Bill of Materials
Mac OS X Software
System Preferences (/Applications)
Assorted Unix commands, such as
cd, ls, open, defaults, and
In Apple’s ideal world, a self-contained “ideal application” installs and uninstalls with a simple drag, leaving little or no mess in its wake. You can use ideal apps without ever messing up your ideal computer. In the real world, however, things get a little messier than that. Most applications use a variety of support files, ranging from preferences to plug-ins to libraries. Although Apple specifies standard places to store standard data, some applications conform to these standards while others (even Apple’s own applications) do not. This chapter introduces the files and folders that support and augment your applications. You’ll discover where these items do (and should) appear and how you can discover, use, and clean up the bits that applications create and leave behind.
When you use Mac OS X for any length of time, you encounter certain folders again and again. Your iTunes songs appear in the Music folder; your letters are stored in the Documents folder; the Movies folder holds your iMovie and Final Cut Pro masterpieces; and so on. Well-behaved Mac OS X applications use specific folders to store data because these folders offer a well-organized ...