Digging Into An Application 1

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Digging Into An Application

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Did you know that an Application is actually a folder, so is a widget and many other files on you Mac. But how do you access the hidden files and what can you do with them. The results are very interesting and you can learn a lot about how the operating system works.

Like I have said a program (which will be the case for this post but applies to other things), is a folder. In this folder there are icons, all of the images used to make the program look and feel like it does. As well as this there is also a lot of setting files and the actual core files that make the program work. You can, for most of the part, fiddle with these files to change the look and feel of the program you are using. A word of caution. Most of the time you can’t easily get the program to be rolled back to its previous state, so I really wont recommend changing the files around. The program icons are probably OK.

If you want to access all of the files right click on the program you want and click “Show Package Contents” this will open up what looks like a normal finder window (which it is). Inside you will usually find a “Contents” folder most of your program files are found here.


Inside you main contents folder you will find various subfolders. Programs will vary but usually they will have two folders at least in them. Mac OS and Resources. Mac OS contains the system files and there is usually much you can’t change. Resources is usually the most interesting. For example this contains all of the images the the program uses. One of note is the main application icon. Usually called the program name .icns or app.icns this is the icon that is used by the system. It is 500px x 500px in size so it is very large and high detail. You can, of course, change it for one your own if you have one the same size and file name. I recommend you backing up the original.

Hopefully you have found this tip useful, it offers an sight into how things work on your computer. Go digging around and see what other applications look like, you might be surprised.


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