folder on Mac?

To move an application to the Applications folder, just open a Finder window and locate the app you want to move. This might be in your Downloads folder or another location. Then, drag the application icon to the Applications folder in the Finder sidebar. If you need administrative privileges to move the application, macOS will prompt you to enter an administrator username and password.

How to add the Applications folder to the Dock

To add the Applications folder back to the Dock, simply drag it there:

  1. Locate the Applications folder in Finder.
  2. Drag the folder onto your Dock, right before the Trash icon.
  3. Click on the Applications icon in the Dock to show my applications.

Where is the Application Support folder in Mac?

The Application Support folder contains data and support files for the applications installed on your Mac. To find it:

  1. Open a Finder window.
  2. Click on Go in the menu bar, then press and hold the Option key on your keyboard. This will reveal the Library folder in the drop-down menu.
  3. Click on Library to open it, then scroll down to find the Application Support folder.
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