During the pandemic, many people have found themselves sharing their Macs with family members and roommates. In that situation, you may not want every app that you install to be available to everyone who uses the same Mac. There’s a folder within your account that holds apps only you can run: instead of the main /Applications folder at the top level of your startup volume, it’s ~/Applications (technically, /Users/short-account-name/Applications).

Some apps offer a way to control how broadly they are installed, providing options during installation that read something like “install for all users of this computer” and “install for this user only” (the language may vary by installer).

When installing an app from a disk image or that’s downloaded as a compressed file, you can copy it right to your personal apps folder. Choose Go > Go to Folder in the Finder and paste ~/Applications into it, and then click Go. Now, just drag the app into that folder.

However, if you’re installing through another method that places apps by default into the main Applications folder, including Mac App Store downloads, follow these steps.

  1. Open /Applications, either via Go to Folder, or by opening the main level of your drive in the Finder and double-clicking the Applications folder.

  2. Open a separate window with your app folder via the method noted above or navigating in the Finder through Users > full account name > Applications.

  3. Hold down the Command key and drag the app from the main Applications folder into your personal one. (You must hold down Command or macOS will create an alias instead of moving the app.)

  4. You may be prompted to enter an administrative password, or if you have a Mac with Touch ID, to validate the move with a fingertip.

This doesn’t prevent another user from installing the same app, if they have access to an installer or download, into the main Applications folder or for themselves, however.

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

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