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How do I backup installed applications on my mac and reinstall them?

I am formatting my hard drive and have applications that I no longer have the disks to but still would like to keep. Applications like photoshop and final cut. Can just drag the “.app” into an external drive and then move it back into the applications folder after I do a wipe of my hard drive?


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15 Responses to “How do I backup installed applications on my mac and reinstall them?”

  1. Alan D. said :

    Yes. you should be able to. But, if you don’t copy the .PLIST files, your preferences will be lost.

  2. Stefan Reitshamer said :

    It depends on the application.

    Many Adobe applications store files in /Library/Application Support/Adobe, so back those up.

    Also, many/most applications store files in /Library and/or /Library/Application Support, so back those up.

    And, as mentioned by Alan, most preferences are stored in /Library/Preferences, so back that directory up too. Adobe Illustrator for example stores the file /Library/Preferences/com.adobe.illustrator.plist. Also, Adobe seems to store additional stuff in /Library/Preferences/Adobe.

    Those directories plus the .app bundle should be everything, but if you’re not sure then check the support site of the app in question.

    – Stefan

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